Time Management Musings, Thumbed on a Miscellaneous Mobile Device

Flight out of La Guardia delayed, laptop battery drained, nobody to talk to on the phone,  mobile device experiencing synchronization issues, blood-caffeine levels way high off the charts, Hudson News filled with inane useless magazines and books, oh wait, here’s a carousel of attractive, premium-priced snackable-tidbit-filled paperbacks courtesy of the Harvard Business School Publishing Empire.

What could be better than getting through the next four hours (of climate-controlled artificially-lit, noise-filled start-and-stop-delayed hell known as “air travel”) by reading a pocket book on Time Management?

The book: Managing Time by HBS Press, with contributions by Melissa Raffoni, part of the “Pocket Mentor” series.

Ideas that I will try as a result of reading this book:

  •  For any task or to-do list, include time estimates for each task, as the list is being written. This has many benefits, as it will..
  1.  keep me honest about what I put on the list
  2. drive better scheduling and prioritization practices
  3. improve my ability to realistically estimate the time it takes to get things done… especially if I take a moment* to compare the estimated vs actual time spent, post-facto    (* see below for notes on “take a moment”)
  •  That last point about realistically estimating time is a crucial but often overlooked competency for contractors, employees and (especially) managers of employees and contractors… I’m going to add this to the skill assessment tools that I create for clients.
  • Not from the book itself but sparked by it:
  1.  “Taking a moment” to analyze/improve one’s use of time is a classic bootstrapping problem worthy of specific tactical solutions, not mere exhortations. A scheduled recurring daily/weekly appointment to review one’s schedule and appointments is a start… but just a start.
  2. Delays happen… so make sure you’ve got a good range of useful/pending activities that can be done while standing in line, sitting in a cramped aircraft, etc. Those of us “dreamer” types are fortunate in that we can always keep ourselves occupied. For those without a reflective/introspective bone in their bodies: Become a professional observer of the world (and people) around you. There’s always something out there to learn.    (Either that, or have lots of juice in your iPod)
  3. People who manage their time too well can become overly selfish in the way they use their time. If you’re going down the path of having strategic objective-driven use of your time, make one of those strategic objectives about “giving back” or helping others. Remember: What goes around comes around.
  4. All the books on time management start with the idea of establishing goals. However, personal improvement is just another form of instruction, where you are BOTH learner and the instructor. As instructors we know that learner analysis precedes (and supersedes) instructional goals. So just as you’d what to know who your audience is before deciding what you want them to learn or do, you would do well to know thyself before establishing personal goals.
Typed by my thumbs.

About danspira

My blog is at: http://danspira.com. My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on October 25, 2010, in Learning, Productivity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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