Download WorktheSystem Now!

In a prior post I mentioned that I was so impressed by a new book I read called Work The System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less, that I read it in only 2 sittings.

It’s available on Amazon and in book stores, but with my special arrangement with the author, Sam Carpenter, until August 20th you can download the pdf version for free from the author’s website.

To receive the pdf, visit the website, find the “Special Book Promotion” window, and use the pass word 2Timepromo

Enjoy – and let me know what you think!


P.S. This link is good only through Aug 20th, and if you miss this 7 day window, you may not be able to download it again for free. Please let your friends know.


New Employees and Their Time Management Systems

istock_000000214466xsmall.jpgIn my wildest imaginings I can picture a new employee who, in their orientation, is taught that they must develop their own time management system if they hope to get ahead in the company.

They could learn in just a few minutes that:
1.  the time management system they have been using up until now  has successfully gotten them to this place

2.  at some point in their career they will find that the practices that they are using are insufficient

3.  at that point, they will have to reinvent their system, and they should not be shy about using whatever resources they can find for assistance

4.  this evolution will not happen by accident, and they need to be proactive, and always be assessing how well their system matches their needs

This would help the employee to join in the forefront of the revolution that’s afoot — the personal design and implementation of custom time management systems.  While the practice will be old hat at some point,  the idea is a new one for employees as there is no point in their careers at which they would have been taught the fundamentals of time management.

It could be one of those career-changing discoveries that might not produce a behavior change in the moment, but could make a big difference in years to come.

Unconscious Time Management Systems

time-management-20070522.jpgEvery single human being is using some kind of time management system, whether they are aware of it nor not.

The above statement is one of the core principles of Time Management 2.0, and I think I am on firm ground in saying that everyone who comes to this blog is using some kind of system at this very moment.

At some point in the average day, we consider a mental or written list of actions that we’d like to complete, and make some decisions about the amount of time we have at our disposal. We know intuitively that we must make choices, and in the average day we are unlikely to get “everything” done, unless we define “everything” to be the same as “nothing” or “close to nothing.”

The habits that we use to make these choices, execute them, and think about them afterwards comprise the elements of our time management system.

I have surmised from anecdotal evidence that most users develop their systems as teenagers. That they do so without guidance can be a problem. The problem comes when their life commitments overwhelm their systems, and they don’t know how to respond.

This can happen slowly, such as the case of a steady increase in job responsiblities. Or, it can happen suddenly with a big life change, such as a promotion, or getting married. Iin either case there is a palpable feeling of being overwhelmed and burdened. Some will bury their heads, others will complain and a few will try to escape their obligations by retreating in some way.

And perhaps most will simply take time away from other things such as their job, their family or their leisure-time, in order to get the most important things done.

In essence, they only have one way to do things, and often believe that the answer to the problem is to buckle down and do more of what they always do.

The “more” often takes the form of making decisions to procrastinate less, try harder, be more focused, get serious, apply themselves, etc. These approaches rarely work, because a time management system built for a 19 year old does not work for the same person at age 39 because the system is being mis-applied, rather than because of a character flaw. Feelings of guilt and frustration are the kind of feelings that come from these kinds of unworkable improvements.

When users understand a few basics of Time Management 2.0, however, life becomes much simpler.

  • Basic #1: I am using a time management system that I developed for a prior time in my life
  • Basic #2: I can upgrade my time management system to fit my current commitments and habit-style
  • Basic #3: Once I upgrade, I will only benefit if I manage the system on a continuous basis and revisit my design when the need arises

Users who becomes conscious, in other words, gives themselves a gift of expanded choices, so that they can escape the self-blame and guilt that is often experienced as their lives become increasingly complex.

Time Management 1.0 vs 2.0 Spells Relief

istock_relief-woman.jpgIt used to be that time management was a problem that needed to be solved.

“I have a problem with time management” is a common complaint that many professionals have.  It leads them to go looking for solutions of an instant variety.  For some it takes the form of a time management system that someone else develops and they adapt.  For others, it comes in the form of a shiny new PDA, smart-phone or a computer. Some buy time management binders with detachable pages that have sorts of colorful refills.

Thankfully, with the advent of Time Management 2.0  we don’t need to fix anything, because it starts with the assumption that nothing is broken.

Instead, everyone has their own system… whether they realize it or not.

Also, they don’t have to chaneg anything, as long as their current system is working for them.  If it’s not, then they can decide that it’s time to upgrade it, and they can do so with a minimum investment, as long as they have a knowledge of the fundamentals of time management.

After the upgrade, they can freeze their system once again, and use it as is, or decide that they want to upgrade it further.

The choice is always up to them.

In 2.0, there is a freedom to build a time management system that fits users’ habit patterns,  rather than trying to learn a set of foreign habits that were developed by someone far away, to fit a very different lifestyle.

With a huge sigh of relief, users are finding that it’s a much easier path to follow.

A Time Management System for Moms

baby-mom.jpgDo type-A-moms need their own time management system?

Apparently they do, according to Lisa Douglas of the type-a-mom blog.

She’s written an interesting post diagnosing the needs of this particular group of women, and has come up wtih an approach that is tailored to their specific situation.  Given that they are “type-A” people, they have lots of goals, an abundance of energy to accomplish them and a propensity to become over-stressed.  She clearly has figured out her target audience:

We’re Type-A Moms. We’ve got practices, PTA meetings, and bake sales going on. Your child has to learn the Cub Scout motto tonight, dinner is on the stove, and your toddler needs her diaper changed, all while locating an errant shoe. Need I go on? With all that we tackle, and not being able to magically add hours to the day, we need a plan, STAT.

I guess this would constitute an important first step — understanding the group or the individual that the time management system is being designed for.   This might explain why she didn’t just regurgitate a bunch of points from the nearest book on the topic,and instead, did what every good designer does and started from a thorough understanding of the situation.

Unfortunately, I don’t have access to Part II of the article, as I am trying to figure out how to register on the site in order to see it.  But I like the thinking she’s doing so far, and her targeted advice.

I cannot imagine that a woman who decides to have a child, and to stay home to be a full-time mom, could continue to use the typical corporate planning tools e.g. (Blackberry, computer, internet, intranet) in exactly the same way.  It’s more likely that the way they structure their system would have to change to fit the new circumstances, and this might be true of anyone who makes such an all-encompassing shift in their daily lifestyle.  This change in tools would be just one way they would have to change their time management system.

It’s great Time Management 2.0 thinking.

The link to part 1 can be found here: Time Management Strategies for the Busy Mom Part 1


A User’s System for Daily Organizing

On the blog for WE magazine for women, I found an entry that is linked to an article on a Simple, Effective Approach for Time Management.

Teresa Morrow has come up with a way of using list and schedules together to plan the day, and has taken the extra step of documenting it.

She’s clearly thought about the approach that she’s using, and it sounds as if she’s been doing some experiementing with different variations on the theme.

What I loved is the end-product she’s focused on creating:  “…the system will leave you feeling proud of your accomplishments of the day.”  It’s real Time Management 2.0 thinking — that we must create our own systems.

To see the system that Teresa has created for herself, click here:   A Simple, Effective Approach for Time Management

Time Management 2.0


One of the definitions of the Web 2.0 phenomena reads as follows:

A term to generally describe web sites and services where the content is shaped partially or entirely by the users (instead of being read-only and published by a sponsoring company)

The 2Time blog is built on the idea that something similar is happening in the world of time management.  There is a migration underway and its taking us away from time management systems that are defined by others, towards systems that are  owned, defined and improved by users.

As such, it is a revolution of sorts… a shift in the way people view an essential component of their lives that is bringing with it a new level of responsibility, power and freedom.

It’s just like the revolution that Web 2.0 ushered in.  Ownership of key content, relationships and communication channels moved away from companies and towards users in a tremendous shift in power in which information-creation was democratized and individuals came to trust their own judgment, and those of many others, over that of established experts.  It has been a gradual but steady deepening of the “Wisdom of the Crowds.”

Well, strap yourselves in, because another quiet revolution is underway: “Time Management 2.0.” Some say that the Web 2.0 transformation was built on tools that were built over a decade ago, but are only just being exploited to the fullest by millions of people.  The same applies to time management, where this “new” term is actually  describing a phenomena that has always existed.

You and I have already been doing Time Management 2.0.  We sat in time management classes, or read books, nodded our heads in agreement, and afterward, went off to do our own thing.  After all, who could follow the prescriptions of someone who insisted that you label your folders this way or that, or used their new term to describe something you already understood, or who tried to redefine everyday words such as “now.”  We listened to their detailed practices and we knew deep down that we could never change our habits to fit their system.  God bless the few that could, but the rest of us were the dunces in the class who just couldn’t measure up by instantly turning over a new leaf. soapboxderby200701.jpg

Instead, we took a little from here and there and made up our own thing… sometimes it worked, but oftentimes we failed, because we couldn’t quite reverse engineer the recipe they were using.  Nevertheless, it still felt better than the feeling of overwhelm that came from reading the latest “1001 Top Tips for Time Management…”  Doing our own thing at kept put us in charge, and made us experience the success that kids sometimes feel when they also “do their own thing.”

The funny thing is that the experts haven’t noticed that we aren’t quite following the way we should.  The fact is, they sincerely believe that their systems work, and do you know… they are right. They DO work… for them.

The rest of us out here don’t need a different or better or smarter guru.  Instead, we need help to design our own system, and we need help in order to make them work to fit our needs, and our unique habits.

And that’s why “Time Management 2.0” is not a new idea, but a phrase that more accurately describes an already existing reality in a way that might help us all to get what we want at the end.  More productivity. Greater peace of mind.  Less stress.  More time spent doing important things, and less time doing trivia things.

But even these words are misleading, as each person’s interpretation of them is individual, and unique.  Therefore, the time management systems that produce them must be different from person to person as well.

This is where time management 2.0 starts — with me empowering myself to master my own time management system that produces the results I want in my life.  That has got to be a close description of what we all want.


Case in Point – A User’s Time Management System

I came across an interesting post by Raj Dash over at Freelance Switch.

In response to the shortcomings of other time management systems, he has created his own time management system.

This is a post worth reading, even if the system he has created doesn’t work for you.  I think it’s a glimpse of things to come — hundreds, and then millions of individual systems that are built around a single set of core principles.

Click here to see the article:  Get Things Started: Simpler Than GTD®.