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No Time to Read? Try These 8 Time Management Tips...

Stashed in: Time, Attention, HBR, Books

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Unfortunately his 8 tips are not that useful to people who spend most of their waking hours working.

I leave mornings almost empty. Mornings are often my most thoughtful time, so meetings before 12 are rare. To the extent possible, I want this time uninterrupted and in large chunks.

I try to work in 90-minute chunks. If I’m writing, reading, or thinking I try and remind myself to take a break after 90 minutes. When is the last time you had 90 minutes of uninterrupted time?

I leave between two to four hours a day that are unplanned. In other words, schedule time that is unscheduled.

I do a lot of email, phone calls, and household chores when I’m tired. Yes mom, I’m often cleaning the bathroom when I talk to you but I still love you.

I sleep. I try, and try is the key word here, to set aside about eight hours a night for sleep. Of course that doesn’t always happen, especially with my travel schedule, but it’s something I’m striving for.

I stop reading books after 50 pages if I’m not that interested. I either put it back on the shelf or donate the book. Life is too short.

I avoid excessive consumption of alcohol and all drugs. These can easily fuck your life up, and maximizing your time and reflecting on how you can help people live a more meaningful life becomes moot if you fall into this spiral. It sounds simple but I’ve seen more than a few people, all of them incredibly intelligent, fall into a spiral.

Add friction and limit the people who can get your attention. I don’t follow that many people on Twitter. I don’t make things easy. In fact my business card only has my name and twitter handle. If you want to find my email address, you can but you have to work for it. This is all part of adding friction. I also ask people to mail me documents longer than a page. If it’s not worth your time to look up my address and put something in the mail, it’s probably not worth my time to read it.

"Add friction and limit the people who can get your attention."  I need to make some changes.  

How do you plan on adding friction?

I like the concept of "adding friction" which I translate to letting people demonstrate interest or hunger as it relates to my access. My heart to be accessible like a puppy dog who licks all over ones face. so... I actually ask friends to schedule time when it relates to talking about topics that fall into a business area....and they have to go to my website to do it. Funny how these conversations..just never seem to happen but the problems either get resolved or weren't worth applying their energy to.. so it probably wasn't worth conversing hope that doesn't seem too cold. 

And that 90 minute cycle of work is SUCH a great discipline. Made me think of the Tony Schwartz article, manage your energy, not your time. 

Thanks Sonya, I had not read Tony Schwartz before.

5 tips for managing your energy:

Asking people to do a little work to demonstrate their interest sounds like a good idea!

Tony's article was first published in 1999 in the Harvard Business Review. Here is the link to the upgrade published in 2007.  It always struck a cord with me .. because time is finite and energy is renewable. The 1999 article illustrates case studies with corporations and using the 60 to 90 minute work cycle in a test group while having the other group work a traditional 8 hour day over time and then it compares the results. So I try to manage my energy in 4 quadrants emotional, spiritual physical and mental... i try.. LOL.

Time is finite so shouldn't that be the thing we manage?

I do like your 4 quadrants approach to renewing your energy.

Agreed. Because time is finite, managing your energy helps to manage your time. The Wachovia group who worked in spurts of 60 to 90 minute intervals had better performance and made better use of their time. Its like shoot for the stars and if you miss at least you land in the clouds. So the energy management concept is time management 2.0

Put another way, if we have no energy, then all the time in the world won't help.

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