This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Stress or less

Serenity Now! - The New Work Order - CIO Magazine Aug 1,2003

If businesses don't find a way to help the knowledge worker manage information technology, today's confusion will lead to tomorrow's insanity.

Tom Davenport article uses his own information mess to say something about what needs to be done for everyone.

Interestingly, he has attended time management courses which recommend things like emptying the inbox every day or keeping notes and todo's on one's PDA. He doesn't like these solutions. He doesn't even use very well the paper notebook he carries around for note-keeping. He also admits, "I underinvest in my own information environment." He would rather get work done than get things organized and written down.

In the end, this is probably the biggest issue. The proximate, obvious wins of reading & writing email or even writing take precedence over the preceived "pain" of dealing with their personal information space: to-do lists, calendars, mail management, file management.

There are tons of articles and blogs on this topic at Google: Urgent vs. Important. Many of them make reference to Steven Covey and his description of the urgent vs. important matrix:
Quadrant 1: Urgent, Important (it is April 14th and the taxes aren't done yet)
Quadrant 2: Not urgent, Important (doing the taxes on January 31st, planning)
Quadrant 3: Urgent, Not important (the phone is ringing, yet another email arrives)
Quadrant 4: Not urgent, Not important (games, casual reading, mailing lists)

Ideally, I work in Quadrant 2 most of the time with the next largest chunk of time in Quadrant 1. The stuff that is not important should get absorb as little of my time as possible. Yes, I need to answer the phone and read email, but these things should be handled in the context of what is important to me now.

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