I had an interesting day last week with a group who wanted help with their time management and personal organisation. It can be quite an emotive subject and often is because no one suffers from all the time management issues. A quick self assessed TNA at the start of the day proved that our participants either had problems with planning how to use their time or they couldn’t say ‘no’ to others over loading them with extra work.
Making a plan
When you are very busy having to take time to make a plan seems counterproductive. Yet a plan which is monitored regularly will save you from setting unrealistic deadlines. We talked about a simple idea of listing everything that needed doing during the week on one sheet on Monday morning. Then you next allocate the various activities to appropriate days and times probably as a ‘to do’ list with time slots. This helps to stop you doing the easiest though often least important things first and allows you to give realistic times in your diary for larger and usually important pieces of work.
I was so bad at leaving everything to the last minute and then being completely thrown by a change of plan or another piece of urgent work coming in at just the wrong moment. I used to call it procrastination but I have decided it is much more to do with overloading my brain so it doesn’t know that it should be doing next.
I was saved by Your Brain at Work by David Rock which I bought and read on the train while travelling to different workshops. What made the book easy to follow was the learning was sandwiched between stories about a couple in very different working environments finding ways to manage their work schedules and their family life. As the book demonstrates the brain loves stories and it certainly aids understanding.
Some of the principles such as placing all your important pieces of work in boxes on a large sheet of paper (well I am very visual) means you can contain them and not let worrying about them clog your mind. Then as required you can choose to lift them out of their box on to the desk and work on one thing at a time.
Using Technology differently
My current reading is The Rise of Humans by Dave Coplin which is a demand for us to rise up and take back control of the technology. Dave is the Chief Visioning Officer for Microsoft UK A self devised title and as he says the nearest he’ll get to being Microsoft’s CEO! Dave is an excellent and entertaining speaker on the need for us to rethink the usage of technology in the modern world. I was lucky enough to attend his seminar at the CIPD ACE conference which was both funny and thought provoking. In it and in his book he debunks a number of technology myths including ‘multi tasking’. This is a term for the activities of computers and not to be ascribed to the human brain which is completely different structure. No one, he states, can multi task, only computers can do that. I can thoroughly recommend his writing style too and have already earmarked copies as christmas presents for my technology enthused friends and my son as well.
Charlotte is the author of several Useful Guides and self study ebooks covering a number of business communication skills – Some of them can be found on our Quicklearn.biz book store