Why You Must Boost Your Temporal Intelligence Quotient

This article was written for the Jamaica Gleaner, but it shares some of the research I have been doing on what it takes to boost productivity in entire countries. In particular, I have focused on developing countries which can’t simply take prescriptions from other countries and apply them blindly.

 

We may laugh along with our leaders about our personal productivity and constant overwhelm, but those who have worked in developed countries know that top organizations take time seriously. It’s no coincidence. Corporate success relies on individuals who execute brilliantly, never run late and don’t forget to do their tasks.

But here in Jamaica, we are perplexed. We want the crime-free, growth opportunities that occur in a strong economy built on high-performing companies. Yet, when pressured, we continually excuse the fact that we are individually slack. For example, almost no-one complained when every meeting of the 2017 Jamaican Parliament started late.

Instead, tardiness is met with a joke. The brave few who insist on timeliness are sidelined as “anal” as boards, teams, and cabinets, tolerate behaviors that keep us mediocre. When this vibe is amplified across society, contributing to mayhem and murder, we scratch our heads: “What’s wrong with THOSE people?”

Nothing.

They are simply echoing low standards we all indulge in, even when we know we’d have to give them up if we ever migrated to a developed country.

Imagin – a Jamaican?

A few years ago at a U.S. Conference, I listened in agony as the top organizer explained why they needed to check my credentials twice before inviting me to speak. “We just had to ask”, she shared, “is he for real? Who would imagine that someone in Jamaica knows something about time management?”

Unfortunately, we have collectively earned this suspicion. Our economy hasn’t grown since the 1960’s – a case study for stagnation, resistant even to above-average outside investment. In terms of our macro-productivity, we fight to stay a step above last place among countries in the hemisphere.

But the conference organizer was no economist. She was talking about the lack of “micro-productivity” visitors see upon landing…”Jamaica Time.” It’s why they book two different taxis from their hotel to the airport, “just in case.”

We can rescue our reputation with a focus on a locally defined Temporal Intelligence Quotient (TemQ). It would help us understand the extremes: the Bolt-like performance seen in the world’s best companies versus our sloppy, everyday mediocrity. It could also provide us with universal targets to aim for, whether we happen to be an individual workman, CEO or Supreme Court judge.

For example, our Prime Minister could declare an “Arrive on Time Week.” Such a challenge would push us to discover and practice industrial engineering techniques needed everywhere in our economy to meet Vision 2030 and the productivity problems it describes.

Until then, how can your company use TemQ right away? Here are three suggestions.

Step 1 – Establish Time Usage Outcomes

Professionals with high TemQ set clear intentions for each hour of the day. A high percentage of their plans are effective, which means that they:

– use mobile, digital planning tools.

– create a daily schedule which includes travel and recovery times.

– insert buffer periods for interruptions and other unexpected events.

– track their time usage to effect improvements.

By contrast, individuals with low TemQ are hapless creatures of random impulses and miscues. They are often seen as a very busy but produce little of value as they bounce from one fascinating, “shiny object” to another.

Step 2 – Highlight Errors in Task Execution

As a professional climbs the corporate ladder and adds more to-dos, their productivity is challenged in new ways. Each increase brings them closer to a recurrence of old symptoms they thought they had overcome, such as forgetting important commitments, seeing tasks too long or missing due dates.

The person with low TemQ won’t even notice these mild issues until they turn into crises. However, their counterparts remain eternally vigilant and see these early signs of trouble.

Step 3 – Develop Meta-Skills

High TemQ individuals don’t panic when such unwanted symptoms pop up. Instead, they realize that they need an upgrade and go about diagnosing their habits, practices, and apps in a systematic way. In other words, they demonstrate the meta-skills needed to build added capacity – the only approach which keeps up with a continuously increasing workload.

Unfortunately, low TemQ professionals get stuck and never improve, slipping into a mindset which partly explains our stagnant productivity. After all, if we aren’t actively expanding our individual TemQ, why should our companies thrive and our economy grow?

Ecuadoreans had a similar challenge, estimating that lateness costs them 4.3% of their GDP. In response, they launched a national tardiness campaign.

The good news is that, unlike our Intelligence Quotient (IQ), we can all easily begin to improve our TemQ with practical improvements. There’s no reason for us to continue joking about a matter which has sharp life-or-death consequences. It’s time to invest, on a personal level, in the productive Jamaica we want to become.

 

 

Novices and Experts – the Learning Difference

In the second edition of Perfect Time-Based Productivity, I emphasize the fact that adult learners require an androgogical vs. pedagogical approach.

In other words, adult learners of time-based productivity have self-taught themselves some key skills by the time they exit their teens. Therefore, they enter a new learning environment with different levels of expertise.

In this article, When do Novices Become Experts?, David Didau argues that Novices behave very differently from Experts, especially as they react to Cognitive Overload. His message is right in line with the thinking here at 2Time Labs and it shows in the chart he shares comparing the two levels of skills for most behaviors.

But he also makes the point that Experts see patterns where Novices don’t, leading the latter to engage in hit-or-miss problem-solving.

In the Special Report – Superpowers You Need to Survive Improvement Fatigue – I examine one such example through the lens of three experts. Sherlock Holmes, Dr. House and Roger Federer know what to do when others flounder to detect the need for change, know what changes to implement and make small changes which add up over time. These are critical skills in time-based productivity because, as I mentioned before, every adult already possesses some hard-earned skills.

Their move from Novice to the next level doesn’t require a wholesale revamp… just a focus on the 5% of behaviors which are necessary for improvement.

But the Didau article says even more.

If you try to instruct the Expert in the same way as the novice, you end up actually “increas[ing] cognitive load for experts.” In other words, you make things worse.

Novices need:  “detailed, direct instructional support…preferably in integrated or dual-modality formats”

Experts need:  “minimally guided problem-solving tasks…provide cognitively optimal instructional methods

Most folks, who lie between the extremes, need a progressive blend which helps them transition to greater expertise.

This is a great affirmation of the direction we advocate!

How Can You Reach the Promised Land? — A Calendar of All Tasks

I bet you’ve heard the saying that “What gets scheduled gets done.” At the same time you may have wondered: “What does that mean for me?” or “What should I do differently?”

If you’re like most people who ask these questions, your mind immediately envisions a new you: one who schedules every task successfully, never arrives late, never over-promises and never forgets a single obligation to yourself or to others. It would be a rebooted, productive version of your current self… at peace knowing that all the stuff you intend to do, but aren’t doing at the moment, is safely tucked away until later.

More likely than not, this Promised Land continues to evade you despite all your efforts. Somewhere along the way, something unwanted happened and you gave up, consoling yourself that it cannot be done, anyway.

– Maybe you took a look around you. No-one you knew was trying to schedule all their tasks. Plus, the most productive ones weren’t making an attempt, so why should you? It’s so much easier to copy what they are doing… no need to go overboard.

– Maybe you read the words of a blogger or author who advised against this approach altogether. Shamed into thinking you were doing something stupid, you dropped the idea.

– Or maybe, just maybe, you actually tried to schedule all your tasks using a paper or digital calendar. Sure, it worked for a while. But then, after a stressful day with lots of unwanted surprises, you became overwhelmed and just quit. It was just too depressing to see a carefully crafted plan go up in smoke, sometimes within minutes. Plus, who has the bandwidth to re-adjust their entire schedule every time the inevitable disruption occurs?

The overall effect? Disappointment. Jaded, perhaps you even became someone who told everyone that “Total Task Scheduling” does not work.

But in the back of your mind you never lost sight of the original vision. Even now, when you add a task to your calendar, you know that it’s different from leaving it to be buried in your To-Do List. “If it works for one task,” you still ask yourself, “why couldn’t I get it to work for all of them?” It seems as if it should work, and it shouldn’t be hard.
Looking for Help

Unfortunately, there has been little assistance in answering this question.

Now and then, you run into someone who claims to be “scheduling everything.” Authors like Cal Newport and Kevin Kruse make it clear that you are not alone in having a vision of a new you. Others do it, they say, citing their personal experience, case studies and research of successful people.

But rather than inspiring you to try again, this new exposure only brings back your disappointment, even as it reminds you of that original vision you once had. As they exhort readers to become Total Task Schedulers, you struggle to see where you went wrong.
Finding Best Practices and Practitioners

To get some answers, perhaps you turned to Google, like I did. “Somewhere,” I thought, “there must be others who are trying.” After a year of searching, I gave up and started Schedule U. As they say, if you can’t find the right group to join, start your own!

But, I’m fortunate. In the past couple of years I have become a daily user of SkedPal, one of the few auto-schedulers designed to help people achieve the goal of Total Task Scheduling. Being an adviser to the founder of the software, I have shared its features while testing early versions of its desktop and mobile apps. Plus, I contribute to a tiny community providing Beta-version feedback.

It’s led me back to a thought I had when writing Perfect Time-Based Productivity in 2014. Becoming a Total Task Scheduler isn’t easy, even with the use of an auto-scheduler. Both manual and app-driven approaches require the user to combine technology and personal practices, a feat left to the individual to discover.

So I launched Schedule U, a place of learning for people to find success stories and explain them in plain language. Fortunately, there are quite a few of people sharing how they do it which I have pulled together into a free training called A Course in Scheduling.

If you ever had a vision of the peace of mind which can come from a calendar of all your tasks, join us there.

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Thanks to my proofreaders — Glen Buchwald, Melanie Wilson, Jeneil Stephen, Robin Blanc, Catherine Munson.

Help For Time Advisers

8 fata assumptions that time advisers make

A Time Adviser is a coach, consultant, trainer or professional organizer who is in the profession of helping other people improve their time management and productivity skills. Over at the MyTimeDesign.com website I have been focusing on helping them use the latest research to have a bigger impact with their clients.

To that end, I recently partnered with Janice Russell to produce a new Special Report entitled: The 8 Fatal Assumptions that Time Advisers Make. It’s available for immediate download at the website, and also on Scribd.

If you are a Time Adviser, when you download the Report from our website you’ll be placed on our mailing list which will immediately start sending updates on the work we’re doing. plus you’ll be introduced to our other resources developed to date, and provide some information on the progress we’re making towards creating a formal certification process for Time Advisers.

Hypnotize Your Way to Better Time Management. Really?

I came across a page that sells CD’s promising to help the customer to improve their time management.

I might be reacting a bit too quickly with too much skepticism, but… it’s darned hard to think so.

If you are reading this page then you have the first essential element in changing – the desire to change. As long as you want to make this improvement in your life, as long as you can see your future self – calm, composed, relaxed, fully in control of your time, arriving early for appointments and getting things done before the deadline.. then it is possible – with help from our comprehensive time management hypnosis program.

The only difference between yourself and these “naturally gifted” people who manage their time flawlessly is in your mind – your beliefs, patterns of thinking, and simply how your mind is programmed.

This time management hypnosis session works will re-wire your mind to make you think in the same was as these people who are naturally gifted with time management – so that you too will acquire excellent natural time management skills.

Hypnotize Your Way to Better Time Management

A Training Simulation for Improving Coaching Skills

Our MyTimeDesign website that focuses on applications of the 2Time Labs ideas recently launched a training simulation for managers, coaches and professional organizers.  It gives the learner the opportunity to help a fictional character, Wilma, navigate a consulting relationship with Adam, her client.  She’s attempting to migrate from a focus on physical organization to one on time clutter / time management.

Try out this 15 minute learning opportunity here:  http://icd.mytimedesign.com/wilma and leave us a comment on the page.

From a training and development perspective, you can see the direction in which 2Time Labs is headed, as we look to provide the very best online training in time management in the world.

Thanks to Trivantis and it’s Snap programs for helping to make these goals possible with new affordable technology.

 

Teleclass Recording and a Brand New Way to Learn

Last week’s teleclass focused on the most recent research in time management, and how it can be used to improve the way we schedule our time, and change our habits.  I used the research by Dezhi Wu and the authors of Change Anything as my primary sources of information, taking their best ideas that we’re working with here at 2Time Labs.

Here is the link to the teleclass, which you may also download.

Also, I want to give you access to a new way of teaching and learning time management via e-learning – using an interactive simulation that we developed.  It’s a game of sorts, involving different choices you can make to help Brenda, a young professional, use the best time management techniques to navigate her first day back at work after a long vacation.

Here is the link to the simulation: “Brenda Returns from Vacation.”

Our Open House Continues… a Teleclass!

Our Open House is in full swing and people are registering in the Free and Plus programs as speak.  It’s an exciting moment in the history of 2Time Labs!

On Thursday night (Oct 6th), the adventure continues with a teleclass entitled “Breakthroughs You Can Use.”  I’ll be sharing how you can use the findings on the most recent time management research in Scheduling (Dezhi Wu) and Habit Change (Patterson et al.) to derive personal shortcuts to personal productivity and peace of mind.

Here are the details of the call:

Conference Details
Scheduled Conference Date: Thursday, October 06, 2011
Scheduled Start Time: 8:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Participant Access Code: 676330
Dial-in Number: 1-270-400-1500 East Coast
See you on the call!

Using the New Time Management to Avoid Digital Distraction

On August 24th I’ll be giving a tele-class to the members of the Institute for Challenging Disorganization.

The topic will be The New Time Management and Digital Distraction.  It’s not a free event as you must be a member of the institute to attend, but it seems like a great group of folks and I love what they are trying to do.

Please check our their site and see whether or not you’d like to join.

Pink Shoe Power Follows Time Management 2.0 Principles

Am I a bit excited?  It’s the first time that I have found another website that shares Time Management 2.0 principles.  It’s called Pink Shoe Power.

The authors of the site, Valerie McDougall and Jayne Jennings, describe four time management styles that women might find themselves following, and based their thinking on the following line of thinking:

 

Have you found you’ve spent your time and money trying different time management tools or strategies before that just didn’t work for you? Either because they seemed too hard to keep doing, didn’t feel right or didn’t give you the results you were wanting?

If you’re like most people you’ll be nodding right now! (Can I see you nodding?)

It’s not your fault….

You don’t expect all clothing to fit you and look good…so why should we expect the same of time management tools and strategies?

Many time management systems are flawed for one key reason…they assume that the approach they prescribe is right for everyone, They’re based on the false assumption that with equal effort, everyone will be able to achieve similar outcomes.

THE PROBLEM is one size doesn’t fit all—we are all individuals with different likes and dislikes and importantly, we learn and do things differently. Some people are visual, others kinesthetic, auditory, structural, or creative…. So it’s no surprise that the way you approach time management is NOT the same as everyone else’s.

That’s from the page describing their book by the same name.

While I haven’t read the book I applaud their thinking and once again can only wonder why there aren’t hundreds of sites based on this seemingly obvious premise?  I take it for granted here at 2Time Labs, but this is the only site I have found that clearly and openly shares that premise.

Maybe I’m wrong, but if not, would anyone care to venture a guess?