Welcome back and welcome to module three, where we will talk about managing your time. There was an excellent op ed in the New York times a few years back by a guy named Tim Kreider, and he was writing about what he calls the Busy Trap. And I love this article because he points out some things that I think are really valuable for us to keep in mind as we begin this new module talking about time management. The first is that he calls out people who are always going on about how busy they are, and you probably know people like this too, right? Every time you talk to them, the first thing that came out, I've been so busy, I've just been so incredibly busy, right? And we all feel that, right? We are all busy. But there are folks who seem to revel in milking how busy they are all the time, and he calls them out and says, look the probably most of the things that you're so crazy busy with our choices that you have made. And there is no point in kind of glorifying being busy, which leads us to the second point, which is that our society does glorify being busy. We tell ourselves that that's a symbol of being effective, leading a meaningful life, doing important work. If we're busy all the time, then we must be doing those things. We must be living a life of worth and importance. And that of course, is a lie, [LAUGH] right? It's one of those society constructs that perhaps we assume and we take as a given, but isn't necessarily true, right? Their worth, isn't determined by what we're doing at any minute or how busy we are, right? We have worth regardless of that. And just because we're busy doesn't mean that the activities are meaningful or themselves impactful or important, just because we're busy doing them, right? And the last thing that Kreider talks about is that the busy trap robs us of something that's of critical importance, especially for us as creative people. And that is, it robs us of the down time that we need to let our minds wander to allow creativity to be spontaneous and do its own thing. To allow some idea that's been sort of percolating to come up to the surface, right? If you talk to creative people all the time, they'll say, well, I met my most creative when I'm taking a walk, walking the dog at 5 a.m, before anybody else is out, or when I'm out jogging, or for me, it's when I'm swimming laps, right? It's just my mind unplugs from the external world and that allows me to enter into a place where my brain is able to do things that it's not able to do when I'm focused on all these tasks. And so he says, this is really, really important for all people, for work life balance, but also especially for us as creative people. So there's two essentials for time management. Now, we're going to talk about a couple of rubrics for doing this. But before we do that, I want to look at these two essentials because I think that they are sort of overarching principles that we have to think about if we're managing our time well. The first is that we have to be able to prioritize, okay? We have to be able to assess the things that are in front of us and determine whether or not those are things that are more important or less important and the more important things we will hopefully deal with. First, the less important things we can put somewhere else, right, and get through later. So being able to do that is going to be super important and we can't really prioritize effectively if we don't have clear goals, right? So this is going back to the earlier lessons, we were talking about goal setting, working at the near term goals built in midterm goals build, get us to the long term goals and this idea that on a daily or weekly basis we have the objectives that we need to keep on track with those goals. And if we don't have that pretty clearly worked out in our head, it's going to be very, very difficult to prioritize the tasks that we need to do in order to be effective with our time management. The last thing I'll mention before we go on to these two rubrics that I want to share with you is that time management ultimately is about task management. And I think that, that's an important thing to just again to remember, it's one of those things that may seem obvious when you say it, but we think about time management maybe as, I don't have enough hours in the day. But really it boils down to task management and how we go about prioritizing our tasks, how we go about fitting those tasks into this bigger picture of achieving our objectives and our goals, okay. So the first rubric that I want to share with you is to once again give credit to our dear Angela Beeching and her book Beyond Talent, where she comes up with this a grid that has on the one side, nondiscretionary, meaning, the things that you have to do that are not negotiable. The things discretionary, the things that maybe could be put off till later or don't have to be done right now. Or maybe you don't have to be done at all, right? Not all tasks have to be done, [LAUGH] but then she also puts that in terms of career things and personal things. And I think this is really, really important because if we are really driven career minded people, we may think that the only things that are really nondiscretionary are up in the career quadrants and it's not true write your wedding anniversary, right? Or your spouse's birthday. I got news for you. Those are non discretionary. Don't blow those, right? But they live down in the personal or maybe really critical self care if you're the sort of person that if you're not, you don't get a walk every day or you don't get to go do some exercise or you don't eat well. You are physically not well, you are not at your best emotionally, you're not able to focus on things very effectively. You're irritable, [LAUGH] you're hard to be around like whatever it is, then that becomes really, really important, even though that's quote unquote personal and not career, okay. So what I especially like about the beaching grid is that it helps us remember that career and personal are on an equal footing here. And sometimes our personal life has to take precedent over our working life and sometimes vice versa, but hopefully by realizing that they all work together, we can find the right balance. Now, what this grid doesn't do is help us work through tasks on a more granular level, right? And that's where we go to this great graphic that comes from Stephen Covey's book The 7 Habits of highly Effective People. Now, this book has been around for 50 years and it's been around for so long and it has such lasting power because the principles that he lays out are just so fundamentally sound. And certainly one of those habits that he talks about his time management. And he came up with this grid here that I literally draw on every day in my life, okay, so let's just walk through these four quadrants on the upper left. We have something that is urgent and important. And he uses the word urgent. I kind of like the term time sensitive rather than necessarily urgent, but if it's both time sensitive and it's important. Now we're talking about a grant deadline. This is due at five p.m tomorrow. If it's late, I'm out of the running right. Or an audition, or, an appointment with somebody really, really important. Then you've been trying to get this appointment for six months and it's finally coming up at 2 o'clock this afternoon where you better make sure right that you, that you are there and that. You keep that appointment right? So these are the things that really are non negotiable or genuine emergencies that come up right? You just got a call and your kid is at school and they've gotten sick. You're going to have to drop what you're doing and go and pick up your kids. So those are the things that we have to try our best to manage because they will come along and we don't really have a choice of whether or not to deal with them in the moment, okay. So those are just kind of what they are, right? Below that on the lower left is urgent but not important. And this is where I think using a word other than urgent, urgency implies importance, right? So that might seem like it's a little bit of a contradiction, but if you think of it as time sensitive but not important. This could be a lot of emails particularly that may come along and we've been conditioned that when we get that little chime in our inbox, we have to go see what it is, right? And we have to respond, right? It's like the social media prompt. It's almost as Pavlovian response that we have, that something comes our way and we feel we have to respond. The truth is we don't have to respond, quite often it can wait, quite often it is not important whether or not you responded this immediate moment, okay. Then lower right, not important and also not urgent, okay, this is just procrastination. These are the distractions that we allowed a group in our lives and sometimes a little bit of that is fine. I try not to work while I'm eating my lunch and I'll pull up some social media or scroll around while I'm eating my lunch and that's sort of my little treat for a moment there. But of course if we spend a lot of time down in that quadrant, now we're just procrastinating right, now we're just wasting time. And then the upper right quadrant is the one that's really, really critical because it's the one that we so often push off till later. These are things that because they're not urgent, because they are not pressing time sensitive things. We say I will get to them later. Because I have these immediate things that must require my immediate attention, okay. And we end up not spending time up in this quadrant, even though the things can be very, very important. So a great example of this is networking. As we're going to discuss in a future lesson not too far away from here. Networking is the lifeblood of your career, after your musical practice it's the most important aspect of your career. But because it's an ongoing thing, because it may seem kind of abstract maybe because we're a little uncomfortable with it, or it takes a little extra effort to do, it's really easy to say, this has been a really busy week. I just, I can't, I'll deal with that next week, right? Or big projects, like someday I'm going to write that big piece, someday, I'm going to do that musical, someday I'm going to get serious about developing this new skill. And by by saying someday we give ourselves permission to continue to push it off. And Covey is telling us that if we want to achieve our long term goals, if we want to get to those big things in our life, we have to spend more time in this upper right quadrant because otherwise we will never get there. We will spend all of our days reacting to the immediate things that come before us. Often telling ourselves that it's in the upper left quadrant, it's urgent, important when in fact it is neither urgent or important. Another thing to think about here is, you noticed in the upper right inquiry and he says we have to manage these things that are urgent and important, time sensitive and important. And what he means by manage it? How do you manage things that you can't predict? Well, if you're finding that day after day after day after day, you're constantly just running around putting out fires. That's like that's all you do is that things are flying at you from all directions and you're just reacting doing the best you can to try not to have any one of those things hit you and take your head off, right? So, and we are going to have days that are like that, that's just like, right. But if it's constantly that way, then maybe you need to spend some time in the upper right quadrant asking yourself, is there some way that I could reduce the number of fires that I have to put out every day? Is there something I can do to restructure my working life or restructure my situation that I don't have quite as many chainsaws flying at me simultaneously. And if so it's worth spending some time reflecting on that, working that problem so that you can manage the upper left quadrant a little bit more effective. The other thing I want to talk a little bit more about is this lower left quadrant. This is particularly hard, not just because of the sort of the conditioned responses that I was talking about a second ago. But if you're a good person, if you're a well meaning person, someone comes along and says, I need your time right now. If they are the sort of person that they are constantly doing that, they're needy people [LAUGH] right, you might have to learn to set some boundaries and that might be difficult for you because you're going to feel bad about it. Or if the proverbial, lack of planning on your part does not constitute a crisis on my part, somebody who got themselves into this situation through their own negligence or mismanagement and now they expect you to drop everything you're doing and go help them out. Again that can be hard to say no to if we're good people, and if we care about the person in question, we want to try to be a nice person. But sometimes, if that's starting to become a problem, if we're constantly getting sucked down into that lower left quadrant. Again, we might need to stop reflect, ask ourselves why we get pulled into these things and try to manage them more effectively. And then, lastly, on the lower right hand corner of the things that are the procrastinating, the things that are the distractions. Like I said, a little bit of that every day is fine, do that while you're having your coffee break or while you're eating your sandwich. But if you're finding yourself that you're spending a lot of time down there. Now, there's something else going on, right. Now ,you're avoiding whatever it is, something that you are comfortable doing, something that maybe you're not confident with doing. And that's of course not such a great thing to do. So what I hope that you will come out of this, is that you can use the Covey grid to begin to develop a mindset of evaluating things that come before you over the course of the day and being able to say, is this really important or does it just appear to be important, right? Can I get to this later? How will I make sure that over the course of any given day or certainly over the course of a week, that you've really blocked off significant time for the stuff that is not urgent, but it's important to make sure that that doesn't get pushed off to the side, right? And so the Covey grid gives you a way of thinking about those things in very concrete terms. And I found it to be tremendously useful. So, for your first discussion post in this module, I want you to fill out the Covey grid for a for a typical work day and maybe you don't have a typical workday. Maybe you could do a couple of different days as a kind of compare and contrast. But I want you to put your typical daily tasks into these various quadrants to give you some clarity on how you end up actually spending your day, because it might be different than the way you think you spend your day. And if that's so, that's good to know. What are the sorts of urgent and important things that come up for you? What are the sorts of urgent but not important things that you tend to get sucked into? What are your guilty pleasures that take you into the neither urgent or important quadrant, okay. And then I want you to look at the goals and objectives that we talked about in the previous module. And say, how does that fit in with how I'm spending my time on the Kobe grid. And look at your life map. And look at those long term goals and say, am I really spending the time up in that not urgent but important quadrant. So that I can get to those bigger goals? The last thing I want you to think about is to be observant of your habits. Be observant of the way your energy ebbs and flows over the course of the day, okay. I think a lot of folks often times again have this idea that I have to be productive all the time I have to be busy all the time. And if I have certain times of the day when I have difficulty motivating myself. So I have difficulty focusing on certain types of tasks that there's something wrong with me. But I'm not doing it right, whatever it is, right. And I think that's a very destructive way of looking at things. We are all either morning people or not morning people. Maybe you're a night album, maybe that's when your creativity just explodes. For me, I'm much more of a morning person, but not like right out of bed. It takes me a little while from my hard drive to spin up. And so I spend those first couple of hours of the day doing things that help me get my engine going. That don't require a lot of brain power, but which help me set up the day as it were. And then I tried to really focus on creative energy between about 10 in the morning and about one or two in the afternoon. Then frankly about 2 to 4, I have a little trouble focusing. That's where I can put some of the mindless things. That's where I can put things that are down in that maybe they are important but not urgent quadrant. That lower left quadrant of the Covid grid that eventually you need to sort of catch up on some of that stuff, right? That's a good time to catch up on email. It's a good time doesn't require a lot of brain energy, right? And then I'll go swim and I'll be reenergized and I'll have another nice stretch before a latest dinner, okay. So I have discovered that that works for me now I can't always structure my day is the way I want. But on the days that I can't because of things that are urgent and important, right? But I just can't change the fact that I've got to be on my game at 2 in the afternoon. At least I know that's going to be something that I'm going to have to prepare for it. I'm going to have to try to make sure I can mitigate the fact that normally at two in the afternoon, it's not my best hour of the day. So you see what I'm saying, you need to be observing yourself and hopefully begin to work the task management of your day. Such that you are doing the tasks that are best suited to your energy at any given time today, I guess something like that, right? So it goes back to this idea of understanding yourself, understanding your own Proclivities. And that will help you not only get more out of your day and be more productive and be more effective. It'll also make you a happier person, right? [LAUGH]. It will take some of the stress off of you. Rather than saying, it's two in the afternoon and I'm just in a fog and I'm a terrible person and this afternoon is all gone to hell, right. [LAUGH]. You don't have to tell yourself that you can say, well, yeah, here it is here's my two in the afternoon a little brain fog. Let me see what I can do about let me go and take a walk. Let me go and make sure I'm hydrated. Let me go do some of the mindless tasks that I need to do and not worry about it. And so that will help you have a little bit less stressful today. And I hope all of these things will help you have a less transformed day and more productive day as well, see you next time.