If you are one of those people who owns several time management books or who has no email clutter in your in-box, you might want to ignore this article. When you read stories like Steve Pavlina’s “Do it Now” about how he graduated from college in three semesters with a double major in Math and Computer Science with great grades, do you think “I want to be like Steve?”. If so, then Screw. Beat it. Sorry, but this article is for people who put their pants on one leg at a time.
For you normal folks, I have some Productivity Tips gained from years of trying to better myself through time management training…
Tip # 1: People with really, really good time management skills have psychological problems.
Let’s take Steve Pavlina who is clearly world-class at time management. After graduating from college in three semesters, Steve realized he did not have a girl friend and could have devoted more time to relationships. He thinks he needed four or five semesters. Hey Steve, how about five years? In five years I had time to take a year off from college, hitch hike around Europe with a German girl friend named Brigitta, and play guitar in coffee houses. When was I going to get another opportunity to do that again? If I did it now, the bank would foreclose on my house. Living your life should fit somewhere in your life, Steve.
Tip #2: Very few time management experts are ADD.
The experts tell you: multi-tasking is a sin for serious time management. Start a task; finish it. If anyone tries to interrupt you, well, fuck off, you’re busy. Time management pros says that people who flit from task to task have no focus and poor concentration.
These people, however, do not understand the tremendous advantage of ADD. These people hate Robert Altman films like “The Player”, renowned for over-lapping conversations. These people even consider running for President as a potential career path.
I have never been diagnosed as ADD, but it’s because this problem and about 7,248 other mental conditions had not been identified in 1958 when the world was content to accept these deficiencies as less pressing than say, a nuclear war. Being ADD or wrestling with the personal issues I have, gives me the capability to start 20 tasks before 8 AM and partially thanks to a huge pot of Peet’s coffee. (See upcoming blog “ Why Coffee Increases Your Chances of Winning the Nobel Prize”).
By the time the day ends, I have actually completed many of the 20 tasks I started. The ones I didn’t were either less important or too complicated to get done in a day.
Tip #3: The next time someone recommends a time management course or book, respond simply, “I’ll think about that”, crack open a beer, and put on the Ramones “I Wanna be Sedated” at blisteringly high volume.
This will give you the time you need to consider your options. Which is precisely what separates productivity freaks from schlumps like you and me. They do not give themselves the time to consider options. They just do shit. And they do so much shit it is breathtaking. It is impressive in it’s sheer dimension and output.
The rest of us need time to think things over. We find ourselves occasionally staring at the front page of the newspaper in the morning and notice that, before the coffee kicks in, some drool has started to form on our lower lip because our mouth is open. We realize we have been staring at the newspaper for almost three minutes and, aside from one or two headlines, we can’t remember anything.
Time to think is a great respite from life. Cracking open a beer can make the moment a little special. And listening to the Ramones is one way to appreciate that your life may not end suddenly, and that your personal bad habits really are not that bad.