Monday, March 31, 2014

Time Management Part 1

How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.

This is time management at it's core. This post is dedicated to getting your life under control and organizing your precious minutes to make every one of them count. This post is going to be full of cliches so get ready... We can't save time and put it in a bank.

Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right. Time management is all about motivation. When you choose a habit, you choose a result; which is why we want to choose good habits in order to facilitate good results

External deadlines suck, internal deadlines rock. How many times have we all procrastinated on that paper or report that was due the next morning? That's because our motivation came from an external source. If we can somehow switch that motivation to an internal reward system, then we can be less stressed and feel a greater sense of reward. Example, if I finish this paper a day before hand, I won't have to lose sleep that night and can treat myself with video games or reading a novel.

How to you get major projects done? One small step at a time.

1) Give yourself a peptalk
It sounds dumb, but it works. Studies show that repeating a mantra sometimes helps reduce stress induced by clutter and organization issues. I personally put on the show Hoarders and that motivates me to start organizing.

2) Make use of lists
Projects don't consume time, tasks consume time. In order to manage tasks, start using checklists.

In NASA, they have a checklist for everything. Why? So that astronauts don't have to remember every procedure, just how to DO the procedure. This eliminates the possibility of forgetting to do a critical step in the process.

     How to make a project checklist
a. For your project, write down every action step that you will need to do in order to accomplish the project.
b. Now write down every step and resource you will need to accomplish each task.
c.  You now have an action plan and can start chipping away at the project.

I Personally switched all of my notation and lists to Evernote in the fall of 2013. Evernote is a nice elegant way to manage notes and lists across all devices and platforms. It also has a sophisticated search that will bring up related notes and projects from other programs and allow you to cross reference very easily.

3) Keep paper flowing, paper tends to breed like rabbits.
     Use the TRAF system
          Trash, Refer, Act, File

Basically this is a great way to follow up and organize action items immediately. Have separate folders for the TRAF system and then start organizing your papers into
     a. The Trash
     b. A folder in which you will Refer, or hand off the paper to somebody else
     c. An imediate folder in which you will act upon
     d. Important papers to file away or scan

More about TRAF and organization

Clutter = stress

Part two coming shortly

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