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22 February 2010

Time Management

I'm doing some reading that I should have done decades ago.  I'm half way through The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management.  I hope I can make time to finish it.

My implementation of Hyrum Smith's system resembles a cross between requirements engineering and a trade study's decision matrix.   Start with Values, then flow that across to Outcome Goals, then to Performance Goals, and finally to Tasks.  A graphical tool like DOORS would be great for this.  The Goals are stated with completion criteria, cost, preparation, time, schedule.  Consider S.M.A.R.T criteria.  Smith (so far) stops there.

I took some ideas from  They show matrices that I express as the Impact/Effort ratio and the equation,
Task Priority = Value Priority x Goal Priority x Urgency
I get a bit too introspective at times, so it's going to take a while to come up with a complete matrix.

This presents the problem of how to fit pick from the life-time worth of tasks that flow down from the values.  Maybe book #4 on my reading list will help with that.  It's on project management.  (Book #3, What Color Is Your Parachute, was recommended as essential reading during a job search.)  

Until I learn a better way, I'll proceed as follows:  The final step groups tasks together to creates greater efficiency and to fit with external factors.  For example, combining stops while shopping (e.g., {dog food = high urgency} with {finding a belt for my interviewing suit = low urgency}), and scheduling the trip for a slow time of day at the stores.  From there it's a matter of seeing a logical succession of events, scattering some time between tasks for contingencies, and ensuring that the most important tasks don't fall off the bottom.
  • I'll revise this post as I learn.  
  • Please leave comments if you have any.  
  • Do you know of any freeware or inexpensive software designed for time and life management?
  • What system do you use?
  • What values or goals do you use?  I'm compiling several lists in Smith's book as a starting point.  Once I edit those down, I'll provide them here.

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