November 25, 2008

Tips For Setting Priorities And Organizing Your Time

I am invariably late for appointments --- sometimes as much as two hours. I've tried to change my ways but the things that make me late are too strong, and too pleasing.
--- Marilyn Monroe

I invested today in a workshop called Priority Setting And Organizing Your Time, facilitated by Dr. Gail Levitt. 

I can hear you quipping that I should have taken this course ages ago. I'm not so sure. I've developed skills over the years and augmented them this summer by
Even so, we all need reminding and fresh perspectives. Gail asked us to complete a questionnaire in advance, which is rare. She clearly read the results which had two advantages
  • no time wasted asking each attendee "What do you want to get out of the day?"
  • content further finetuned to our requirements
This additional preparation is worth an experiment (and serves as a reminder of an event).

How You See Time
I've been on a calendar but never on time.
--- Marilyn Monroe
We completed analysis which categorized our approaches to time as
  • Direct: quick, results-focused decisionmakers but overlook the human element
  • Spirited: creative, inspirational multitaskers but not concerned with deadlines
  • Considerate: put the boss first, help others but take on too much themselves
  • Systematic: deliver quality but get mired in details
Naturally, each category has advantages and drawbacks. We can belong to more than one. I'm primarily Direct and Systemic. Since we see as we are, I benefited by talking to those highly Spirited or Considerate. Just being aware there are differences can help us in dealing with our clients and colleagues.

The Best System
I thought we'd learn of the one system that solves all prioritization and organizing woes. No such luck. Since we're different, we need different approaches. That's fair but takes effort. 

Stress Tips
As a bonus, we got tips on dealing with stress. These three resonated with me
  1. Do something special for yourself every day (e.g., go for a walk)
  2. Remember there's always work left for tomorrow
  3. For paperwork, out of sight means out of mind
We covered lots. The usual challenge remains: applying what we learn. Better schedule that.


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