This book is a no-brainer. It’s been an internet phenomenon but I have to admit that I have not seen the video. I am purposely waiting until I finish the book. The first time I was turned on to it by Zach Holmquist, my good friend and Twitter muse.
Chapter 23 talks about managing your time. And throughout the book Randy says things that make me feel less self-conscious about things in my life. My quirks, actually. Such as the idea that a single car wreck doesn’t automatically necessitate a call to an insurance company. Just because there is a dent it doesn’t mean it’s broken. This makes me feel better about not making a big deal about smacking my car into a parking garage pole last month.
I like also that talks sincerely and without romanticizing his marriage. They have problems, they work them out, and they move on. I don’t do it justice, but he is very frank about everything, not just his terminal cancer.
Chapter 23, after several chapters of anecdotes with thought-provoking endings, Randy gives us a full chapter on an area of his expertise.
- Time must be explicitly managed, like money
Here is where I introduce a little cognitive dissonance. I don’t like having a full plate of things to do. I like it at the end of the day when I’ve worked a full, productive day. Not just at work, albeit the most important, but also at home, on the phone, and with friends. But at the same time I don’t like waking up and having a full schedule ahead of me. So while I like to remain busy and active, I like it less when it is planned out for me, an obligation. Spontaneity is the scheduling philosophy of choice. This is not just a quirk, it’s a problem. And it will be addressed by “being ok with obligation”.
- You can always change your plans, but only if you have one.
Just like Pausch, I love ToDo lists. I get great satisfaction out of checking off those little boxes, it being a visual representation of completion and progress. My problem is finding the right medium for those todo lists. There are literally hundreds of software applications you can buy to help with with this, but I have yet to find one that works with both my personal and professional life, or even one of those individually.
- Ask yourself: Are you spending time on the right things?
The secret here is to realize that this isn’t asking “Are you spending enough time on the right things for you?” With a wife and family, what the right thing is, may not always be the right thing for yourself, but it is the right thing for your family. But on second glance, It’s a loop right? Whatever is good for your family will then inherently be important to you (or should be). The sooner you realize that, the sooner you will stop wasting your time on things that don’t benefit your family. When your family is “cruising” and well off (or sleeping), then why not, go ahead and play that video game for an hour (or read that book, if it’s ok with Mrs. Better Half).
- Develop a good filing system
This is not a core competency for my family. Our filing system is more of in the idea phase (perpetual idea phase). Our basement is getting finished which means we are adding 3 new rooms and an office. We have a giant filing cabinet waiting and excited to be placed it’s in corner and to be used a lot.
Not a problem for me. I rethought the telephone years ago, while being hunted by collection agencies in my early twenties. I learned quickly that answering the phone was, simply, a bad idea. Then caller id came along and became widespread. So instead of just ignoring the telephone altogether, I was able to selectively filter the calls. I still don’t answer our home’s phone, despite the caller id. I have my own cell phone, so if it’s for me I figure they will try to reach me directly. My wife also has a cell phone, as does my 12 y/o. So basically, if they are calling our home number it is for my 3 or 4 y/o or a marketer, and thus it is completely ignored.
This book is golden, and it’s a fast read too. Reading time totaled about 4 hours. I had a nice finish, too, while sitting on the patio overlooking the Caribbean.
Randy Pausch’s page at Carnegie Mellon
The Last Lecture on iTunes
Authors, Books, Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture