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Getting Organized in the Era of Endless

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Posts Tagged ‘time’

Triage: The New Time Management Skill©

Monday, September 28, 2015 @ 08:09 AM
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Triage: The New Time Management Skill © by Judith Kolberg

We live in an era of endless connections, interruptions, distractions and time demands. New tasks come at us at an alarming rate from multiple sources: emails, texts, tweets, calls, friends, fans, family, pings, rings, and vibrations via all sorts of devices. Over the years we’ve developed many ways to cope, capture and conquer the onslaught including urgent and important matrixes , decision-making trees, and prioritization strategies

I would like to propose that the era of endless requires a whole different take on managing our time and tasks, something I call “triaging.”

Triage is a disaster management term. I am a Community Emergency Response Team graduate, which is a civilian disaster preparedness training program. We learn that if adequate resources are available (first responders, medical equipment, trained personnel, etc.), you try to save everyone. But if resources are scarce or limited, ‘triage’ is the process used to quickly sort injured people into groups based on their likely benefit from immediate care. In a hospital emergency room, the people who scream the loudest do not get care first, nor is it allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. A triage nurse quickly assesses who needs urgent care and who can wait because there are never enough resources to treat everyone at the same time.

In the Era of Endless, we need to act like the triage nurse. To some of us triage comes naturally. All day long we’re able to volley the bombardment of incoming messages vying for our attention and mentally shuffle our to-do deck, deciding on the run “do this now,” “this can wait,” or “ok, I was going to do that, but this new thing is more important so now that comes next and I’ll move that other thing lower on the list.” Triaging is based on emotions and intuition. First-responders to a disaster scene will tell you they don’t do a lot of analysis. They simply know how to allocate their resources for maximum effect for the greatest number of people. If you don’t have the triage instincts of a first responder, here are some triaging tips:

Go with your gut

David Allen, the productivity expert, observes, “Prioritize [or in this case, triage – JK] according to energy, mood, intuition, and emotion. Learn to listen to and trust your heart. Or your intuition, or your gut or the seat of your pants or whatever anatomy is the source of that mysteriously wonderful ‘still, small voice’ that somehow knows you better than you do, and knows what is better for you than you do. LISTEN to it…take the risk to move on your best guess, pay attention to the results and course-correct as you keep moving along.”

Verbalize your to-do list

Say what you are thinking out loud. This can be very clarifying. If a task sounds important as you say it aloud, there’s a good chance you’ve made the right call.

Alleviate worry and guilt

“I make a careful To-Do list. I prioritize it every day. I assign A, B, and C to each task and integrate new tasks as soon as I learn of them. Then, when I wake up in the morning, I totally ignore my list and do the two tasks that immediately alleviate worrying whether they’re on my list or not,” a client tells me. Dispelling worry is a great use of your limited time. It clears the head and frees you from emotional drains that will thwart all your other work. Like assuaging worry, doing tasks that free you from guilt will also allow you to focus on other work.

Stop the bleeding and open up the airways

Disaster victims in need of complex medical attention beyond available resources are tagged or located to a special area until more medical help arrives. But first their bleeding is stopped and their airways opened. In organizing terms, stopping the bleeding and opening up the airways means doing the most effective thing possible in the time available to you. You won’t be able to complete a complex project all at once, but there’s always something you can do to be effective. That might mean initiating a meeting, developing an action plan, holding a brainstorming session, or doing something as simple as sending a well-crafted email or making a concise phone call.

Triaging incoming messages, time demands and information is not a perfect analogy to the kind of triaging done in disaster management, but I think it begins to move us to another model of time management better suited for the times we live in.

 

Getting Organized in the Era of Endless by Judith KolbergIf you want to learn more about how our world has changed into one full of infinite information, constant distractions and boundless stuff, I recommend my book Getting Organized in the Era of Endless: What to Do When Information, Interruption, Work and Stuff are Endless But Time is Not.

 

Other Posts You Might Enjoy

Future Sense and the Rise of Time Management: Part I

Time Management and War: Part II

Post-Clock Time Management©: Part III

 

Calendar of Upcoming Organizing Events

Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) Annual Conference and Exhibition – September 17-19, 2015, Cleveland, OH.

Professional Organizers of Canada, Virtual Chapter, January, 2016

National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Annual Conference and Exhibition. May 18-21, 2016, Atlanta, GA

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Post-Clock Time Management© – Part III

Thursday, July 30, 2015 @ 06:07 AM
posted by admin
Post-Time Clock Management©: Part III

Photo Credit: graphic stock.com

Unless the Earth changes its path around the Sun, it looks like 24 hours is going to be a pretty hardcore determinant of the partitions of time into days, hours and minutes, unless, of course, you are a zebrafish larva. Scientists say it has a gene that can be manipulated to change the larva’s circadian rhythms essentially extending the larva’s day. For the rest of us the breakthrough in time management is not that time can suddenly be recalibrated, but that the dictatorship of the clock holds less sway.

JM, a Princeton-based ADD coach, works to the beat of a non-clock drum. Without looking at the clock or using a to-do list, JM gets things done all day long and stays on time. “I know what kind of activities I do best throughout the day. From 6:30-8:30 a.m. without fail, I exercise, walk or swim. I also use that time to rehearse my day in my head.   From 8:30- 10:30 I’m at the computer “eating the frog first.” JM also uses her magnificent working memory, kinesthetic memory and visual memory, as well as techniques like memory castles. “When I do errands on my commute, I map out in my mind the actual geography of my errands and rehearse them mentally so I do them in the most efficient way possible. In fact, I visualize my whole day in my head, kind of like a movie. I can actually picture myself moving through my day.” JM sees clients from 1-5 pm, then does wrap up from 5-6 pm. Afterwards it’s dinner, chores, and clean-up before she heads to bed. “I don’t need a schedule because I already know what I’m doing during certain times of the day; I call it ‘automaticity’.”

Susan Lannis has another name for it: time awareness. Lannis, who calls herself ‘the Time Liberator’, asserts that, “Time is becoming liberated from the clock because technology has released us from doing things face-to-face, in the same space at the same time as others.” She believes we are increasingly free to work in rhythm with time’s natural pulse. “Awareness of our natural pulse will replace time management,” Lannis claims. The pulse of time has four beats (my terminology, not Lannis’). In the first beat, we expend energy and create. We “hold up” a bit on the second beat, which Lannis characterizes as ‘evaluative.’ The third beat is a ‘gathering-in’ or a resting called a “contraction” followed by a fourth beat, another hold, as we prepare for the next pulse of creativity. Lannis’ book Time Awareness is due for publication at the end of 2015.

Recognizing that the nature of work is different in our digital society than in previous clock-oriented eras, some corporations are developing post-clock models, such as allowing employees to get paid for results rather than by the hour. If you accomplish your results in less than a workweek, you’re done working for the week; the Earth and Sun be damned! Thomas Merton said “… we should stop working, not for the purpose of recovering one’s lost strength and becoming fit for the forthcoming labor….but for a Sabbath, a day for the sake of life.” In the post-clock society, when work is untethered from the clock, walls, bosses, geography and proximity, it is easy to reinvest our productivity gains into more work. We should instead strive to invest it into rest and leisure for “the sake of life.” What could be more important?

Getting Organized in the Era of Endless by Judith Kolberg

If you want to learn more about how our world has changed into one full of infinite information, constant distractions and boundless stuff, I recommend my book Getting Organized in the Era of Endless: What to Do When Information, Interruption, Work and Stuff are Endless But Time is Not.

 

Other Posts You Might Enjoy

Future Sense and the Rise of Time Management: Part I

Time Management and War: Part II

 

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