Bill Cottringer

“The challenge today is to catch up to the shift between the manufacturing age goal of squeezing a penny out of a nickel to the new information age goal of squeezing a nickel out of a penny.” ~The author.

We are well into the new info age and many of us still haven’t woken up to the realities that are smacking us in the back of the head like Anthony Dinozzo gets done every week in NCIS by his boss Jethro Leroy Gibbs. Alvin Toffler tried to warn us about the technology information overload that would bury us all in his 1962 book “Future Shock,” but that all fell on deaf ears for too long. Now there is too much to do and too little time to do it and it keeps getting worse. What are we gonna do says Pooh?

The most major thing we all need to do is shift gears. This starts with a complete deletion of some old, very natural habits that are resistive to change even with good reason. They just won’t die easily without commitment and persistence. Here are a few antique ideas about time management that need to go.

• Do lists. They just rob time from just doing the things on the list!
• Planning. Too much time is wasted planning things that never happen the way they are planned.
• Unplug the phone. Phones don’t have plugs today so that is silly.

Okay, now that I have your attention, let’s get serious. Here’s what definitely needs to go in order to clear the way for the Tao of the new ‘Information Age Time Management’ to make its waves of productive change to help us all have more time and get more things done in the time we have. These things clear some cranium space for better ideas and practices to move in and work their magic:

1. Call a moratorium on anticipating or expecting how long something will or won’t take to do. This is because, the truth be known, we don’t really know. So in the meantime, just do it without the controlling thoughts and be surprised how quickly so many things get done. Thoughts often get in the way of action and slow you down and time with it.

2. Don’t try to learn anything new on the job because there isn’t time. Employers need employees who have a zero learning curve for things like technology. So, if you have to learn something new, do it at home on your own time.

3. If you really believe in the power of multi-tasking, then prove it or just be quiet and accept success at serial-tasking, one thing at a time, doing each one well through completion and getting real results that count, instead of just spreading mediocrity around and thinking you are getting results.

4. Be brave and be bold. Re-assign your favorite fun things to do on the blue light priority list, behind, the boring, tedious things that you know have to get done, like it or not. Procrastination of must do things just adds to the time required to eventually do them.

Now once you rid yourself of a few of these unproductive old habits or others that have held you hostage, here are a few productive ones to consider adopting:

1. First, completely re-arrange your time paradigm from the old “manufacturing age” concept to the new “information age” version. Turning time upside down and inside out is the only say you are ever going to posture yourself to be able to understand how to squeeze a nickel out of a penny. This means purging the practice of attacking the old-fashioned consistent, mechanical and past-present-future sequential version, for the fluid, erratic one you become a blended part of from inside out. Read some strange books about time, like Alan Lightman’s “Einstein’s Dreams” or Sean Carroll’s “From Eternity to Here.” You will never again think of time the same way. The radical new way to view time may just open more of it than you know what to do with. Ironically, the new object is not to use time, but let it use you; and this is not in the sense of letting the tail wag the dog, but you have to think about that a bit.

2. Secondly, do two new things that really make sense—start and end your day well. Start your day by planning how to accomplish a few worthy goals that squeeze a nickel out of a penny and end your day in reflection about how many pennies you wasted trying. Then when you begin to seek and embrace failure openly, you will begin to learn more success strategies than you will know what to do with. If you don’t believe me just have a séance and ask Abraham Lincoln.

3. Finally, mix and match. You may have to develop a full repertoire toolbox for situational time management applications. When you are cleaning out the garage and attic, working to finish time sensitive tasks at your job, or trying to figure out what job to apply for, you may need to adjust different time management skills to the different situation at hand.

Get rid of a few bad old habits and adopt a few new ones. As you add a few new information age time management skills to your present attitudes and aptitudes, watch your success altitude grow. Then the earlier human potential mantra of “what you can conceive, you can achieve” will begin to make more sense and gradually but all of a sudden come true.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is Executive Vice-President for Employee Relations for Puget Sound Security, Inc. in Bellevue, WA, along with his hobbies in being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the peaceful but invigorating mountains and rivers of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, “You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too” (Executive Excellence), “The Bow-Wow Secrets” (Wisdom Tree), “Do What Matters Most” and “P” Point Management” (Atlantic Book Publishers), “Reality Repair” (Global Vision Press), Reality Repair Rx (Authorsden), and “If Pictures Could Talk,” coming soon. Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or