Re: Time=Life

John P. Satta (
Sun, 15 Dec 1996 17:54:09 -0500

Hal Finney wrote


>The author recommended using a Day-Timer, one of the brands of

>scheduling notebooks. In this you would write down your goals for

>each day, as well as taking notes on things you do during the day.

>In addition, he suggested arranging your goals into categories,

>them separately in terms of importance and urgency. Some goals are

>important but relatively less urgent, like self-education, so we tend

>to let them drift. Others are urgent but less important, like getting

>those reports xeroxed for the boss. The system was designed so that

>you would not forget about the longer range goals and devote at least

>some time and effort to them every week if not every day.


>I wish I had not lost the tapes as I did find them beneficial,

>after a few years I tended to drop my new good habits and fall back

>my old relatively disorganized ways. However the system really did

>well for me and I was able to get a lot done during it.


>Maybe other people can recommend specific books or other resources on

>time management.


I have personal experience with the Franklin System which is similar to
the Day-Timer system that Hal described. It is essentially a ring binder
based daily calendar with a "to do" list, an appointment schedule and a
place for notes. The key is using it EVERY day. The idea is very simple:
take time every day to plan your activities for that day. That is, sit
down at your desk for 10-15 minutes of "planning and solitude." This
needs to become a ritual that you follow faithfully. Make the time and do
it in peace. This stes up your day so it pays to be careful about it/

During the ritual you review what you did yesterday by seeing what was
checked off the to-do list. Whatever wasn't checked off you recopy by
hand to today (or to a day in the future). The rewriting of the list is
important psychologically (at least to me). After rewriting something
often enough I get so annoyed that I do the task just to get it off the
list. Obviously this could be captured in software but it would be far
too easy to push things forward.

After rewriting the list you assign each item to 1 of 3 categories:

<paraindent><param>left</param>A - urgent and important

B - urgent

C - important

</paraindent>Then numerically prioritize the A's, B's and C's. Over time
tasks will be deleted and added accordingly. Ideally you do all the A's
in order, then the B's then the C's - unfortunately life gets in the way.
And I've NEVER finished my entire list for a day. :-)

I carry this thing around all day and review it when I'm not sure what to
do next. It is my calendar, to-do list, address book, business card
holder, notepad etc.

It is a decidedly low-tech "system" with all the associated advantages:
no power source needed, can be dropped from a great height and still
work, never has a head crash or a GPF. Admittedly I can't sort it like my
email, but I rarely wish I could.

I got it when I joined a company where nearly everyone had one. I was
using my own spiral notebook but over time I had to admit that those who
used their planners at least seemed to accomplish more in the same amount
of time. These were very bright people; I figured I could create my own
system or appropriate theirs. Rather than re-invent the wheel I bought a

Franklin also has books and tapes which I read/listened to years ago when
I first got the thing. Several ideas (memes?) I remember:

<paraindent><param>left</param>"Plan your work then work the plan."

"Set goals and prioritize the steps to get there."

"The successful time-manager is willing to do what the unsuccessful
time-manager is unwilling to do."

</paraindent>These are aphorisms that can be trite or profound depending
on your attitude.

That last one is interesting because its subtext points out that we are
in control of what we do (or don't) accomplish. You can replace
time-manager with anything and it is still true.

Like any tool, if used properly it will enable you to become more
efficient. What you do with the extra time is up to you.

I haven't found a URL for Franklin but their phone number is: