Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Time Management from the Inside Out: Julie Morgenstern

Organizing time is exactly like organizing a closet: there's only so much room for things to fit comfortably and you only need three to six categories.

Julie provides the following seven tools:

Tool One

Self-Assessment (be specific in precisely what is out of balance)

Tool Two

Ask "How long will this take?" for each task. Don't just enter a task on your To-Do list, block out the amount of time that task will realistically take.

Tool Three

Apply the "Four D's":

  • Delete
  • Delay
  • Diminsh (Julie suggests we learn the art of "selective perfectionism" where we get okay with a "down and dirty" job on 80% of what we do and really go for perfection on the 20% of tasks that really matter)
  • Delegate

Tool Four

Develop a Big Picture View

  • Simplify life categories (Note: Covey calls these "roles") down to three to five
  • Create a few goals for each category
  • Plug in the necessary activities to accomplish each goal into your schedule

Tool Five

Create a Time Map/Weekly Plan (either horizontal [traditional] or vertical [with a different emphasis for each day]).

Tool Six

Apply the SPACE formula:

  • S - Sort (put incoming items into their appropriate life categories)
  • P - Purge (learn to say, "no," delegate)
  • A - Assign a home for everything (Julie does not like master task lists. She suggests putting each task on the date and time when you intend to do it)
  • C - Containerize
  • E - Equalize

This works for both organizing a physical space and organizing time (Julie's key insight, in my opinion). With time,

Tool Seven

Choose just one planner/device. She suggests what she calls "visual/tactile" people use a paper planner and "linear/digital" people use an electronic version.