Wednesday, August 20, 2014

First Things First

As management field pioneer Peter Drucker liked to say, labour used to be about "doing things right", but today's knowledge workers are better served by "doing the right things". How do we know what those things are? I have spent considerable time over the last few months re-arranging how I work in order to utilize my main input constraint (time!) better. First Things First is a book meant for those who think along those lines.

The book takes things a lot farther than anything I've read on the subject, however. The interesting concept/idea of this book that has made it unique to me is how it suggests multi-tasking in an innovative way.

Standard time management techniques would suggest blocking out a few hours each day on your most important tasks, not allowing interruptions to take priority. The authors of this book concur with this line of thinking on some level, but they note that the separation of your different, most important tasks need not occur. More time can be found by *combining* your important tasks.

For example, if being healthy through exercise is important to you, and spending time with your kids is important to you, *exercise with your kids*. Here, you are integrating your most important tasks and creating more time for each of them.

The above example sounds like a pretty easy one, and it is. But just because integrating other tasks sounds more difficult, doesn't mean it's not well worth it. The author lives these ideals himself: he actually co-wrote this book with his wife!

Though I quite enjoyed the concepts set forth in the book, I did find it a little too "intangible" at some points. It can get pretty touchy-feely rather than just focusing on the time management stuff. The authors are also clearly quite religious and somehow that theme crept its way into the book a little much for my liking.

Maybe you like that kind of thing though? Enjoy!

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