Friday, May 11, 2007

Personal Productivity

How does the tired old joke go? The one about being too busy to attend a course on time management?

Actually, once upon a time when I was a spin doctor for Thames Valley Police I seem to recall I missed one such course because I was too busy - admittedly with some manner of murder and mayhem, but genuinely too busy!

No such argument when it came to attending Mike Jones' excellent Personal Productivity Programme for the foundation module which was held in Cirencester yesterday.

The training programme had come highly recommended by my Action Coach business guru Sally Rainbow-Ockwell and Carl Ullyatt of The Firepit Company (soon-to-be Carl Ullyatt of the Firepit Company fame). Sally has been using the techniques taught by Mike Jones for some 15 years and Carl did his course a couple of months ago and is positively evangelical about how it has transformed his life.

The headlines from the course would surely be about learning how much we over estimate the time we have available and consequently over schedule. Equally, most of us simply do not comprehend how much time is wasted through interruptions and how this of course impacts on what we achieve.

Once these key points are grasped and the Personal Productivity System becomes your diary, it is easy to see how much time you have available and you should no longer over schedule and take into account the likely interruptions - therefore actually giving yourself enough time to get things done!

There was also plenty of solid advice on how best to handle the ubiquitous deluge of email we all endure, through to the basics of filing the paper that still seems to be generated in this virtual age.

However, one of the most appealing parts of this course is the way that Mike - using his and our own Personal Productivity System - schedules a visit to see me at my office in one month - to see how I am getting on with utilising what I have learned. Then there will be another visit two months after that. How fabulous is that as an incentive not to add the various files and folders we have been given to the sedimentary layers on the rarely touched Training Manual Shelf.

His USP has more to it still though - after completing this course you are invited to take the foundation module again, at anytime in the future, for a nominal fee covering lunch. Sally has been doing this every year since she first encountered the system and calls it her 'spring clean' and I hope I do that too!

So I am committed to using this system and will give it my very best shot. My one hesitation is how much of a slave I am to Outlook that I do have concerns about just how well a paper-based system can replace the Calendar aspect of the programme nor do I want to find myself wasting time duplicating items - then again, if the techniques I learned yesterday deliver on their promise then I will have that time to waste!

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