Archive for category Tips
“The Streets of San Francisco”
In 1985, Carmen Hass-Klau, an expert in public transportation, introduced Americans to the concept of Verkehrsberuhigung. Translated from German, it means “traffic calming” which is basically the measures engineers and planners use for intentionally reducing or slowing motor vehicle traffic. I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m sharing this rather long and difficult to pronounce word and what does it have to do with multitasking.
Yesterday, I was catching up with a dear friend who recently returned from a three-week visit to her daughter’s home in San Francisco. She was saying that driving alone in an unfamiliar city had been the most challenging part of her trip. She was forced to step outside her comfort zone. Then she mentioned that it was made tolerable by the fact that many of the intersections had 4-way stops, affording her an opportunity to take a breath and gain her confidence back. WHAM! You know those cartoons where the light bulb goes off over the character’s head…that was me! Verkehrsberuhigung is working on the streets of San Francisco – could it work in other areas of life as well?
I recently wrote about the downside to doing too much in a guest blog (The Problem with Multitasking) on Spin Sucks and have been developing a plan for eliminating unproductive multitasking. My friend’s traffic comment was an “Aha” moment. In business and life, we all have hilly, steep Lombard Streets to maneuver, so does creating our own “traffic calming” moments, those times that allow us a moment to breathe and regain confidence, make a difference? Are 4-way stops the answer to juggling? Stay tuned…
In the meantime, what kinds of “4-way stops” are effective for you? I may use your comments in a future post!
Isn’t it ironic in this age of cutting-edge tools people are more pressed to deal with time management than ever before? Technology has provided many benefits that enhance both our personal and work lives, and yet it has also contributed to many of our time management issues. The explosion of instantaneous information and connections has led to an expectation for instantaneous responses. So how do we manage our time in the face of constant distractions?
Below are 3 tips to get you started.
Step 1 – Research & Analysis
Spend 2-3 days honestly logging how you spend your time. Once armed with this journal of activity, you will be able to see if there are any obvious time wasters or issues that need to be addressed.
Step 2 – Prioritize
Evaluate and categorize the areas of your life that are important (work, family, volunteering, hobbies, etc) and in each area label tasks as Urgent, Normal, or Low priority. Your weekly and daily “To Do” lists will be much easier to create with this approach.
Step 3 – Delegate & Outsource
Stop spending time on activities that reduce your productivity. Whether it is weeding through daily emails, scheduling appointments, or waiting for a home repair service, your time is likely much more valuable than the cost of outsourcing non-income generating tasks. Delegating lower priority work projects, hiring a maid service or simply eliminating activities that torpedo time management will give you the time to focus on more important business and personal matters.
Employing these 3 simple and effective tips for time management will help you get back your valuable time.
Words, words, words…
…is one of my favorite Shakespearean lines. In Hamlet’s grumpy exchange with Polonius, Shakespeare simply defines the meat and potatoes of Hamlet’s deep struggle for finding meaning in the words he hears and reads. Our digitized information age has led to a modern-day struggle – How do we manage and comprehend the voluminous amount of incoming information available to us?
The technology of the Internet and the devices that give us fingertip access has created a non-stop stream of incoming information. As Kate Finley recently commented on Spin Sucks, it can become “madness.” I imagine our wealth of words today would have driven poor Hamlet right over the edge! The “rub” for us is in developing a content stream management plan.
Here are 4 tips for gaining control over your incoming content stream:
Decide what you MUST read. Whether it’s industry updates, certain bloggers, mainstream news, or any of the vast array of daily information that is available, the first step is identifying what it is you need to be reading. Keep track of regular resources and add/remove them as needed.
Choose a system for pulling in your Must-Read info. Use tools like Evernote, Instapaper, Pocket, RSS feeds, or even simply email filters for compiling your important info into an easy to access location.
Develop a reading plan. Schedule a time during your day that makes sense for you to read all the info you’re compiling. Whether it’s over your morning coffee or during a dedicated read/follow-up time make it a daily priority.
Act on your impulses! Keep a journal or some other system for note taking on what you read and then identify action items that arise from your reading. You may be spurred to write or want to further research an issue or recommended resource. This reading journal will be your “To-Do list” for actions and a record of what you’ve read.
Take this simplistic system, expand and personalize it to your own preferences. Ultimately, these tips will help you organize and understand the “Words, words, words” that matter to you.
I would enjoy hearing what resources do you use to keep track of the inflow of content?
Photo from Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet (1948)