Friday, February 03, 2012

The See Do Time Management System

Lately I have been using a slightly different time management technique which I call the "See Do" method. As the word implies, I see it and I do it.

This method works great for keeping things clean and tidy. See a spot, wipe it. See something out of place, put it away.

In email. I get an email and deal with it. Previously I had often used a 2 minute rule. If I could deal with it in less than 2 minutes I would but leave the longer ones. And during busy times, I would reduce that to a minute or less.

The see do method helps reduce stress and that nagging feeling there is something still ahead to do. Essentially, all tasks are fully completed.

Where the system has flaws and things required to make it effective:

1 - All other time management systems (including the ones I write about in my time management book) use a priority system. Know your big goals and work on them. So to make the See Do system more effective, I try to keep my work space tidy and have a list of my high priorities printed and on my desk.

2 - Some chores are best done all at once because it takes time to set up or tools. An extreme example would be painting. It would be ridiculous to touch up one chip because the time to get the paint and brush out and clean them. So part of the system has to include some logic. Leave the vacuuming until you do more than just a minute.

3 - The See Do system can cause the simplest things to take what seems like forever. And often the added time spent is not spent on high priority things (which is the problem most people have with time - they spend most of their time on the low priority). For example, I walk into my den and notice my gloves on my desk so put them in the closet and notice the stuff on the closet shelf is messy so I straighten that and notice the floor to the closet is dusty so clean that and notice my shoes need polishing... An hour later, I finally get to my desk to get something important done (although my workspace is much neater and I feel better about things)

4 - I think it works best if this system is used in conjunction with other systems. So now I am mostly using this in my "down times". When I am energized and in high work mode, I still use my usual "work on the top task first"

So I do not advocate See Do all the time and not for everyone but adding a bit of it can be another way to get more done.


I read a good book by Gary Hamel - What Matters Now - How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition, and Unstoppable Innovation. (I love the long subtitles they use for books now - they tend to be quite descriptive)

Ironically (based on the See Do blog above), the first chapter starts with "What Matters Most" and talks about values. This is the first step I advocate in goal setting and time management.

It starts with all the things that are bad in leadership - greed, myopia, denial, deceit, hubris etc. then it moves to "discovering farmer values", "renouncing capitalisms dangerous conceits" and then on to "reclaiming the noble".

Section 2 is all about innovation. He sees innovation as hope and a cure for all the nasty he noted in the first section.

Section 3 "adaptability matters now" - something I have long advocated. The section inspired thought on how I could be more adaptable.

Section 4 - "Passion matters now"

So why did I like the book? It challenged me to think. It supported many of my views on leadership. It is well written. (and I learned a new word - fealty - our talents, treasure and people are a trust rather than just a means to personal gain)

What did I not like about it? There was a lot of "Leaders are bad people", "capitalists are bad" and even the title implies something awful like "relentless change". Perhaps some of my feeling here are misplaced guilt like the guilt I get for being a man when I read about a man doing something bad (and truthfully, it does seem that men do most of the bad stuff).


At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jim
Just read your blog after missing it for a long while. I've been using the "See Do" system for many years as do many other women. Even in my retirement, it's usually picking up after the men or is that my own fault for not nagging them often enough!
Also, restrict my email/internet usage to 1 hour per day so that I do not to get hooked on losing the day.


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