Death of a Thousand Tips


There are a number of time management websites that exist, all offering thousands of tips.

To read them all, however, is to do oneself a disservice and create a distraction, if that is where one starts in an attempt to improve productivity. The effect is the same as trying to build a skyscraper using construction tips, while being ignorant of the fundamentals. In general, people don’t like the idea of being THAT ignorant, so they focus on the trivial, easy things they can do (like buy a new PDA).

They also blame their own lack of productivity on some gift that they don’t have, claiming that other more productive people are either blessed or naturally effective, or just anal retentive.

Meanwhile, they have less and less of what they want in their lives, and are increasingly less fulfilled and more overwhelmed.

In a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review (July-August 2007), in the article “The Making of an Expert“, Anders Ericsson makes the point that

“New research shows that outstanding performance is the product of years of deliberate practice and coaching, not of any innate talent or skill.” Continue reading “Death of a Thousand Tips”

Habit Tracker — Joes Goals

I have been using a very simple and very useful habit tracker called Joe’s Goals. It is a very powerful tool that gives a visual display of how well one is doing in learning new habits.

I think there is further scope for applications like this, particularly in Outlook – but I am unable to find any that really work.

In any time management system, it is critically important to find effective ways to unlearn and learn new habits, and having an effective display of progress is only a part of the battle, but an important one.

Muscle Memory and Learning Habits

As I get into the task of turning the components of 2Time into a training course, one of of the challenges I have is a common one – how does someone teach themself to learn a new habit?

In other words, once they determine that they want to learn a new habit, what is the environment they need to create that will result in the new action becoming an unconscious one? Furthermore, how is this environment created when the user is at different belt levels for the different components, and therefore at different levels of self-awareness?

There is enough theory to understand that people are different, and respond to different things.

I hope to create something like a menu of options for a user to choose from. Continue reading “Muscle Memory and Learning Habits”

Time Management: The Martial Art for Working Professionals

In a prior post, I made the point that within every time management system there lies a structure that is always present.

I compare it the bone structure that makes up the human hand. Although individual hands might be different, a fully functional hand must have all the component parts. They each serve a distinct purpose. While it is possible to function without all the parts, there are a few essential bones that must be either present, or replaced, in order for the appendage to work.

In the same way, a time management system must have certain basic components, without which it does not function. These basics are Capturing, Emptying, Tossing, Storing, Scheduling, Acting Now, Listing, Switching, Warning, Interrupting and Reviewing.

In fact, an effective time management system in 2007 must be able to do things that a time management system in 1970 just was not designed to do. Continue reading “Time Management: The Martial Art for Working Professionals”