Notes of TIME MANAGEMENT by Randy Pausch

by Randy Pausch, Nov 28, 2007
Video and other materials: OR

Notes by Anting Xu
Aug 16, 2008

Time is all we have. And you may find one day you have less than you think.
How much is my time worth an hour?
Having in your head what you cost your organization an hour is really a staggering thing to change your behavior.

1. If you're not going to have fun, why do it?
2. The power of dreams are that they give us a way to take the first step towards an accomplishment.
3. 100 things to do in my life - Lou Holtz
"If I'm not working on those 100 things, why was I working on the others?"
4. Why am I doing this?  What is the goal?
Why will I succeed?
What happens if I chose not to do it?
5. Doing things right vs. doing the right things
"If you do the right things adequately, that's much more important than doing the wrong things beautifully."

1. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
2. Plan Each Day, Each Week, Each Semester
3. You can always change your plan, but only once you have one!
4. TO DO lists
Break things down into small steps
Do the ugliest thing first
The Four-Quadrant To Do List: Important and Due Soon > Important and Not Due Soon > Not Important and Due Soon > Not Important and Not Due Soon
"Hey, this thing that's due soon and not important: I won't do it!"
5. You do not FIND time for important things, you MAKE it. And you make time by electing not to do something else.

1. Keep desk clear: focus on one thing at a time
2. Multiple computer screens: working, TO DO List and calendar
3. Speaker phone and headset: TWOFOR
4. Paper recycling bin, Post-it notes, note pad...
5. Thank-you Card: Make you special

1. Your inbox is not your TO DO list. Filing things away and putting something on your TO DO list.
2. Turn phone calls into email. "Hi, this is Randy. Please send me an email."
3. Save all of it, for searching
4. If you want something done, only one recipient.
5. If you really want something done, CC someone powerful.
6. Nagging is okay after 48 hours

1. Make a fake class in a gap.
2. Find your creative/thinking time.  Defend it ruthlessly, spend it alone, maybe at home.
Find your dead time.  Schedule meetings, phone calls, and mundane stuff during it.
3. Using Time Journal Data
What doesn’t need to be done?
What can someone else do?
What can I do more  efficiently?
How am I wasting other people’s time?

1. Procrastination is thethief of time
2. Parkinson’s Law: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion
If you push things right up to the deadline, that's where all the stress comes from.
3. Deadlines are really important:  establish them yourself!
"If you have something that isn't due for a long time, make up a fake deadline and act like it's real."
4. Identify why you aren’t enthusiastic
Fear of embarrassment
Fear of failure
Sometimes all you have to do is ask!

1. If I trust you enough to do the work, You give you the whole package.
I trust you enough to give you the resources and the budget and the time and whatever else you need to get it done.
2. Delegate but always do the ugliest job yourself.
3. People rise to the challenge: "Delegate until they complain."
4. Communication Must Be Clear: "Get it in writing"
Even if you've had a face-to-face conversation, send a two-line email just to be specific afterwards.
5. Give objectives, not procedures
Don't give people how you want them do it, tell them what you want them to do.
If you're at an university, your job should be to have people smarter than you.
6. Tell people the relative importance of each task
7. Reinforce behavior you want to be repeated
8. "Thank you, I really appreciate that you did a good job."

1. Meetings should ever last less than an hour with very rare exception.
2. "If there's no agenda, I won't attend."
3. One-minute-minutes: write down at the end the decisions and assignments and deadlines and email it to everybody.

1. Write things down
2. When’s our next meeting?
3. What’s my goal to have done by then?
4. Who to turn to for help?
5. Remember: bosses want results, not excuses!

1. Eat and sleep and exercise. Above all else!
2. Exchange money for time at every opportunity when you have very young children because you just don't have enough time.
3. Kill your television.
4. Never break a promise, but re-negotiate them if need be.
5. If you haven’t got time to do it right, you don’t have time to do it wrong.
6. Recognize that most things are pass/fail.
7. Feedback loops: ask in confidence.

1. Get a day-timer or PDA
2. Put your TO DO list in priority order
3. Do a time journal, or count hours of TV
4. Make a note in your day-timer to revisit this talk in 30 days. Ask "What have I changed?"

Cathy Collins: Time Management for Teachers, 1987
Career Track Seminar: Taking control of Your Work Day, 1990
Kenneth Blanchard/Spencer Johnson: The One Minute Manager
Stephen R. Covey: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People


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