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    • Chris that Matrix is also one I use particularly when things get a bit hectic at work I drag that one out as part of a weekly schedule I'll do, But only when things start to get a little out of control. As part of that schedule you actually start to plan for interruptions and schedule some time each day for time you will be interrupted (It happens to everyone so why not allocate time to it) By doing this you then start to have a realistic idea of how many productive hours you actually have available instead of the theoretic hours the clock says you have, when you start to schedule in this way you will be getting closer to a realistic time frame for tasks, The tasks can be prioritise in the four quadrants you've shown. You list your available hours, then list all your pre-booked hours certain meetings interruptions etc. which then leaves the actual hours you have left in the week to do tasks, surprisingly depending on your schedule you may find you have very little hours to actually do work. You then list your tasks allocate time and a priority to them based on the matrix then assign tasks to half hour blocks in a weekly schedule and you will start to regain control of your week. I usually only bring this out when things start to go pair shaped, but so far it’s always works, and really should be carried out every week, but like everyone one else once the crisis is over you revert back to type.  Again I have this one in a spreadsheet and its pretty much automated so doesn’t take that much time once your use to it. 

    • @lextenebris This is the first I've heard of the OODA loop, but sounds very much like the Deming Cycle PDCA which was also out of the Military and became a business push a while ago, there may be a common theme there.   The Deming Cycle is very much one of the underpinning themes running through "Lean manufacturing, Lean Design" Philosophy. But sounds very much like the OODA you have shown here.

    • Yes PDCA came out of the same sort of process thinking that OODA did.

      The big difference is the intended linchpin of OODA is the action. Everything is intended to drive the action. PDCA is intended to drive the adjustment. Which is not bad, let me state up front, but it definitely puts the focus on a different type of getting things done.

      OODA is what you do if you're looking at a system and trying to figure out how to beat an opponent's system. PDCA is what you do when you're trying to beat your own system. Knowing the difference and went to teach and why you might want to use either one is a little bit of management theory that doesn't get taught nearly as much as it needs to.

      Lots of "hot right now" fads, a few "long-term effective" strategies, and not so much in the way of understanding the ebb and flow of the environment and adjusting outside of a fairly strict process.

    • Where do I sign up for the class on Procrastination? And how late should I be to the class?

      When I was in college, a speaker I admired told the possibly true story of Andrew Carnegie, lists and priorities. It had a huge impact on me and I've tried to live it ever since.

      The way I remember it is he had too much to do as Carnegie Steel got big. He obsessively kept lists but the consultant Ivy Lee told him to circle the #1, 2 & 3 thing on his list, forget the other 97 and do #1 to completion, then #2, then #3. The idea was you can't do everything anyway, so at least you can do the most important things. And if the others are really important, someone will do them or they will bubble up.

      My wife has a love/hate relationship with this because she often ends up doing many of the other 90-something. But that's what she loves because she likes to check easier things off in greater numbers.

    • About six months ago, I created a to do list system that embodies Andrew Carnegie’s consultant’s philosophy.

      But with mixed results.

      Those paper calendar systems with their A,B,C rankings? Useless to me. Plus, by the end of the week my to do list was a scratched out mess that I had zero interest in recopying by hand.

      I now keep a to do list in Word that I organize into three sections:

      - Stuff I do every day

      - Stuff I can work on this week.

      - Stuff I can’t start work on this week

      I don’t waste time trying to list items in order of importance or priority—it’s just a parking lot so that I don’t lose visibility to what needs doing.

      At the end of the day, I take a few minutes to plan out tomorrow morning by writing on a post it the 3 or 4 items on the list that I need to focus on first.

      It’s been a surprisingly simple but effective approach. Whenever I complete an item, I remove it from the Word document and print an updated to do list at the end of the day.

      Interruptions kill consistency. My use of a problem ranking system suffers from issues similar to @Glenn_Smith’s use of his matrix. Unexpected emergencies occur that prevent preparing tomorrow’s task priorities, or several days go by without updating the list because too many things have gone urgent and there’s not the bandwidth to focus on orderly planning.

      Ultimately the deadlines still get met, but I think the core problem isn’t about budgeting for interruptions. Instead it’s about how to prevent urgencies from hijacking the regular planning process.

    • I found one way around the interruptions wrecking a schedule is to actually schedule for interruptions, some can’t be helped but if you put out say two hours one in the morning and one in the afternoon and actually publish that to the interuptees that this is the time you are willing to be interrupted, block out that time so no meetings are called during that time and stick to the same time each day after a month or so you will start to get some control of the interruptions, I use to put up a weekly schedule out side my office which showed half hour blocks of time, including one block for returning phone calls etc, if the interruptions or calls done need to be returned you have some free time in your schedule to catch up on other work, but if you actually start to schedule for interruptions you start to get an idea how much real time you have to do your daily tasks. It doesn’t always work but if you start to train people went your willing to be interrupted then you start to regain control of your day. That’s half the battle.