Just read a great blog post at BusinessPundit.com called “Why I Gave Up Desserts to Become a Better Entrepreneur”.
Here’s a great excerpt:
For instance, I sit down to write a software spec. It should take me an hour. But first I check my email. Someone sent me an interesting link, so I visit the link. Then from there I start poking around the web. After 10 minutes, I realize I haven’t started on the spec, so I shut down my browser and start writing. Then someone IMs me. I reply. For the next 20 minutes, I write a sentence or two of the spec, then respond to IM, then write, then IM. I finally realize I’m being slow and I shut down instant messenger. Then I look at what I wrote and it doesn’t flow well. Of course it doesn’t, because every 60 seconds I was changing context. By now, I’m thirsty, so I go get something to drink. This keeps up for two hours, and at the end of it all I’m only halfway done with the spec. I spend 2 hours doing the same thing later that day. What should have taken one hour now ends up taking four altogether. I feel like I’ve worked hard. After all, I just spent 4 hours writing a spec.
This does a fabulous job of describing the problem we all know exists, but we seldom do anything about. The world is full of bright people. It’s time smart people realized that discipline is more important than IQ. There are just too many brilliant people out there to succeed on brains alone.
Time deceives. When Peter Drucker consulted with organizations, he often made executives keep a log of their time. When it was analyzed at the end of several weeks, they were usually shocked at how they really spent their time vs. how they thought they spent it.
I wonder how these executives (and how all knowledge workers) would change their lives if this sort of time management logging was easy and the data was always available? I guess I should drop Peter Drucker a note with a RescueTime invite!