On Buying the Latest Productivity Gadget

There is always a new gadget or system on the market that advertises itself as the latest solution to a professional’s time management needs.

How is a busy professional to adopt new technologies as they are invented, popularized and released? Should he or she simply buy each new gadget to test it out, and see what happens?

Unfortunately, this is what many have done, which explains the abundance of gadgets that have ended up in so many people’s drawers. From Filofaxes to PDAs to digital voice recorders to Treos to Blackberries – they all promised greater productivity.

However, a gadget that is used by a Novice, without any understanding of the underlying structure of a time management system, is only destined to fail. Continue reading “On Buying the Latest Productivity Gadget”

Time Demands

The basic element that every professional has to deal with is what we in the 2Time Management system call a Time Demand.

A Time Demand is born when someone decides to use some, as yet unspecified, amount of time to accomplish some task no matter how small. Most Time Demands are meant to be dealt with in the future, as it is usually impossible to drop everything to complete it immediately.

Time Demands include 2 parts, a prompt plus a commitment. Some examples include:

  • a request that someone else makes that we agree to fulfill
  • a decision to start exercising on Monday
  • a project that we are going to start working on next month
  • a bill that must be paid by check at the end of the month
  • a call to our mother tonight
  • time to rest, recover or recuperate
  • the time we spend in the car to get from Chaguanas to Port of Spain for a wedding
  • an email that needs to be returned
  • checking voice-mail
  • reading the newspaper in the morning

These all take time to be fulfilled, from short times to very long times.

Many professionals are stressed by the number and weight of the time demands that they have committed to fulfill. Continue reading “Time Demands”

Being Comfortable with Your Own System

It is a mistake for a user of a time management system at any level to be envious of other users.

The fact is, the design of a time management system is a personal matter, and the choice of how to operate each component is one that only the individual can make.

Unfortunately, many users will allow themselves to feel guilty that they are not operating as Black Belts – but this is not a useful way to use the 2Time Management system. This leads to resistance and self-blame, the very opposite of the goal they are trying to accomplish.

Success in 2Time starts with accepting and embracing the level at which a user finds himself, regardless of what that might be. Once they have fully embraced it, they can then implement the plan to move up one habit at a time, one belt at a time, taking care to practice the skills at the level they are at, while practicing the new skills they need to learn.

The Inescapable Laws of Time Management

In our development of a new, Caribbean-based approach to time management, I have stumbled across what I think is an irreducible framework lying behind all efforts to improve personal productivity. It may well provide the basis for a flexible kind of system that anyone can create for themselves.

In the same way that ALL bicycles are designed in keeping with certain physical laws, all time management systems must account for certain basic facts of how time is used and experienced by humans. For example, not being able to be in two different places at the same time is a simple law that many of us try to break, but are not able to, despite our crazy efforts. Also, another law might be that it is impossible to leave for a 3 p.m. meeting at 3 p.m. – one must allow for travel time in order to be on time.

While the time management that one uses may be customized, enhanced, tailored and even automated, it still must make a certain kind of basic sense to each and every user, regardless of profession. Continue reading “The Inescapable Laws of Time Management”

Designing Your Own Time Management System

Individual time management systems are notoriously difficult to implement.

Most professionals are never taught how to manage their time, and so they cobble together a home-grown system based on whatever software they find on their computers when they get their first jobs, and whatever PDA they can afford. They know little of best practices or universal principles, and they mostly operate without standard processes.

They do learn, however, how to complain about not having enough time, having too much to do and being stressed by how much their job is demanding of them. Everyone they know has the same complaint, so they find themselves in good company.

The Caribbean manager is no different in this regard. He, like others, looks at what other people who accomplish much more than he does with a sense of amazement as these hyper-productive people seem to be using magical methods to get the job done.

In an attempt to close the gap, he may place himself in a time management course, or pick up a book on time management. Unfortunately, the results are temporary.

The reason is simple: no two people are alike, yet the gurus behind the most popular time management approaches tend to advocate a single approach for everyone. Continue reading “Designing Your Own Time Management System”