6 responses to “The management of TIME ITSELF”

  1. daniel

    Seb,

    Nicely done article. I appreciate that you didn’t just put out another article on effective time management, but wrote about the real-world struggles of trying to make different management approaches work for you.

    But enough about you, let’s talk about me.

    I’ve certainly done my share of trying to be more productive. I’ve had great success, and you mention this, with writing down very plainly what the problem is, what the effect is, possible solutions, and so on. As a way to trick myself into writing as objectively as possible, I always do this type of writing in the third person, as if I’m telling it to someone else. And to make it all the more realistic, I do much of it in complete sentences.

    Another idea. Several years back, I got so frustrated with my inability to focus on my work, and so, being completely fed up with all the BS excuses I always made about why I should procrastinate, I put the words DO IT NOW all over the place. The idea was an extension of my personal interest in reading books about advertising, the effect of seeing certain words/imagery repeatedly. So I was programming my subconcious, just like Budweiser and McDevil’s does so well.

    How bout one more idea. Around this same period, I had the idea to have a certain dedicated light that I’d turn on when I really needed to focus for a specified amount of time. For example, if I knew I wanted to remain in hyperfocus for, say, one hour, then I’d turn the light on. This wasn’t a piddley mood light, either. This was a glaring overhead lightbulb, with no shade. I’m a sucker for great lighting (my feminine side, okay?), so I made sure to pull out a light that meant one thing: WORK BEING ACCOMPLISHED HERE. Basically, you could conduct major surgery by that light if necessary. The original idea for having a light at all came from the practice (to some, not me) of lighting a candle during meditation/prayer. I decided to steal the idea, but decided to amp it up a bit.

    Daniel

  2. William B Swift

    Another general acronym is from a good book called The IDEAL Problem Solver (the first edition was a little book, the second they bulked it up with more examples and exercises).

    Identify

    Define

    Explore

    Act

    Look back

  3. Seb Abbott

    @ William – ah, there we go! That’ll be the English version of SAULUS, though I like the FMEA way of *D*efining the Effects and Causes of the situation.

  4. Seb Abbott

    @daniel: during my searches I saw a couple of ideas for visual cues to show that you’ve entered the monastery and don’t want to be disturbed (big headphones on, flags on monitors, that sort of thing). I prefer the amazing disappearing engineer method, as I can go into a meeting room, close the door and slide the label to “busy.”

    The downside is, I can’t take my two monitors with me. If I really need them both for whatever I’m working on, then it’ll be a case of “call you later” and hope they go away.

    So – I’m still searching… Good luck with your own focus!

  5. daniel

    I like the ideas here. I hope more people add more of them here.

  6. brendan fitzgerald

    Dear Mr Abbott

    I read your article on the management of time itself and found it enlightenment. I support a group of 200 engineers and believe they need time management. Can you recommend a trainer on time management?

    Thank you for your time.

    Brendan Fitzgeralkd