One of the best talks ever given on time management
Pausch) A postscript version of this talk is also
"Remember that time is money"
- Benjamin Franklin 1748, Advice to a Young Tradesman
- Time must be explicitly managed, just like money
- Much of this won't make sense until later (too late?): that's why
- Faculty vs. Grad Students
- Lightning pace, heavy on techniques
One Good Thief is Worth Ten Good Scholars
Time Management for Teachers
Parker Publishing Company, 1987
Taking Control of Your Work Day 1990
- Why is Time Management Important?
- Goals, Priorities, and Planning
- TO DO Lists
- The Office: desks, paperwork, telephones
- Scheduling Yourself
- General Advice
Why Time Management is Important
- "The Time Famine"
- Bad time management = stress
- This is life advice, not job advice
Scholars are Really in Trouble
"Never before have we had so little time in which to do so
- Academia has not kept up. Teachers: only white collar worker without telephones
-- Fireside Chat, February 23, 1942 Franklin Delano Roosevelt
The Problem is Severe
- By some estimates, people waste about 2 hours per day. Signs of time wasting:
- Messy desk and cluttered (or no) files
- can't find things
- miss appointments, need to reschedule them
- late and/or unprepared for meetings
- volunteer to do things other people should do
- tired/unable to concentrate
Hear me now...Believe me Later...
- Being successful doesn't make you manage your time well.
- Managing your time well makes you successful.
- Drucker's Dictum: Doing things right is not as important as doing the right things.
- Benefit/Cost analysis
- Lou Holtz: list of 100 things before I die
Questions to Always Ask
- why am I doing this?
- what is the goal?
- why will I succeed?
- what happens if I chose not to do it?
The 80/20 Rule
- critical few and the trivial many
- Having the courage of your convictions
- Good judgement comes from experience
- Experience comes from bad judgement
"If you can dream it, you can do it"
-- Walt Disney
- Disneyland was built in 366 days.
Planning is Important
- Failing to plan is planning to fail.
- Plan Each Day
- Plan Each Week
- Plan Each Semester
Separate Planning from Action
"Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits"
- Update your plans
- Pause to think, but remember:
TO DO Lists
- break things down into small steps
- like a child cleaning his/her room
- do the ugliest thing first
The four-quadrant TO DO List
(From: The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic, by Stephen R. Covey, Simon and Schuster, 1989.)
On My Desk
- An OUT BOX
- Box of Tissues
- Wall Calendar for year
- Work order form (see example)
- Post-it Notes
- Thank you cards
- Clutter is death; it leads to thrashing. Keep desk clear: focus on 1 thing at a time
- a good file system is essential
- touch each piece of paper once
- correspondence: answer on the letter itself
- only read something if you'll be fired for not reading it
- note that this refers to periodicals and routine reading, which is different than a research dig
- Keep calls short; stand during call
- Start by announcing goals for the call
- Don't put your feet up
- Have something in view that you're waiting to get to next.
- When done, get off: "I have students waiting"
- If necessary, hang up while you're talking
- group outgoing calls: just before lunch & 5pm
- your message-taker should give two options
- if this can't wait, contact John Smith at 555-1212
- otherwise, please call back June 1
- Make your office comfortable for you, and optionally comfortable for others
- No soft comfortable chairs! I have folding chairs, some people cut off front legs
- People respond to physical objects
- signs vs. window shades
- You don't find time for important things, you make it.
- Everything you do is an opportunity cost
- Learn to say No
Learn to Say No
- Will this help me get tenure?
- Will this help me get my masters?
- Will this help me get my Ph.D.?
- keep "help me" broadly defined
- "I'll do it if nobody else steps forward;" "I'll be your deep fall back," but you have to keep searching
- Moving parties in grad school; "Honey, the washer & dryer..."
Everyone has Good and Bad Times
- Find your creative/thinking time. Defend it ruthlessly, spend it alone, maybe at home.
- Find your dead time. Schedule meetings, phone calls, and mundane stuff during it.
- 6-9 minutes, 4-5 minute recovery --- five interruptions shoots an hour
- you must reduce frequency and length of interruptions
- blurting: save-ups
Cutting Things Short
- "I'm in the middle of something now..."
- start with "I only have 5 minutes" --- you can always extend this
- stand up, scroll to door, complement, thank, shake
- Clock-watching; on wall behind them
- it's amazing what you learn!
- monitor yourself in 15 minute increments for between 3 days and two weeks.
- update every 1/2 hour: not at end of day
Using Time Journal Data
- What am I doing that doesn't really need to be done?
- What am I doing that could be done by someone else?
- What am I doing that could be done more efficiently?
- What do I do that wastes others' time?
"Procrastination is the thief of time"
-- Edward Young, Night Thoughts, 1742
"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion"
-- Parkinson's Law, Cyril Parkinson, 1957
- doing things at the last minute is much more expensive than just before the last minute
- deadlines are really important: establish them yourself!
- Identify why you aren't enthusiastic
- Fear of embarrassment
- Fear of failure?
- Get a spine!
- No one is an island
- You can accomplish a lot more with help
- Mostly Faculty to grad student; listen to this advice from your perspective
Delegation is not Dumping
- require responsibility, accountability
- grant authority
- treat your people well
- I vacuum the lab myself
- grad students & secretaries are your lifeline
- People rise to the challenge: You should delegate "until they complain"
- Communication Must Be Clear: "Get it in writing" --- Judge Wapner
- Give objectives, not procedures.
- Tell the relative importance of this task
- beware upward delegation!
- reinforce behavior you want repeated
- Ignorance is your friend --- I do not know how to run the photocopier or the fax machine
- average executive: > 40% of time
- lock the door, unplug the phone
- maximum of 1 hour
- prepare: there must be an agenda
- 1 minute minutes: who is responsible for what by when?
- "Computers are faster, but they take longer" --- janitor, UCF
- If it's not spell checked, stop reading it!
- Secretaries are better than answering machines; where are the costs & benefits of a technology? (transcription)
- Electronic mail
- VIRGO & LEO: I haven't been in the library in 3 years
- Speed dialing speaker phone: hands are free to do something else --- "You're on one of those things"... "Yes I am"
- kill your television (how badly do you want tenure or your degree?)
- turn money into time --- especially important for people with kids or other family commitments
Care and Feeding of Advisors
- get a day timer (pocket calendar)
- write things down
- when's our next meeting?
- what do you/I need to have done by then?
- who to turn to for help?
More General Advice
- never break a promise, but re-negotiate them if need be
- if you haven't got time to do it right, you don't have time to do it wrong
- recognize that most things are pass/fail
- feedback loops: ask in confidence
The Seven Habits
From: The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People: Restoring the
Character Ethic, by Stephen R. Covey, Simon and Schuster, 1989.
BE PROACTIVE. Between stimulus and response in human beings
lies the power to choose. Productivity, then, means that we are solely
responsible for what happens in our lives. No fair blaming anyone or
BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND. Imagine your funeral and listen
to what you would like the eulogists to say about you. This should
reveal exactly what matters most to you in your life. Use this frame
of reference to make all your day-to-day decisions so that you are
working toward your most meaningful life goals.
PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST. To manage our lives effectively, we
must keep our mission in mind, understand what's important as well as
urgent, and maintain a balance between what we produce each day and
our ability to produce in the future. Think of the former as putting
out fires and the latter as personal development.
THINK WIN/WIN. Agreements or solutions among people can be
mutually beneficial if all parties cooperate and begin with a belief
in the "third alternative": a better way that hasn't been
thought of yet.
SEEK FIRST TO BE UNDERSTANDING, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD. Most
people don't listen. Not really. They listen long enough to devise a
solution to the speaker's problem or a rejoinder to what's being
said. Then they dive into the conversation. You'll be more effective
in your relationships with people if you sincerely try to understand
them fully before you try to make them understand your point of
SYNERGIZE. Just what it sounds like. The whole is greater
than the sum of its parts. In practice, this means you must use
"creative cooperation" in social interactions. Value
differences because it is often the clash between them that leads to
SHARPEN THE SAW. This is the habit of self-renewal, which
has four elements. The first is mental, which includes reading,
visualizing, planning and writing. The second is spiritual, which
means value clarification and commitment, study and meditation. Third
is social/emotional, which includes service, empathy, synergy and
intrinsic security. Finally, the physical element includes exercise,
nutrition and stress management.