A recurring request from our team (Information Technology) is for opportunities to build community and grow professionally. A specific example is to explore ways to become more productive and effective at work. One of the most common struggles is making good use of time, both at work and in our personal lives. In IT, we always have more projects than we can do, so optimizing our efforts is critical. To help with this, we started a reading group focusing on the book, “Time Management from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System for Taking Control of Your Schedule–and Your Life,” by Julie Morgenstern.
We started in July and just finished the last chapter in December, with IT staff members volunteering to lead each session. This timing worked really well for setting new goals and habits in 2015. For example, many of us committed to healthier lifestyles, including fitness programs, cycling, marathons, etc. (We are proud of Frank Mathew, Susan Lukose, and Brian Hopkins for competing in the New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon in January 2015 — see photo.)
We were reminded to take time to think about what is most important in our lives, to manage time as a tangible resource, and then to check and reevaluate our progress periodically. Some of us began restructuring our days putting the most challenging activities first and then leaving tasks that require less “brain power” to later in the day. We learned to eliminate activities that are time “sinkholes” such as unnecessary meetings. Likewise, we began reining in behaviors that disrupt our focus such as checking email or social media constantly.
The overwhelming consensus is that this was a fun, helpful experience. The principles and techniques suggested in the book were useful, but even more valuable was the synergy that came from working through the material as a group, especially in finding out what works well for others with regard to good time management. How incredible is it to have a group of talented technical staff members tell about their favorite tools for promoting good time management! We thought that others would enjoy reading about our favorites and will follow this initial TECHNews article with parts 2 and 3 focusing on technical tools to be more productive in our work and personal lives. Our hope is that others can join us, benefiting from these ideas to make good use of the most important resource, time.productivity, time management