Course Pack: Making Time
Remembering: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced mee-hi chick-sent-me-high)
Hungarian psychologist Csikszentmihalyi led an extraordinary life. After a traumatic childhood under Soviet rule (and a chance encounter with Carl Jung) he devoted his life to the study of happiness, and became the founder and leader of ‘positive psychology.’ Sadly, he passed away in his California home in November 2021 after decades of residency as a U of C professor. Part of his legacy was the concept of flow, practically presented here.
Do: Three tried and tested time tools
Want to make time but don’t know where to start? If you’re new to the topic, the Pomodoro Technique is a super-simple starting point: all you need is the timer on your phone. For a deeper dive, turn to Timeboxing - a great way to turbo-charge your productivity in short, energetic bursts. And for the seasoned veterans, find your focus and patch the cracks the hours slip through with Activity Logs.
Watch: How to Manage Your Time More Effectively (According to Machines)
If there’s a key take-away from this animated short, it’s that even robots struggle to manage their time. Drawing parallels between the bumpy beginnings of NASA’s Pathfinder mission to our relationship with interruptions, emails and scheduling, author/researcher Brian Christian outlines a clever time saving framework. And don’t worry, it works just as well for man and machine.
Listen: Air Gap
The science is in. Listening to music while working is a great way to boost your productivity, just as long as there aren’t any lyrics. Luckily Ben Watt (one half of musical duo Everything But The Girl) has created this playlist of ambient, instrumental tracks to help you find flow when you need it most.
Read: Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day
Knapp and Zeratsky have done it again. If their 2016 NYT bestseller wasn’t enough, they’ve stepped out a clear, constructive four-part framework to make the most of your time (in and out of work) in ‘Make Time.’ If you’re searching for a titanic timekeeping toolkit, look no further - you’ll find over 80 unique strategies here. Check out their blog too; they regularly update app recommendations and release bonus packs for the book.
Do: The Eisenhower Matrix
Feel like you never have a moment to yourself? That you're not making time for the long-term goals that matter to you? Do as the President did. The Eisenhower Matrix, created by US President Dwight D., allows you to bucket, visualise and prioritise where your time and energy go, with a focus on striking a balance between what's important for your job and what's important in your life.
Listen: Before Breakfast Podcast
Laura Vanderkam has written five books on time management and productivity, all while keeping this daily podcast series running. Let that sink in. Each episode, literally meant to be consumed ‘Before Breakfast,’ is a bite sized ‘thought of the day,’ style time primer for a productive, purposeful morning, noon and night. Check out her TED talk below - yes, she’s got a TED talk too - for more tips and tricks.
Read: 4000 Weeks, by Oliver Burkeman
While Daniel Pink (recommended below) and Knapp and Zeratsky (recommended above) take a more day-to-day approach to time management, Burkeman's 4000 Weeks offers actions and advice for managing the time we're allowed in a lifetime. You'll find comprehensive and evidence-backed arguments for unburdening yourself of FOMO, and in-depth instructions on how to use the time you have to be both effective and happy.
Do: Boost Confidence with a 'Done List.'
Feel like you got nothing done today? Looking back and making a list of the things you achieved and the progress you made is a fantastic way to remind yourself that you've been using your time effectively. 'Done Lists', taken from the pages of the wonderful You Coach You, are super-simple and super-quick end of the day exercises for boosting your confidence and refreshing your sense of achievement.
Read: When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, by Daniel Pink
What's the most effective time to have a break? Is there a time in the day that someone is more likely to respond to an important email? When should I propose? These may seem like complicated and unanswerable questions, but Daniel Pink offers concrete and evidence-backed answers in his latest read.
Do: Add Friction to Distraction
Another great time-saving tool taken from You Coach You (more on them just above). Adding friction means identifying the things you're most easily distracted by - phones, news, coffee - and putting blockers in place to make it harder for those things to drain your attention and time. Take a look today.