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"the 'Alan-Yu-is-so-busy' myth" follow-up

Edmund asks,
I think it would be beneficial to many of us by sharing, for example, your daily routine so that we can learn from your excellent time-managing skill.

Is it really that amazing??

well, I think the secret is:
1. the good habit of scheduling;
2. spend time thinking before you actually start working on something;
3. build spaces into your schedule, don't be too ambitious.

I work from Tuesday to Saturday. Usually, Wednesday is the staff meeting and prayer meeting day, and I do not schedule any work for Wednesdays. And usually I don't schedule anything for Saturday either, that's for catching up and for the misc. work. And I expect a lot of interruptions on Saturday too as students are dropping by our office frequently on Saturday.

So, I have Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for serious work. Usually, I handle only one big project per day, and I schedule the prep work for big projects on these days. But to do this well requires a very accurate estimation of how much time do I need to spend on preparing a project (About 1 working day for writting out a sermon - not including thinking about it and bible study; about 2 days for writing a liturgy; about 1 day for typesetting a Jubilization program book... etc.). And this takes experience. I can say I'm pretty good at this, if I'm better than others. And I try to stay on the generous side when scheduling - this makes me less stressful.

And in order to finish on-time, I need to mentally prepare myself. I'll start thinking about upcoming projects a few days/weeks in advance while I'm showering/watching tv. Ideas will brew. So by the time I sit down to work on a project I already have a lot of things laid out in my mind. This makes me efficient. I would have wasted a lot of time if I didn't think enough before I sit down.

Oh, another tips on finishing on-time: quit being the perfectionist. Do your best with your limited resources (including time), and move on. Don't spend forever hoping to build a perfect project and ended up with nothing finished. For every extra minute you spend on a project to make it perfect, you're sacrificing the resource for another project. I'd rather have 3 B projects than 1 A+ and 2 failing projects.

And in the case for this "16-event" line-up, below is my GoogleCal for August. The orange boxes are my to-do project for each day. It is really not bad.

Sunday is church day. Sometimes I need to preach in the morning, and sometimes I need to attend meetings and rehearsals in the afternoon, but most of the time it will be family day. (Sometimes I also take Saturday off for family day if I have too much overtime.) And once every 3 weeks I host PP959 and will be at the radio station from 10pm-midnight.

Monday is mostly my personal day. I do banking, shopping, housework etc. Or just laying on my bed watching TV if I'm too stressful. Or I'll use it to catch up on my readings and assignments. And Monday night is for my church fellowship group.

On Friday night or Saturday night I run programs for various churches most of the time. And on an average I'll have different kinds of meeting on weekday nights about once every week.

As for my daily schedule, usually I go to the office at 10am (ok, I admit, I'm late most of the time...), and I work on the trivial tasks first. After lunch is the serious working hours, until 6pm. Most of the time I can get off work on time, and have dinner at home at 6:30pm. After dinner is family time, until the kids go to bed at 9. Then I start doing some trivial work again for maybe another hour (usually online research), then it's time for blogging, e-mailing, reading other's blogs, watching YouTube, playing Sudoku online, Facebooking, reading... until around 2am... This is my wind down time, which is very important. I cannot do the other serious stuff as efficiently without this down time. Believe me. See also this post for my daily time-saving tips.

And I listen to stuff while I sleep. Sometimes it's music, sometimes podcast or online radio, sometimes lectures or sermons (man, they make me fall asleep really quickly...). I believe things get inside my brain even when I've fallen asleep...

So, I'm really not that busy. I admit that I'm a fast worker, but I think it just takes some good habit building to improve your efficiency. Everyone can do this. Hope these tips help.

The original post: "the 'Alan-Yu-is-so-busy' myth"

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I would like to say that many times people try to learn about "time management" to see if they can have time to do stuff. They attend seminars and talks about talk management and found out there's nothing magical about it at all.

There really shouldn't be anything magical about time management. And maybe the real question is not time management, but the management of goals, priorities, expectations, or even people. And sometimes the hardest thing to learn is to say no.

If you really want to delve deeper about time management, listen to the talk by the late Randy Pausch, who talked about time management less than a year before he died of cancer.


yes, very true. learn to say no.

jim collins says, keep a not-to-do list. stay focus.

so right.

Neither do I think it is magical or amazing. I asked because I believe that, behind those "oohs" and "aahs", many people are truly clueless about themselves and their bio-rhythms (if there is such a word). They just don't know what works for them and are stuck in a style that is not productive at all.

Many aim low as a result, if not totally given up. People need to know options and alternatives that they can try out.

Post a Comment
  • 正如林一峰話齋,閱讀,也是一種 state of mind。
  • 所以不限文字,還有聲音影像一切雜崩能東西,都在涉獵反思消化乾坤大挪移之列。
  • 看重的只有一個字:Insight


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