Mid-day yesterday, someone a bit older and a bit wiser told me to stop the constant browser refreshing, because it was a big waste of time. "When something actually breaks, you'll hear about," he said. "In the meantime, do something else, like read a book."
This was good advice. Monday's attack has kept me pretty much glued to any media I can get my hands on, but the reality is that no matter how hard I concentrate while staring into my screen, it's not helping.
The advice I got was identical to something I heard many moons ago from the smartest person I've ever met (CO of my first Navy command), who told me to: (1) Not get wrapped up in the daily news cycle; and (2) Listen to audiobooks rather than the "same damn songs on the radio."
While I'm not a fan of the empty platitudes that tend to come from life coaches (i.e. "Believe and you can achieve!"or "Never give up!") I treasure practical, useful advice. Here is some that relates to time-saving:
(1) Adhere to the OHIO Principle -- Only Handle It Once. I've been using this around the house and it's a gem. For too long, I've picked stuff up just to put it back down again...maybe it went into a neater-looking pile, but it didn't solve the root issue. Same thing with e-mails: I can keep the inbox much lighter by either responding, archiving, or deleting on site. For longer, personal e-mails, I might intentionally let them *ferment* for some time in my inbox, but most other stuff can be routed much more quickly.
(2) Use time 'nooks' when you find them. For instance, if someone says they'll pick you up at 4:30 but they don't actually get there until 6:30, sitting around complaining is pretty futile. Take advantage of whatever's around -- laptop, phone, books, etc. and use the time well.
(3) Timeboxing. If you fear that a meeting may go on too long, just start out by saying, "I have to leave at [whatever time is one hour from the start]." Then, when that time comes, pick up your stuff and just walk out, exactly one hour older. Chances are, the people who are making that meeting drag on for too long are just a tiny fraction of those present -- don't allow them to be "time vampires."
(4) Pomodoros. So, some guy somewhere gets credited for "inventing" the system that means you focus on one single task for a set time period -- no e-mails, no checking the Twitter feed, no daydreaming. He used a 25-minute timer that looked like a tomato and coined the term after the Italian word for tomato. Basically, pick out your time blocks in 25-minute chunks and hit it hard for that time. To fully embrace the system, intersperse your pomodoros with 5-minute breaks. Adjust as need (and oh yes, there's an app for that...several, in fact).
Okay, that's enough time spent blogging. Back to work... (right after a quick Boston.com check, though...I gotta know if these guys are ID'd yet)..