2Time Capturing A Time Management Fundamental for Jamaican Professionals By Francis Wade

These materials may not be reproduced, publicly displayed, or used to create derivate products in any form without prior written permission from: Framework Consulting Inc. 3389 Sheridan Street #434 Hollywood, FL 33021, USA 29 Norbrook Drive Kingston 8, Jamaica 954-323-2552 / 876-880-8653 www.fwconsulting.com
© 2008 Framework Consulting Inc. All rights reserved

2Time Capturing e-book Introduction Within the last three years, I moved to Jamaica after living in the U.S. for twenty years. Now that I am home, as sweet as things are, I realize that we have a major issue with our lack of productivity. I know because I faced it myself. The time management and productivity techniques I had carefully learned while living in the U.S. did not work as well on Jamaican soil. Life here was too chaotic, there were too many interruptions, and the excitement of day-to-day life in Kingston meant that I just could not get as much done as I wanted, or used to. I was forced to go back and re-think what I had learned, and even taught. You see, six years ago, I played a part in bringing a time management and productivity programme to the Caribbean. While the ideas were sound, what I didn’t realize that there was a cultural gap between what the designers intended and the users could learn. It was a classic case of something working abroad that would not work at home without being overhauled, re-examined and re-adapted. But when I went back to re-think what I had learned, I found something interesting. I actually needed to build a time management system for myself that fit this new circumstance. However, I soon realized that I didn’t have a good grasp of the fundamental design principles. Someone who knows the design principles in a field can be a very effective designer. For example, a teacher who knows the principles of learning can just about design any course. An engineer who knows how the principles of flight airplanes can design most aircraft – they know that all aircraft need propulsion, wings, a tail, a certain shape, etc. I happen to be lucky enough to have an engineering background, so this insight came early on. I realized quickly that I had no idea what the fundamentals of time management were, and I went looking for help to design my own time management system for my new Jamaican life. What I Found Surprised Me I found nothing.
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I was shocked to see that all that was “out there” were individuals selling their own individual approaches. What’s worse, was that they expected people to adopt their systems, with their cultural biases, personal preferences, peculiar idiosyncrasies and all. There was absolutely no help being offered to design a time management system of one’s own. I was annoyed at first, but then I went the next step and started writing. To cut a long story short, the result of that writing is this ebook to help you, the Jamaican manager or professional, to design a time management system of your own. Where Do You Start? In order to build a time management system (it’s really not that hard) we need some building blocks. Let’s start with a few definitions. A Time Demand is anything that your mind decides is important, and deserves an expenditure of energy, time and effort. Here are some examples of the inner and external dialogues that create time demands. Examples: “I need a manicure” “I should lose five pounds this year” “Don’t worry kids, I’ll be home early tonight so we can watch the show” “Don’t you dare forget my birthday again next year” “Bus strike? Today! Yuh mad…” “These tax people are crazy –I cannot owe them this much” “What yuh mean the car won’t start?” A Fundamental Practice is a basic building block of any physical or mental activity. It makes up the core or essential components that must be mastered, and practiced until they become habits. For example, in cricket the basic shots in batting are the forward defensive stroke, and the backward defensive stroke. All the other strokes are built on these fundamentals.
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In netball, the fundamentals include catching, passing, shooting and pivoting. There is no way to represent Jamaica without mastering these particular skills, and at the highest levels they are practiced over and over again, regardless of the level of perfection achieved. A devoted Christian never says a final prayer that ends the need to ever pray again. Instead, prayer is a part of their daily devotional practice that never ends. A Belt System is used in Karate, Tae Kwon Do and other martial arts to show that a practitioner of the sport has moved from one level to the next. At each level, the skills to be learned require more practice, and the learning curve only become steeper. Peace of Mind is simply the goal of any time management system. Going to bed satisfied that one’s affairs are in order, and that nothing is left out of place is way more important than just working and working to produce more and more, like a machine. As human beings, our sense of accomplishment and satisfaction comes first, as it affects our entire life with our families, work, hobbies, friendships and community. With accomplishment and satisfaction come peace of mind that works in Kingston, Montego Bay or Portland. Putting a Design Together As a Jamaican professional, you can use an understanding of the fundamentals of time management to assemble your own system. In my research, I identified 11 fundamental components, but the fact that this e-book is meant to be an introduction to the larger principles, I am only going to focus on the first 7 in this e-book. They are collectively known as the Major Components. In addition, I created a new Belt System for time management users to help them gauge their progress over time. It is meant to assist them in developing their skills in a structured way that is challenging, and yet is clearly understood. The choice of using the system is yours. Within each of these 7 Major Components, there are different belt levels.

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2Time Capturing e-book A beginner always starts out as a White belt in any given practice, and as they learn new skills they improve their ranking within that practice. This is true in the martial arts, as a white belt who is learning “kicking” for the first time, will eventually learn how to kick at different levels. They’ll come to see that a White belt kick is not same as a Green belt kick, even though they probably won’t even understand the difference in the beginning. In time management the same is true. The only difference is that instead of kicking, punching and blocking, they are doing the following practices that are at the heart of all time management systems. The 7 Major Components 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Capturing Emptying Tossing Acting Now Storing Scheduling Listing

The rest of this e-book is devoted to giving you a summary of the rest of the 7 Major Components, and it will go into detail on what is perhaps the most important Component of all – Capturing. Here are the 7 Major Components summarized. 1. Capturing: placing time demands in reliable places (capture points) for temporary storage, using as few places as possible, and never using one’s memory! 2. Emptying: moving these time demands from capture points into other parts of the system frequently, and completely 3. Tossing: forgetting about stuff to do that doesn't make sense to do after some consideration 4. Acting Now: immediately executing time demands that can be completed within 5 minutes 5. Storing: placing information that needs to be used later in a reliable place (such as an email address or URL) 6. Scheduling: deploying time demands into a calendar 7. Listing: sorting numerous time demands into lists that are too detailed to be scheduled in a calendar (e.g. a grocery list)

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2Time Capturing e-book Capturing Capturing is simply the action of storing a time demand at the moment of creation in a safe, but temporary place, for later use. To understand the component it’s best to slow down a single capture process that occurs perhaps hundreds of times in a day of the average professional. The process starts with the moment of creation, which is always a mental decision to DO something new. The feeling or thought is triggered, and it doesn’t go away until the task is done. The triggering event might be anything, including a conversation you have, a book you are reading or a flat tire you just got — anything that triggers a thought in your mind that something needs to be done at some point in the near or distant future. There are probably hundreds of thoughts like this that you have each day. Once the original thought appears, you then have a problem -something needs to be done with the time demand that has been created in your mind, so that it can be accessed and used at some later point in time. The most common “storage device” we use as Caribbean professionals is our own personal memory. Another storage device might be a PostIt note. Yet another might be a paper pad, or a notebook. A PDA is sometimes used also. After the time demand is stored, hopefully we are able to use the “storage device” to prompt further action, either by acting on it in the moment, adding it to our calendar or putting it on a list. Once the time demand is successfully executed, it disappears. Capturing is the action that connects the moment of creation with the rest of the process and enables us to deal with all kinds of time demands, from different sources, in different media. Some everyday examples include:

an email needing a response that we keep in our Inbox
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• • • • •

a request our mother made to call our sister on her birthday a phone number given to us to put in our diary that we write on a slip of paper an appointment next week Thursday to check the status of a cheque a meeting that we ask our assistant to schedule a note to ourselves to call JPS to find out what the balance on the account is

This, of course, is just a partial list to which you can add your own personal examples. The chances are good that your list is a unique one. Key Principles of Capturing
Audio Resources Included in this e-book is a podcast taken from a live programme – “NewHabits-NewGoals” – that I taught in January 2008. “Capturing” is covered in this 28 minute recording which includes an excerpt from the class, including questions and answers from class participants. The podcast can be heard or downloaded by visiting http://urlcut.com/ja2timeaud1 and the slides used can be found at http://urlcut.com/ja2timeslides1

A key finding from recent research shows that our memories do a very poor job in Capturing. It reveals that we can be counted on to remember only 7 items reliably, on average. As adults get older, our abilities to remember only become more impaired – this may be something you have already experienced!

Any effective time management system must help you, the user, to reliably Capture time demands, without allowing them to be lost. As technology has expanded, the number of incoming items has only increased, and the number of sources of time demands has also expanded. You may have already had the experience of losing track of more and more time demands, which is a common experience that professionals are having due to the number of channels from which time demands are entering their space. For example, the thought that something needs to be done can originate from:
• • •

a conversation individual brainstorming or reading bills
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• • • • • • • • • •

daydreaming radio and television programmes letters how-to-books websites newspaper email voicemail pagers / Blackberries / cell text messages instant messages

In the last six examples given above, voicemail became only popular in the 1970’s, email in the 1990’s and instant messages in the new millennium. With the advance of technology has come a rapid increase in the number of ways in which new demands of our time enter our consciousness. What is likely is that in 5 years time there will be even more new channels for time demands, only increasing the burden on our overloaded time management systems. To cope with all the different channels we need a set of principles with which to define the fundamental component of “Capturing,” and a way to craft our own system of dealing with all the information coming in our direction. Capturing is best enabled when: • • • • the number of capture points is kept to a minimum, by following it up quickly with the next component: “Emptying” the number of items in each point is kept to a minimum our memory is only used as a capture point as a last resort, when no other points of Capture are available at least one capture point is portable and can be taken almost everywhere

When Capturing is done well, it increases peace of mind by taking the stress out of trying to remember everything. At the higher belt levels, users actually do no remembering at all. Here are the practices that correspond to different levels of mastery of the discipline of Capturing, taken from the 2Time Management System described later in this e-book.

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A Novice/White Belt relies on their memory for most if not all time demands. The basic novice refuses to write anything down, and continues this practice even when the number of time demands increases. Their practice can result in missed appointments, late arrivals, forgotten promises, unreturned emails and sometimes even a sense of being burdened by life’s demands

A Yellow Belt relies on a mix of memory and available scraps of paper

An Orange Belt hardly relies on paper and uses mostly whatever available paper they can find to write on.

A Green Belt always carries a single “device” for capturing new demands as they arise, never using memory or scraps of paper unless the situation prevents it. The device might be a paper pad, a PDA, or a digital voice recorder, for example. For Green Belts, virtually nothing ever falls through the cracks. They are able to incorporate new channels of information, and increasing time demands, when others simply become overwhelmed. They are also able to upgrade their capturing practices when they become obsolete using new technology.

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2Time Capturing e-book More on Capturing Here in Jamaica, there are a number of capture points that can be practically used given our technological options, including the following; • a paper pad • a cell phone’s voicemail system • a PDA/cell phone blend (e.g. blackberry) • a digital voice recorder • Inboxes for email I personally use a small paper pad most of all, and when I find myself without it I merely put a Reminder in my cell phone for later entry. My Inbox is also a critical capture point, but it is one of the more difficult ones to master. At this point, you made decide to adopt a new Capture Point from the above list, or something else entirely. What’s most important is that your Capture Point follows the Key Principles of Capturing, and not how much it costs. Email Inboxes as Capture Points Email Inboxes are notoriously difficult to master, as evidenced by the number of people who use them at a White Belt level. Here are the indicators of how an Inbox is used (and abused) at lower belt levels. White belts have: • tens, hundreds and even thousands of emails in their Inbox • email that has been read is sitting in the Inbox waiting to be acted on • an Inbox that is only emptied once or twice a year • items that get lost in their Inbox. Email goes unanswered. Time demands are lost, and promises to act slip through the cracks • key information hidden, such as a phone number that takes forever to find because it is lost in the body of an email that itself is buried • their email delegated to someone else entirely, and they only use a fraction of its capability (e.g. to their secretary or spouse.) The solution to improving Inbox skill lies in a combination of the 11 components, and can’t be achieved by mastering Capturing by itself. This is part of what makes the problem so very difficult to fix. It only

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2Time Capturing e-book takes a single component to exist at a relatively low belt level to cause email Inbox problems. The fact is, the future is only going to bring more and more email, and until users master the 11 fundamental components, the way they manage their Inbox will continue to ruin their Peace of Mind. Creating Your Own Capturing System With a knowledge of the fundamentals, and the different levels, you can create the first part of your own time management system. Here are the steps. 1. Determine the belt level (white, yellow, etc.) at which you are currently Capturing 2. Put together 1-2 habits from the next belt level 3. Use whatever techniques you can use to remind yourself to implement the new habit 4. Test yourself at the new belt level, and go back to Step 1 Creating this new habit will be first step that you are taking to create your own time management system, tailored to your needs. Next Steps This e-book is just a start in the journey of improving your own productivity in a way that fits your personal environment, and circumstance. If you are interested in learning more about Capturing and the other 10 components, the following options are available to you as a Jamaican manager: 1. Sign up for the next NewHabits-NewGoals programme in Kingston. Follow this link to find out more information on the specifics of the 2-day course, and how to register. See http://fwconsulting.com/newhabits 2. Visit the blog that describes these ideas in detail. It has over 86 posts on how to develop your own time management system using the 11 components described in this e-book. Go to http://2Time.wordpress.com. While visiting, sign up for updates to be sent to you via email, by clicking on the link “Click here to go to the Feedblitz site.”

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2Time Capturing e-book 3. If you have never visited a blog before, view this short video that gives an introduction to the 2Time blog. Click here to be taken to the 5 ½ minute clip: http://urlcut.com/ja2timevid1 4. The audio portion of the January 2008 Pilot programme that focuses on Capturing is available as a podcast. It can be either heard online by streaming, or by downloading the audio file. Click here to be taken to the 28 minute audio clip: http://urlcut.com/ja2timeaud1. Also, see the slides that accompany this audio clip at http://urlcut.com/ja2timeslides1. If you would like to subscribe to get updates to reports in this series, send email to 2timeja@aweber.com if you haven’t already done so. You will receive a confirmation email that includes a link to be clicked to confirm that your email address is correct. You will then be added automatically to the list. Share This with Your Friends! Your friends and colleagues may want the Peace of Mind that comes from managing their time well. If so, send this e-book directly to them, or give them this email address to request this e-book: 2timeja@aweber.com. Ask them to follow the direction above. Thanks! On behalf of Framework Consulting, I’d like to thank you for reading this e-book. For more information about our other information products, please visit our website at http://fwconsulting.com.

Francis Wade P.S. To receive regular updates on our newest offerings of all kinds, sign up for our periodic One Page Digest, by simply sending email to frameworkdigest-join@list.fwconsulting.com

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3389 Sheridan Street #434 Hollywood, FL 33021 954-323-2552 / 876-880-8653 www.fwconsulting.com