Time Management and meetings. Using your phone and desktop tools to better effect

How do you think of time management?


When I think of time management I think of personal productivity. Most of my time in personal productivity is around meetings This could be a meeting around a desk, having a stand-up discussion, a war-room or even a brainstorming session.


This enables me to draw a few perspectives on time management:

Preparing: Getting the right materials ready so that our time is used effectively

Travel: Arriving on time

Doing: Getting the job done on time

After: Working more efficiently with the information you gleaned

In relation to preparing for a meeting, I find that myself and my colleagues are pretty hit and miss. Polarizing a meeting we are either too prepared or too busy to make the meeting effective. Its arguable that for a meeting to be valid all participants should be equally prepared. Appropriately  enough Ignite Seattle, who's motto is enlighten us but make it quick, introduced the 22 minute meeting from Nicole Steinbok(@nicolesteinbok).   She did this all in 5 minutes: A meeting  need only go on 22 minutes at most if all participants enter with a goal, prepared, without distraction and without sitting down. Thanks to Peter Ulm for sharing this with me today.

In relation to travel and calendaring I rely on my mobile device. I'm pretty enthused by the productivity tools coming in Windows Phone 7 Series. There are some new concepts, UI transitions and taxonomy e.g tiles to hub with strip(pivots), app-bar, and rotation flows. The calendaring hub when selected can show both home and work calendaring and merging

At 11.05 on this video, you can see the merged calendar and the day/agenda pivots and the view buttons on the app-bar.


Incidentally there are many reviews out there, but Paul Thurrotts review whilst textbook is quite detailed. I quite like the candid videos too such as this one. In terms of travel and time, its like having ADD - I think I should arrive just before the scheduled start of a meeting. This allows for no margin of error and whilst maximises my time, can be difficult for the other parties involved. A handy hint is to have a reminder on your phone well in advance or better yet add planning time with your team to double check you are prepared.

In relation to getting the job done I've been reading and thinking about how I go about doing my work. Mostly its very linear and task based. The tasks are related to one subject, project or customer. This is where computers excel are their time management: batching .

People are also batch-able. If there is an individual that you communicate with frequently, keep a list of things that you want to discuss with them. It's more efficient to batch questions and harass them all at once rather than interrupting them throughout the day. Making someone, your boss or your spouse, into batch-able work may seem cold-hearted, but it shows the other person that you respect their time.

On the after side I usually work with my laptop. And if I'm not careful its on email. Its really helped me following my colleagues advice on PIFEM - At its heart its about making sure your email doesn't run you. To that end its about the management of email, tasks and time. Its not specific to Outlook time management tools but it help. Similarly Brian Keener has made his "Getting Things Done with Your PDA" available as an e-Book. Tools like Xobni and ClearContext


The balance of learning and knowledge, can be heavily skewed by attitude and personal productivity practices. Email if used ineffectively is a time drainer and will close doors when dealing with busy people.