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Posts tagged ‘productivity’

Time

A few years ago, I did a graduate school project focused on work/life balance, a concept I now think is much better re-framed as work/life integration.  My primary research was at a design firm, where I gave people I interviewed a stack of index cards to sort as they saw fit and then craft into a cohesive story.  The cards included words that related to the idea of work/life balance…things like: SLEEP, TIME, GROWTH, FAMILY, MONEY, CHALLENGE, CHILDCARE, SKILLS, ETC.  Everyone told a very different and equally fascinating story, but one thing really stood out in every single one: a focus on TIME.  It sounds obvious, but it’s something we don’t talk about much.  As our lives and careers evolve, the limited resource often isn’t opportunity or skill or experience or connections…it’s TIME.

The notion of time as a scarce resource comes up a lot among parents.  Actually, it comes up a lot among people.  At work, a friend recently lamented the fact that she needs to sleep for eight hours a night.  “I could get so much more done in a day if I didn’t need to sleep so much.” (WHAT?!?!) A new dad told me a few months ago, “I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to stay ahead now that I have a huge responsibility outside of work.  I used to be able to outwork people (work more/longer), and I can’t do that anymore…nor do I want to.”  Executives complain about not having enough white space to think.  And when I talk to friends about health + wellness, the response is often “I wish I had more time to cook…exercise…go on dates…etc,” but I just don’t have any TIME.

There is a lot of truth in this.  Time is a limiter (I’ve been having one of those “I HAVE NO TIME” weeks), but there are things we can do to make it feel a bit less scarce.  We can organize around impact, we can schedule in some “unmoments,” we can be proactive about spending time on the things and people that matter most to us, and we can look to others for  ideas.  I recently saw two examples of how people are scheduling their days to optimize their time, and I thought I’d share them for inspiration:

via The Daily Muse

via The Daily Muse

by amber rae, via fast company

by amber rae, via fast company

Oh yeah, and not to be underestimated…we can be easy on ourselves and simply pat ourselves on the back for what we DO get done, and not what we DON’T.

Do you feel stressed about time, or are you at peace with how much time you have to do the things you want/need to get done?  What do you do to make sure you’re spending your precious hours on things that matter to you?  

Keep, Drop, Create

PDCWhen I’m working with companies to re-design their programs or teams, one of the tools I like to use is super simple.  I work with a small group to brainstorm all of the things about the current situation that are important to KEEP, what should be DROPPPED, and based on those two lists, what needs to be CREATED.  This exercise is a really easy way to get clarity about what the re-designed solution might look like. Read more

The “To Don’t” List

I’m a list maker…always have been.  I like lists because they make me feel like I’m moving forward (or at least planning to move forward), and because checking things off simply feels good.  Beyond liking lists, I need them to both remember the past (I jot down a “top 10” list after every trip I take) and frame the future (I keep track of everything from fleeting ideas to daily tasks to big picture goals to places I want to visit and people I want to meet).  As a function of spending time at a computer during the day, I’m making more and more lists online (Evernote is my favorite platform for this), but I still prefer the old school ones I write by hand and tack up on my wall or chalkboard or fridge to see every day. Read more

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