The Big Question

This month Tony Karrer’s blog asks the questions:

  • Where is your time spent?
  • How much time do you spend and how did you find time for all the relatively newer things like reading blogs, twitter, social networks, etc.?
  • What are you doing less of today than you were 3-5 years ago?
  • Do you have less of a life with all of these new things?

Where is your time spent?
With the amount of information available at the touch of a button I think the best way to answer this to say how I manage my time on an average day and how it now fits into it.

It takes me an hour door to door to get to work and I spend this time, on the way to work catching up with the latest and greatest information. This usually involves either listing to podcasts and/or catching up on my Google reader feeds on my phone. I’ve found google reader a great asset as I can mark interesting stories for my friends to read and they do the same, I also may send a tweat. When I get off the train it takes about 10 minutes before I’m at work so I use this time to check the days calendar and any outstanding emails from the previous day. I’m usually quite strict about emails and only read them 3 times a day, I find they can be quite distracting if your constantly getting pop-ups about new emails. That actually reminds me of an old boss, one day he came into work and tipped his entire in-tray into the bin and announced if it was urgent someone would tell him eventually.

Once at work its the Daily Scrum. This is key to my team to understand what we have done, what we are going to do and if we’re still on target. We stand up around the sprint board which lists all the tasks for the current sprint and I ask everyone the following three questions:

  • What did you do yesterday?
  • What are you doing today? (allowing them to pick up tasks from the board)
  • Are there any impediments in your way?

This sets up the rest of the day. Usually spend lunch at the gym, on the way home I’m usually reading, currently I’m reading a brilliant book ‘First Break all the Rules. The book takes you inside the minds of some of the greatest managers to explain why they have toppled conventional wisdom and they reveal the new truths they have forged in its place, if you haven’t read it, READ IT! (linked on the right hand side if you want more info).

I’m a bit of a foodie so I usually spend the evenings chilling out with friends or making food 🙂 but to be honest usually turns getting updates from other consulting work. At the moment I’m about to start working for “Let Loose” a charity aiming to bring disabled and able bodied people together through the arts.

How much time do you spend and how did you find time for all the relatively newer things like reading blogs, twitter, social networks, etc.?

I think i’ve just become smarter at managing my time. One thing that did help me was speeding up my reading (after reading another great book, sorry I’m a bit of a book worm).

The new “Earning youth of today” grew up with computers, they have learned to sift through large amounts of information and easily pick out the information they want. Some marketing people I know call them “The Teflon Generation” because nothing sticks to them, they are used to being bombarded with information and adverts. So I’ve worked on being better at ‘thin slicing’ information, being able to evaluate snap judgements and first impressions and seeing I this can educated and controlled so instead of merely praising the mysterious process of instinct and intuition I can to see how these instincts can betray, the situations where our powers of rapid cognition can go awry and where you fail to read the signs (another good ‘Blink’).

What are you doing less of today than you were 3-5 years ago?

Watching TV, I just don’t have time for it anymore. I’m more comfotable understanding what my strengths and weaknesses are. I think I used to spend too much time trying to focus on improving my weaknesses rather than my strengths. Over the years I’ve decided that really I’ll just hire people who are far better than I will ever be so I can focus on getting even better at my strengths.

Do you have less of a life with all of these new things?

I think a categorical No. If I hadn’t done the work to adapt to the increased information or if I hadn’t have used twitter I would never of known an old friend was at the same gig as me so we could catch up, or been able to learn so much more than I thought possible. Also professionally being able to talk to like minded professionals about things that interest me.

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