Sunday, May 31, 2009

Getting Things Done

I recently did a workshop on time management. Some of my Facebook friends wanted to see my notes, so here they are! (Some of them might need explaining, I fear . . . so maybe you'll take my class?)

1. Do the important things that are most likely to slip by first. These are things that won’t cause the sky to cave in if they don’t get done, but they’re still important.

2. The phone is not your master. It serves you, not vice versa.

3. Learn to say no. One thing I learned from Scarlet O’Hara—when proposed to, she said, “Kind sir, I am not unaware of the honor you have bestowed upon me by asking me to be your wife, but I must decline. Learn Scarlett’s speech and use it when asked to do things that are not part of your God-given task. J

4. How do you eat a cow? One bite at a time. Whenever you’re faced with a task that seems impossible, divide and conquer.

5. A little prevention will save you time later. You can’t afford to ignore the house, the car, your health. Instead, divvy up those chores and maintenance tasks and perform a few each day.

6. Realize where your time is going. Dieters keep food journals. You should try keeping a time journal. Every time you begin a new activity, record it on a legal pad, and make a note of how long you did it. At the end of the day, look and see how much time you’ve waste

6a. Keep a Sabbath. Do not work seven days a week.

7. Tame that television! Sit down with the TV guide and decide beforehand what to watch.

8. Capture stolen moments. Always have something with you to read, to write, something you can do when you can’t do anything else.

9. Remember this: your life is time. Time equals life, and you only have a finite amount of it. To waste your time means you are wasting your life. (See Job 14:5).

10. Harness the power of the carrot. While you’re working, give yourself mini-goals you must meet before you can go to the restroom, check your email, or go get a Diet Coke.

11. Develop—and use—a memory palace. (This one works better with a live demonstration. )

12. Abide by the military maxim, “Hurry up and wait.” I can’t tell you how many opportunities have come to me because I was finished and had free time.

13. Finally, multi-tasking is a myth. We can do many things at once, but we can’t focus on many things at once. In order to work most efficiently, our brains need to focus on one thing at a time.

I found the following in an online article by Christine Rosen: ‘In one of the many letters he wrote to his son in the 1740s, Lord Chesterfield offered the following advice: “There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.”

When people say they are “multi-tasking,” they are really switch-tasking—switching from one task to the other. And this is not an effective way to do anything.

Hope these are helpful!



Dana said...

How would we take a class? Are they online? Or would we have to be in your area?

Thanks for these tips though! I'm curious what your thoughts are on having a toddler while trying to do other things. I find I don't get a lot done because I get so discouraged at how hard it is to watch him and work on other things. I fear I waste too much time just out of a sense of hopelessness.


Mocha with Linda said...

So I can't read your blog with my cereal and coffee anymore?!

Those are some great tips. I'm with Dana - I'd love to take a class from you.

Angela said...

I teach my class at writer's conferences, usually . . . wherever they are.

Having a toddler? Don't fret it, and don't try to focus on something else when you're with your little ones. The time that they are little is finite and passes much too quickly. When my kids were small, I did my writing when they were asleep.

And, LOL, yes, Linda, you can still read blogs with your coffee and cereal. You don't have to FOCUS on your coffee and cereal, right? (Some would say you don't have to focus on my blog . . . ) :-)