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Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing
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Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management

Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management - Mark Forster Like all time management books, this one is hard to embrace in its entirety -- although it sounds as if it would work. It would be an uphill struggle to adopt in my present law firm, do it now, culture. But by not being on the front line, I've been able to adopt one aspect of it to start. I suspect that I will circle back and re-read this book from time to time, and try to incorporate more of it. What I like is its simplicity. There are no complicated time or list-keeping, no complicated exercises in prioritization.The principles: 1.Have a clear vision. (as much about what you are not going to do as what you are going to do. Write out what you are not going to do tomorrow - work through lunch, work any project except X, no more than a half hour on email, etc). 2.One thing at a time. (List all the things you intend to do some day, work and private; not things that need to be done by a certain date, but things that you won't get to unless you make an effort. Select 1 small thing and do it. Concentrate on this project until it is complete. Repeat.) 3.Little and often. (Just get started with whatever comes first and keep editing/adding) 4. Limits.(either limit your focus, define the project more narrowly, or limit your time, work in concentrated time bursts. 5. Closed lists. (Nothing new can be added, tends to get smaller, sequence doesn't matter, relatively easy to clear, motivating). 6. Reduce randomness. (Randomness prompts reaction vs. planning. Inefficient. Strive to reduce randomness where possible. 7.Commitment vs. interest. (What would I need to start doing in order to commit myself fully to it? What would I need to stop doing in order to commit myself fully to it? Would I be prepared to pay the price necessary for full commitment to this item?) 8. What do we need? (Figure out how much randomness you are currently dealing with. Make your list for tomorrow. As you work through the list, cross off what you did, but draw a line below the original list and add whatever else you did, include everything. What % of the original list did you complete? What % of the added items? The problem with completing new random items is that what doesn't get done from the original list ends up being random too.)How much of your work really requires an immediate response? Be honest. We have to train ourselves to put distance between ourselves and the thing that needs a quick response. We need a buffer so we can impose some order. Here's one of his sample quiz items. "A colleague emails you with a non-urgent question that only needs a one-word reply. Answer: Remember the degree of urgency of the response depends on the urgency of the request, not on how easy it is to respond. I would be fooling you if I said that I would never reply to an email like this the same day. But if I do I usually end up regretting it< because once I start responding to one email I tend to go on and respond to others. Also I find that a too rapid reply to an email can lead to emails batting back and forth all day. My advice is not to answer it today unless your colleague says it's urgent. "If you are like most people you are probably spreading your work in a fairly haphazard manner across a wide variety of response times. Some work gets done immediately. Some gets done today. Some gets done the next day. Some doesn't get done for a lot longer than that. Some work doesn't get done at all. There is no particular rhyme or reason... I am proposing that there should only be two days on which your work gets actioned -- today or tomorrow. The strong preference is for tomorrow. Use the closed list to be able to accomplish this goal."Say I'll do it tomorrow. If you consistently deliver on your promise of tomorrow, most people will be satisfied, and your promise will be better than most people's half-hearted attempts. Current initiative.1. Do2. First3. Every day. Taking breaks. Your day will be much more productive if you program in some breaks. Like timed bursts, you need breaks. Take a lunch break. Leave at the appointed time. Fooling the reactive mind. (Think the kaizen principle). To work through something that you are resisting, start with a very small action -- something your reactive mind cannot object to.) What I've implemented is the initiative.