First to Receive a Yellow Belt…. Receives Orange


Michael Zajac completed my NewHabits-NewGoals 2-day workshop back in January 2008.

He recently returned to Australia from Kingston, Jamaica, but not without a newly minted Orange Belt in hand.

He was the first participant in the NewHabits programs to receive both the Yellow and Orange Belts over an 18 month period, passing both tests with flying colours.

Before he returned home, however, he sat down with me for a 34 minute interview to explain his motivations for going so far so quickly.

Click here to be taken to the podcast page for my interview with Michael Zajak on his growing time management  expertise.


Taking the Measure of Your Time Management System

Recently, I had the first graduate of the NewHabits programme here in Kingston ask to be certified at a new belt level, and it made me wonder whether or not I have the right set of measures set up to graduate a user from a White Belt in time management to a Black Belt.

The “test” took the form of a quick interview over the phone in which I quizzed him about his practices in each of the 11 fundamentals.  He easily “passed,” and we had an interesting chat after which I prepared his Yellow Belt for delivery.

Afterwards, I wondered to myself if I measured the right thing, and it took me to a bigger question.

I don’t know whether the quality of a time management system should be determined by the way in which a user engages the critical practices, or the objective results that they are able to accomplish.

In the past, as noted in this blog, I have firmly adhered to the idea that a Green Belt in time management, for example, should have accomplished a particular level of skill in each of the 11 fundamentals the underlie all time management systems.  The ladder of belts that I created is an easy way for a user to measure his/her progress overall.

But is that the best, or only measure?I realized that there are others that could be used that could just as useful, such as:

  • the average number of unprocessed emails in his inbox / voicemail inbox /etc.
  • the average number of unread emails in his inbox / voicemail inbox /etc.
  • the amount of time it takes to reply to an email on average
  • the number of appointments that were missed during a week
  • how fresh /stale the items are in various lists
  • how many activities are determined by a schedule

These are also valid measures that can be used to evaluate the quality of a time management system that seem to deserve a place, but the problem is that the tools don’t exist to measure any of them.

The closest I have found was a recent discovery that  Xobni, the Outlook add-on, does measure a few interesting facts about an individual’s email usage.  (I re-installed the program this week after a few months hiatus, due to a system crash.) Here is an idea of what it measures: