Time management

I’ve gone back to keeping a little notepad window on the desktop to keep track of things I need to do and that I want to record immediately, while I think of it. Now as you’d expect this grew and grew and grew … and all got a bit depressing as the last thing that I need is yet another TODO list (I’ve already got a list of my TODO lists: mobile messages, phone messages, text messages, notebook, Outlook task list, TODO pile on my desk, emails!). So then it occurred to me – here it comes, the obvious but important realisation – I’ve got the rest of my life to be doing all of this stuff. Instead of having this enormous list of things I really need to get round to soon as possible, I can assign a day to each item on my notepad list. And, wow, what a release. I now actually feel like I’m achieving stuff if I get through that days list. So now I have got a new list – my “what to do in the next few days” list. Using this along with the five-minute rule (if you think of something that can be done in the next five minutes, don’t put it off do it now – another of my favourite FLAs – JiFDI – Just Fucking Do It) stuff actually feels like it is getting done. I guess what came across to me was you can hear something, some advice, some tip, some nugget of information, but if you’re not really receptive to it at that time it just falls on deaf ears. You can intellectually know something but sometimes you really don’t take any notice of it until it becomes experiential knowledge; something you’ve actually experienced to be true or worth knowing. That’s also got me wanting to re-read slowly every book I’ve ever read as I much have missed so much. So this would be a good as time as any to get how I manage my time out in the open, so here it is:

Andrew’s timekeeping tips:

  1. Five minute rule or JiFDI. Record it all when you think of it and either do it now if it’s a five minute job or
  2. Give it a slot. Don’t just stick it on some bottomless, “get round to it one day, but hopefully yesterday” list. If you actually want to get it done it doesn’t have to be done NOW. Assign it a realistic, if not pessimistic, time slot some time in the near future; you’ve got an awful lot of it to spare – hopefully time and near future.
  3. Under promise and over deliver. Something I try and always use with customers is not to be over optimistic about what you can achieve and when you can achieve it by. Hopefully you’ll always come in ahead of schedule with more than expected and always have a happy customer. Try and use this on yourself as well: over optimistic deadlines for yourself are only ever going to end in tears.
  4. Does it REALLY matter if you don’t get it done? Another biggy for me: over attachment to deadlines and getting things done that I’ve decided I have to. When if I really sat down, and gave myself a bit of slack, would realise don’t matter that much and the world ain’t going to stop spinning if I don’t get to them today, or ever.
  5. If it ain’t play give it away. Delegation. This is another hard one for me; surely no-one can do a good a job as I can! Well mate you’ve only got one life, if it ain’t play give it away and let someone else take the strain.

Now, what else did I have to do today …