All 5 entries tagged Timekeeping

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October 07, 2012

3,5 months in and what have I learnt?

3,5 months into this part time MBA (strange how part time consumes every waking moment!) and I have learnt three very important things. Oddly enough, none of the three things relate to the content of the MBA modules!

The importance of time
A while ago I wrote a blog about time units and the need to introduce balance. The truth is that life just gets in the way. And that version of life usually does not include studying!
I have learnt how not to study, as the many techqniques I have experimented with seemed to fail. I have no consistent study schedule (I travel too much and managing tiny kids in the house is still a bit random) and have lost a lot of time over the past 3 months. I realised that when I do study/read/listen I understand easily, so I now try to make good use of whichever time slot pops up. Most of my learning content has been migrated to digital format located in a DropBox folder so it can be accessed from anywhere at any time. I'm obviously still working on prioritisation and maintaining focus, otherwise I would be typing my accounting core analysis assignment and not this blog.

The values I live by
During a leadership breakout session at the onsite Warwick Week in September I had to list my top ten values. These were ranked so that I could look at number 10 and know that I would give it up for number 9, and so on.
Family was number 1. With all of the work travel, the commuting, the fact that kids don't stay up as late as adults do and the housework, homework, socialising and blah blah blah, there is already little time to enjoy with my boy and girl. I would give up a lot of things to spend an hour with them, including studying.

The reality of opportunity
In the past I have always looked out for the big opportunity. Through a classmate (whom I won't name but if you want an introduction I can try to hook you up), I learnt that opportunities are small moments, small decisions that you have to be ready for. By the time it becomes a 'big' opportunity the issue has probably had time to evolve and the challenge may then exceed your level of expertise. Not jumping at the opportunity earlier may also show a lack of confidence or a lack of self-awareness. Prepare and be ready to identify the opportunity when it appears, and don't forget to take it.


Let me work on the maintaining focus piece now... The last 10 minutes have been reflective but now it's time to get to work!


September 13, 2012

Work Life Balance – Is it a myth?

What exactly is work? Is it my day job in the office or my night job at home? Applying principles of Organisational Behaviour studies, I first need to establish the role I am referring to - employee, author, husband or father?

Let's assume work is work as most of us interpret it and life is, well, anything other than work. How does that balance? In my book, life then needs to be split into more categories - education, family, health, hobbies, entertainment, religion, rest and socialising.

Even with some of these categories occupying fixed time slots per week, I still don't see how it's supposed to balance.

  • 8-9 hours per day of work,
  • 1-4 hours per day of travel (which, in London, is definitely not socialising but more like work or competitive sport),
  • 2-3 hours of family time getting kids to bed,
  • 1-2 hours of health (sport and hygiene),
  • 1-2 hours of education (sometimes learning through osmosis after falling asleep on MBA textbooks),
  • 30 minutes to 2 hours of socialising on Skype or Facebook,
  • up to 1 hour of dedicated religion,
  • 1 hour for hobbies, and
  • 1-3 hours for entertainment.

That leaves you with -3 hours for sleep.

Then there's a 2 day period of chaos, filled with housework, laundry, sport/activities/play dates for the kids.

How on earth should this balance?


June 21, 2012

Keeping track of time – Review of day 1

Follow-up to Keeping track of time from Mervyn George @ Warwick MBA

So, after one day of applying my hour-long unit approach to time management... what did I learn? For starters, I paid more attention to my watch or the clock on my PC. I used my 30 minutes of extra time before 9:00 (got to the office early today) to close and publish my blog, check twitter, LinkedIn and facebook accounts and then kicked off productivity on time. I was stricter at lunchtime - I split my lunch hour into a 45 minute shop (needed a new pair of jeans), a quick 10 minute chomp and a 5 minute stroll back to the office. I'm working in the heart of Wimbledon so I'm surrounded by stores. Demo sessions were planned and executed to precision. Preparation for those demos were handled as smoothly and I appreciated my 15 minute coffee breaks so much more. I can definitely see how this approach of minding each minute can make me more appreciative of the time I have to spend and how it could increase productivity.  A handful of interruptions crossed my path during the day but, with my time allocation schedule in mind, I was more aware of the need to prioritise and carefully chose which ones were critical and needed immediate attention. The balance was queued and attended to at a more convenient time.  I had one brief moment (during a 45 minute stint) where I began to wonder from the straight and narrow. It's amazing how easily you could get lost in the online world, so my next task is to review my wish list of to-do items (the list containing the nice-to-haves). Any free time can be allocated to one of these wish list items, which are usually internal process improvement tasks and should take a slightly more creative angle to the normal routine.  Let's see how day two goes tomorrow. 

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