Monday Mindset #3

August 3, 2022








Time Poor” is a consistent challenge for many of you and so we’ve dedicated this week’s Monday Mindset to the elusive subject of Time

And it’s not just about the management of time, it’s also about the value of time.

That scarce resource which in the words of Benjamin Franklin .. “once wasted, cannot be recovered”

Have a great (and productive) week.

Andrew Weaver
CEO and Co-Founder at CTO Academy 

In this week’s Monday Mindset you’ll find:

? Time Management Is About More Than Life Hacks
?‍♀️ My Fixation on Time Management Almost Broke Me
⏳ Your Life in Weeks
?‍♂️ Oliver Burkeman’s last column: the eight secrets to a (fairly) fulfilled life



Time Management Is About More Than Life Hacks

How many of us are constantly trying to improve our personal productivity – whether it’s a new year’s resolution or a mid-year reflection? I am constantly trying to “manage time better,” “be more productive,” and “focus on what matters.”

And there’s a big selection of productivity tools, apps, and programs to help us manage our time more effectively.

But this article from Harvard Business Review mentions that using a scheduling app without the prerequisite time management skills is unlikely to produce positive time management outcomes. 

Simply put, these tools presume a person’s underlying skill set, but the skills comprising time management precede the effectiveness of any tool or app.

Their research concluded that time management is actually a decision-making process that structures, protects, and adjusts a person’s time to changing environmental conditions. 


There are three skills to successfully manage your time: 

  1. Awareness: thinking realistically about your time by understanding it is a limited resource.

  2. Arrangement: designing and organizing your goals, plans, schedules, and tasks to effectively use time.

  3. Adaptation: monitoring your use of time while performing activities, including adjusting to interruptions or changing priorities. 

One of the studies concluded that all three skills mattered equally to overall time management performance. 

That means improving only the arrangement part (using a scheduling app) ignores two-thirds of the competence needed to effectively manage time.

This might explain why it’s so disappointing to try a new tool and then feel like we’ve never really moved the needle toward being great overall time managers.

Awareness skills were the primary driver of how well people avoided procrastination and adaptation skills were the primary driver of how well they prioritized activities.

Here are our favorite tips from the article on how to improve your time management skills: 

1️⃣ Try timing-up. Record how long you’ve spent on tasks with very clear deadlines, rather than how much time you have left.

2️⃣ Find your peak performance time. Break your typical day into three to four time slots and, over the course of a week, rank-order these slots from your most to least productive (most productive is peak performance).

3️⃣ Take a “future time perspective.” Think about how the tasks you are doing right now will help or hurt you in the future (e.g., how does today’s project tasks impact next week’s tasks?).

4️⃣ Avoid the “mere urgency effect.” Urgency and importance are related but distinct concepts; urgent tasks require immediate action, whereas important tasks have more significant and long-term consequences. Tasks that are both urgent and important should be done first.

5️⃣ Use a calendar app. Record due dates for tasks and appointments — and do this immediately when they are planned or requested. 

6️⃣ Schedule protected time. Make calendar appointments with yourself to ensure uninterrupted time to dedicate to your most important projects. 

7️⃣ Seek to reduce time wasters. Create do-not-disturb time slots and block social media sites during critical work time.


Read the full article here


My Fixation on Time Management Almost Broke Me

“In 2019, I hit a wall. To the outside observer, my career was successful, my family was happy, and I seemed to be living the dream. 

What people didn’t know, however, was that I was struggling with chronic insomnia, malnourishment, a pinched nerve in my neck, and a wicked hormonal imbalance. I would later discover that, ironically, time management was to blame.

In this article, Abbie J. Shipp mentions that she’s been seeking out efficiencies and time hacks whenever possible. 

She minimized all steps for efficient cooking, ate the same breakfast and lunch every day of the week to save time. 

Being close to what sounds like a breakdown, she found a research paper on subjective and objective time: 

Objective time = focuses on the clock and calendar as a measure of time external to individuals. 

Subjective time = brings in the internal, personal experience of time. 


She learned that an obsession with managing objective time obscures three critical lessons from subjective time:

1️⃣ Objective time doesn’t exist without a subjective interpretation of it

Deadlines are an example of a subjective interpretation of objective time. 

We perceive deadlines as “real” but they are just socially constructed dates to plan and synchronize with others. 

Completing a task at the right time is arbitrary. You can actually move or even eliminate some deadlines without losing commitment to others.  

2️⃣ Subjective Events Are Equally as Important as Objective Hours

Time can be based on events rather than the clock or calendar. 

Often people see work as being laid out over a predetermined selection of timeslots like the first hour after getting into the office at 8 am, lunch-time, etc. 

A more engaging way to work is with the rhythm of events instead of by clock-time (e.g., starting work at 8 AM and stopping for lunch at noon). Working by event-time prioritizes the work over the schedule (e.g., starting work when ready and stopping when one needs a break)

Moving away from a fixed schedule of tasks eliminated the expectation to put in a certain number of hours of when I was working or not. I began to experience the satisfying feeling of closure before moving to the next task 

Read the full article here


Your Life in Weeks

This article by Tim Urban, author of the excellent blog Waitbutwhy, highlights how valuable time is.

If you look at your life from the perspective of weeks, life seems interestingly short. 

Pair that with a bunch of obligatory schooling in the first one-fourth of your life and you’re left with not that many weeks.


There are two ways of using your time:

  1. Enjoying it

  2. Building something to make your or others’ future weeks more enjoyable. 

If you’re doing neither, you are fulfilling no purpose. 

Of course, if your time is enjoyable but by enjoying it you’re screwing your future time (an Instant Gratification Monkey specialty), that’s not so good.

Likewise, if you’re using week after week to build something for your future, but it’s not making you happy and seems like a long-term thing with no end in sight, that’s not great either. 

Read the full article here



Oliver Burkeman’s last column: the eight secrets to a (fairly) fulfilled life

After a decade of writing a weekly column on life-changing advice, Oliver Burkeman shows us what he has learned

1️⃣ There will always be too much to do – and this realisation is liberating.

Thanks to capitalism, technology, and human ambition, there are always more things to do while your time capacity remains largely fixed. 

You are doomed if you think you can always get on top of everything. You can’t ever. The more tasks you complete, the more tasks you’ll receive. You need to get used to this fact, stop trying to do everything, and instead choose purposefully what to neglect in favor of what matters most. 


2️⃣ When stumped by a life choice, choose “enlargement” over happiness.

We’re terrible at predicting what will make us happy: the question swiftly gets bogged down in our narrow preferences for security and control. 

Instead of asking “will this make me happy?”, ask “Will this choice enlarge me or diminish me?”


3️⃣ The capacity to tolerate minor discomfort is a superpower.

It’s shocking to realise how readily we set aside even our greatest ambitions in life, merely to avoid easily tolerable levels of unpleasantness.

Initiating a difficult conversation with a colleague won’t kill you – but you can waste years in avoidance nonetheless.


4️⃣ The advice you don’t want to hear is usually the advice you need.

I found out I fixated on becoming hyper-productive while what actually I needed wasn’t another exciting productivity book, since those just functioned as enablers, but to ask more uncomfortable questions instead.

One good question to ask is what kind of practices strike you as intolerably cheesy or self-indulgent: gratitude journals, mindfulness meditation, seeing a therapist? That might mean they are worth pursuing.


Read the full article here





Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals
By: Oliver Burkeman

Drawing on the insights of both ancient and contemporary philosophers, psychologists, and spiritual teachers, Oliver Burkeman delivers an entertaining, humorous, practical, and ultimately profound guide to time and time management. 

Rejecting the futile modern fixation on “getting everything done,” Four Thousand Weeks introduces readers to tools for constructing a meaningful life by embracing finitude, showing how many of the unhelpful ways we’ve come to think about time aren’t inescapable, unchanging truths, but choices we’ve made as individuals and as a society—and that we could do things differently.

Get the book here


? 7 Days Until Launch of Next Digital MBA for Tech Leaders

The Digital MBA for Technology Leaders is our exciting new course which 60 tech leaders from around the world are already enjoying.

Next Monday 28th March 2022 we launch our 3rd cohort with tech leaders signed up from the US, UK, Germany, Australia, India, and South Africa.

With just 7 days before launch … get in touch if interested and/or you know someone who might benefit.

This is not just a course – it’s learning from the expertise and best practice of a global cohort and community of peers.

Visit the Digital MBA page for more information, where you can also book a discovery call with me to explore if it’s a good fit for you at this stage of your career.


Did you know:
If you sign up for CTO Academy, you get:


? 340+ Lectures on Leadership
? Access to our global slack community
?‍? Access to Live Group Sessions
? Regular Expert Webinars
… and much more

Sign Up Here


This Newsletter was written by Jeppe Strands and Andrew Weaver


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