Saturday, December 5, 2009

Discussions on Fixed-Schedule Productivity

Time goes, you say? Ah no, alas, time stays, we go.

Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so.

Who has time? But then if we never take time, how can we have time?

The surest way to be late is to have plenty of time.

I ask my clients to define their objectives before any given endeavor. An exercise in lifestyle control. "Do you want to die the richest person in the world?" The answer, typically, is "No". Then why are all our decisions made in respect to some monetary compass guiding us blindly toward gut feelings of financial destination?

Projects (life is a project, too) must be approached not from start to finish, but from End and Beginning inward and along a definite, chosen path.

So very much of my work pares down to the most simplistic rules and implementations of tactics in the management of time.

I stumbled upon Cal Newport's definition of Fixed-Schedule Productivity (I won't say concept, as I've been preaching and practicing "task-scheduling" for years on my own) while browsing the tweets of Tim Ferriss. I immediately forwarded it to the four busiest people I know; my client (building her own solo law practice), my brother (developing his Master's Thesis in Architectural Engineering), my college roommate (preparing for Ivy-League caliber GMAT scores) and my former colleague/mentor in Business Engineering (currently tearing down and rebuilding an overgrown mom and pop hvac installer into a nationally competitive high-efficiency climate systems network).

I could paraphrase Cal's article, but his writing is great quality. Read it here.

The article spurred several discussions on the definition and practice of time management and of time itself. Is it best to be demanding or lenient of one's own time? The discussion rages on, but in the course, several quotes came up that I found to be worth commenting on.

For my own take, I do not believe time is money. I believe money can be made in time, but time spent entirely for creating money is wasted time, as money is only a vehicle to obtain other things to spend time upon. Time, in my opinion, is a steady trade wind blowing across the sea, or sunlight beaming down from a cloudless sky. It can not be saved or disposed of, created nor destroyed. It cannot even be redirected. Time exists, but there is no such thing as time management. There is only self management. Everything takes time. Time is the constant. Where we are and what we've accomplished is the only measure of control we have.

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