Solving the Problem of Getting to Work on Time

Tourists love Jamaican culture for its laid back attitude and easy vibe. That is, until the guy who is supposed to check you out of the villa shows up to work late, causing you to miss your flight… in that moment, there’s not much to love.

In this article, I address a problem that shows up in the Caribbean workplace – lateness. There’s a lesson here for all managers – never assume that your employees know how to undertake a practice that you have mastered, such as getting to work on time. You have probably forgotten what it took to learn the micro-habits needed to achieve mastery and if no-one spells them out, it’s likely that they’ll never be learned.

Here’s the article from the Sunday newspaper in Jamaica – How Hard Is It to Come to Work on Time?

productive! Magazine Features 2Time Labs Article

An article I recently wrote was included in the latest issue of productive! Magazine.

Here’s the link to the website where the full issue can be downloaded or viewed for free:  productive! Magazine Issue 9

Please take a look and pass it on to others who might benefit.

Also sign up to receive Tweets on time management, or download the special report if you’d like to get frequent updates from 2Time Labs.

Learning and Practicing by Writing

One of the quarrels that I have with myself is… “Why Do You Insist on Putting All Your Ideas Out There in the Public?”

The answer isn’t too hard to figure out, now that I am writing “the book” in earnest.  My ideas don’t gather steam and make sense unless I am actually spelling them out in words for other people to see.  It’s a little like the difference between doing a live performance versus one that’s being recorded.

When I know something will be “out there” I write differently, in a way that not only enhances the standard, but also helps cement it as a building-block for further ideas and insights.

Writing “the book” isn’t much different.  The part I’m having the hardest part with is not the ideas I want to include, but instead it’s the story around the learning that I want the protagonist, to experience.

To that end, I have found wonderful help from a book called “Techniques of the $elling Writer” by Dwight Swain.  There are some memorable quotes in the book, which clued me in to the fact that it’s written very much along the lines of Time Management 2.0.  The author claims that there are certain fundamentals of writing fiction that are simply inescapable, and it takes continuous practice in order to become proficient in each of them.

I almost fell out of my chair, especially when he stated:

“the skill of a skilled writer tricks you into thinking there is no skill.”

“You first have to be willing to be very, very bad, in this business, if you’re ever to be good. Only if you stand ready to make mistakes today can you hope to move ahead tomorrow.”

“Can you learn to write stories?
Yes.
Can you learn to write well enough to sell an occasional piece?
Again yes, in most cases.  Can you learn to write well enough to sell consistently to Red-book or Playboy or Random House or Gold Medal? Now that’s another matter, and one upon which undue confusion centers.

Writing is, in its way, very much like tennis.  It’s no trick at all to learn to play tennis—if you don’t mind losing every game.  Given time and perseverance, you probably can even work yourself up to where Squaw Hollow rates you as above-average competition.
Beyond that, however, the going gets rough. Reach the nationals, win status as champion or finalist, and you know your performance bespeaks talent as well as sweat.

So it is with writing. To get stories of a sort set down on paper; to become known as a “leading Squaw Hollow writer,” demands little more than self-discipline.

Continued work and study often will carry you into American Girl or Men’s Digest or Real Confessions or Scholastic Newstime. But the higher you climb toward big name and big money, the steeper and rougher your road becomes.
At the top, it’s very rough indeed. If you get there; if you place consistently at Post or McCall’s or Doubleday, you know it’s because you have talent in quantity; and innate ability that sets you apart from the competition.
Now this doesn’t seem at all strange to me. The same principle applies when you strive for success as attorney or salesman or racing driver.

Further, whatever the field, no realist expects advance guarantees of triumph. You can’t know for sure how well you’ll do until you try. Not even a Ben Hogan, a Sam Snead, or an Arnold Palmer made a hole-in-one his first time on the links. To win success, you first must master the skills involved. A pre-med student isn’t called on to perform brain surgery.”

Alrighty then…  This isn’t a book about tips, tricks and shortcuts:  the kind of stuff that’s killing time management training and learning.

Instead, it’s about honest hard effort to learn a craft that doesn’t yield it’s deeper secrets to anyone who simply picks up a pen.

In like manner, if you are serious about time management, don’t expect anything to change when you purchase your first Blackberry (even though you might feel more productive.)  Getting better at time management, and becoming really, really good both take hard work.

I imagine that some would say that he’s being too discouraging but, as I have said in prior posts mentioning Usain Bolt and Andre Agassi, they didn’t arrive at the top by taking every silly piece of advice.  Why should we?

 

A New Special Report on Time Management 2.0

For the first time in a long time, I put my pen to paper to update the “manifesto” of ideas here on the 2Time website.

In writing the special report, 8 Edgy Ideas From Time Management 2.0, I tried to pull together the best ideas I could find from the posts I have written over the past 4 years.  I also recorded an audio version and a short video introduction that you can view below.

To download the report, simply click on the icon or click here.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on it over at the page I created for comments.

Procrastination Article – A Point I Missed

istock_000001479642xsmall.jpgI wrote an article for the StepCase LifeHack website on the topic of procrastination after getting a bit pissed that the word was getting a bad name!

(If you read the article by clicking at the link below you’ll get the lame joke that I just made.)

It’s a serious article, however, on a problem that I think afflicts professionals from White to Green belt levels alike — being hobbled by what they call procrastination.

After writing it, however,  it struck me that I missed one tiny point.

What I didn’t mention are those people who make indefinite commitments without due dates, and instead make vague promises to themselves to do something in the future.  The thing never gets done as a result, or only after they think it “should” have been done.

This is also called “procrastination” but is it really?

I believe it’s also the same kind of mistake that I mention in the article… a real problem with the wrong label.  A better label for this particular problem would be “habits that need to be changed.”  In 2Time language,  it might mean upgrading one’s skills in 3 fundamental disciplines: Capturing, Emptying and Scheduling.

This would solve the problem of putting off vague promises indefinitely.

But how do we get over the problem that has so many saying:  “I procrastinate too much!” ?

The answer is over at the Stepcase Lifehack website in my new article — Click here to  read “Procrastination — NOT a Problem.”

P.S. Sorry for the gap in posts — I have been working hard on MyTimeDesign 2.0 for its January release, and I also moved homes here in Kingston.  Doing both made me procrastinate… in the good way!

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“I Don’t Need Time Management”

I don’t often post a copy of my ezines that I reserve for those on my mailing lists, but this month I’m making an exception.

I recently had a conversation with a colleague who kept missing deadlines while insisting that he had no time management problem. I realized that he couldn’t see his own low skills clearly. This month’s article speaks to those who think that they don’t have a problem — and why.

(If you aren’t receiving this ezine, simply request the e-book at the top left of this page and you’ll be automatically added.)

Click here, or on the link below, to be taken to this month’s issue.

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New 2Time eZine on the Failure of Time Management Systems

2time-header.jpgI just wrote a new article for the 2Time eZine on the reasons why time management systems fail.

It’s something  that I haven’t seen any of the gurus talk about, and it may be because the explanation isn’t something they can do much about in a book or 2-day program.

If you haven’t subscribed, you can do so by requesting my free e-book using the free sign-up box at top left, or by sending email to 2timefuture@aweber.com.

Click here – The Reason Why New Time Management Systems Fail

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A User’s System for Daily Organizing

On the blog for WE magazine for women, I found an entry that is linked to an article on a Simple, Effective Approach for Time Management.

Teresa Morrow has come up with a way of using list and schedules together to plan the day, and has taken the extra step of documenting it.

She’s clearly thought about the approach that she’s using, and it sounds as if she’s been doing some experiementing with different variations on the theme.

What I loved is the end-product she’s focused on creating:  “…the system will leave you feeling proud of your accomplishments of the day.”  It’s real Time Management 2.0 thinking — that we must create our own systems.

To see the system that Teresa has created for herself, click here:   A Simple, Effective Approach for Time Management

Time Management 2.0

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One of the definitions of the Web 2.0 phenomena reads as follows:

A term to generally describe web sites and services where the content is shaped partially or entirely by the users (instead of being read-only and published by a sponsoring company)

The 2Time blog is built on the idea that something similar is happening in the world of time management.  There is a migration underway and its taking us away from time management systems that are defined by others, towards systems that are  owned, defined and improved by users.

As such, it is a revolution of sorts… a shift in the way people view an essential component of their lives that is bringing with it a new level of responsibility, power and freedom.

It’s just like the revolution that Web 2.0 ushered in.  Ownership of key content, relationships and communication channels moved away from companies and towards users in a tremendous shift in power in which information-creation was democratized and individuals came to trust their own judgment, and those of many others, over that of established experts.  It has been a gradual but steady deepening of the “Wisdom of the Crowds.”

Well, strap yourselves in, because another quiet revolution is underway: “Time Management 2.0.” Some say that the Web 2.0 transformation was built on tools that were built over a decade ago, but are only just being exploited to the fullest by millions of people.  The same applies to time management, where this “new” term is actually  describing a phenomena that has always existed.

You and I have already been doing Time Management 2.0.  We sat in time management classes, or read books, nodded our heads in agreement, and afterward, went off to do our own thing.  After all, who could follow the prescriptions of someone who insisted that you label your folders this way or that, or used their new term to describe something you already understood, or who tried to redefine everyday words such as “now.”  We listened to their detailed practices and we knew deep down that we could never change our habits to fit their system.  God bless the few that could, but the rest of us were the dunces in the class who just couldn’t measure up by instantly turning over a new leaf. soapboxderby200701.jpg

Instead, we took a little from here and there and made up our own thing… sometimes it worked, but oftentimes we failed, because we couldn’t quite reverse engineer the recipe they were using.  Nevertheless, it still felt better than the feeling of overwhelm that came from reading the latest “1001 Top Tips for Time Management…”  Doing our own thing at kept put us in charge, and made us experience the success that kids sometimes feel when they also “do their own thing.”

The funny thing is that the experts haven’t noticed that we aren’t quite following the way we should.  The fact is, they sincerely believe that their systems work, and do you know… they are right. They DO work… for them.

The rest of us out here don’t need a different or better or smarter guru.  Instead, we need help to design our own system, and we need help in order to make them work to fit our needs, and our unique habits.

And that’s why “Time Management 2.0” is not a new idea, but a phrase that more accurately describes an already existing reality in a way that might help us all to get what we want at the end.  More productivity. Greater peace of mind.  Less stress.  More time spent doing important things, and less time doing trivia things.

But even these words are misleading, as each person’s interpretation of them is individual, and unique.  Therefore, the time management systems that produce them must be different from person to person as well.

This is where time management 2.0 starts — with me empowering myself to master my own time management system that produces the results I want in my life.  That has got to be a close description of what we all want.

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