I love time management techniques, you may have heard me wax lyrical about them before – I can’t help it if I’m more interested in that than whether my eyebrows are perfect (although they are perfect as well)
Different people have slightly different ways of managing their time, I’ve spoken about the Pomodoro technique that I use before (see that blog here), but I was in a meeting with someone the other day that added an extra dimension to this that I found really interesting.
His time management technique was very similar- in that it used intense periods of focus on single objectives. However, it also accounted for the biggest de-railer of time management success… interruptions.
Now, you’d think this was obvious but I think I’m a bit harsh when I’m in Pom mode because I don’t let anything stop me- my phone is turned over or in another room, no one is allowed to talk to me (and I will tell people to go away) and I just crack on. However a) not everyone is quite as bloody minded as me and b) it’s not always realistic as the mind tends to throw in its’ own interruptions.
And this is where it got interesting, these interruptions are inevitable (the psychological reasons for these are even more so but I’m not going to go into those right now) so you need to learn how to deal with these without losing momentum and focus.
The discussed technique was to have a list of your ‘top interrupters’ (those people that interrupt you the most, including yourself) and every time an interruption happens or a thought pops into your head related to that person you note it down under their name, put it aside for later and then put it out of your head and get on with what you were doing.
This does follow through to a lot more formalised rules- such as only looking at your emails once a day in their allocated slot or only catching up with people at a prearranged time but I can’t be doing with that level of rigidity.
Therefore I’m going to take the ethos of it and use the interruption list as a way to unload my brain (bit like a secondary to do list) so I can keep focussing during Pom sessions… I think that’s the key to learning new ideas, taking what suits you and adapting it to your needs rather than picking up ideas wholesale. After all, if it ain’t entirely broke, why reinvent the wheel?