Recent talks with colleges, friends and meet ups uncovered an astonishing fact: Lot feel pressure in work. When further questioning possible causes for this pressure lot figured out that it does not concentrate on working tasks but in fact even appears in spare time. But if the root of this pressure is not only a work overload, lets have a look to an alternative cause. A plausible point may be a inapropriate time management. In my talks we figured out, that most of them have either no concrete time management concept, or do not feel comfortable with their current approaches. As a result I decided to take you to a journey, looking to popular concepts of time management ( like practiced by Randy Pauch, David Allen and others).
The first talk is presented by Randy Pauch a former professor of CMU, that passed a way by pancreatic cancer in 2008. In my point of view its a good opening to the topic of time management. Even if some aspects seam to me quite extremous and thereby may be unpratical for some situations. But all over the talk covers practical and essential approaches like prioriced todo lists, keeping execution of tasks as short as possible. Enjoy the 1.5 hour talk. If you like to transread the slides, they can be found here .
So lets have a look to the essential outcomes of Pausch and others:
- Clean your e-mail inbox. Presort incomming mails, letters etc. If it can be solved fast do it imidiately.
- List your task (eventualy by project) with priorities.
- Keep calls / talks short. Focus on the goals.
- Use a sortingsystem for all. (Don’t search for something just grap it.
Since the talk of Randy Pauch is quite provocative I highly suggest you the Get Things Done Approach of David Allen which is absolutely practicaly for me. When talking for his motivation, why he developed the system he summarizes is drivers as follows:
- I needed a better job
- I’m lazy
- I’m enthralled with efficient process
- I value clear space
Sounds good to you? Than dont miss this summarizing talk!
In addition from my perspective there are two more things to mention:
Number one, develope an e-mail policy aand attach a version in yours e-mail signature and on your website, so that anyone knows and is prepared for it. What might be part of an adequate e-mail policy? Do not answer mails with more than x attached recepients. When spammed with an special kind of mails (e.g. applications) request a printed letter version to be send in and suddenly delete all digital versions, still arriving. Set a deadline until you have reacted and delete any not yet filed email then (specially important when in vacation). You may communicate off times. Attached you find an example:
” My Email Policy
Because of a currently experienced heavy overload of emails …
- I am not able to respond in a timely manner. Please expect delays.
- I consider my email Inbox being a soft-state system, where emails are valid only for a certain period of time. More specifically, I delete all remaining email in my Inbox after 7-10 days. If you are waiting for an answer longer than this time, you’re email may have been deleted.
- During times being on business travel, I may very likely not be able to access or to answer emails during the following out-of-office times:
- December 1990: 1-7, 17, 22-31
” by Professor Klaus Wehrle
Number two: It is quite simple but most effective:
If you want to digg into the topic of time management I can highly recommend you the book “Getting Things Done. The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen, which is a practical guide to time management and well written. It is available in English and German:
One last thing to mention, if you are buying this book directly schedule a task in your calendar in 3 months from today to reread the book and analyse what parts worked for you and comment your development on this site. Looking forward for your response then.