New Product!

I have some good news about the MyTimeDesign group of products.

I have completes the creation of MyTimeDesign 1.0.Plus+ even as I make a radical change in delivery for MyTimeDesign 2.0.Professional.

As you may know from prior posts, I currently offer MyTimeDesign 1.0.Free to the public three times per year at absolutely no cost to the user.  It’s a do-it-yourself program that covers 7 lessons delivered either in weekly segments or all at once.  It is designed as the best introduction to the introductory ideas included in Time Management 2.0, and gives users a chance to assess and upgrade their approach to time management at their own pace, covering the 7 Essential Fundamentals.

Since developing 1.0.Free, I have made some major enhancements to all my programs, and have focused on putting them all in a follow-up program called MyTimeDesign 1.0.Plus+.  While these lessons cover the 4 Advanced Fundamentals, plus the very latest thinking and methods in changing one’s habits, it won’t be free, unfortunately.

It’s also be a do-it-yourself program, and you can find out more information about it by clicking here.

At the same time, I have decided to make a few changes to MyTimeDesign 2.0.Professional.  While the content won’t change, I am going to provide those who take it with a lot more direct coaching, in order to facilitate the speed of their habit changes.  With my help, participants will be able to take some tremendous shortcuts — the kind I use when coaching executives — and thereby save a lot of time by focusing on the critical elements of their approach to time management.

Everyone’s approach is different, so they’ll benefit from some help in honing in on the weak spots, and implementing changes that will yield the greatest overall benefit.

There will also be a price change… but that has hasn’t been finalized.  Currently I’m coaching a couple of partners from professional service firms using this approach, and I’m using the approach from MyTimeDesign 2.0.Professional to help them make some big changes.

It’s been an exciting journey so far, learning what’s needed and coming up with ways to provide it that are economical, and make sense.  If you have any feedback on the direction in which I’m headed, let me know!

Starting the Year Off with Time Management 2.0

I have decided to make some changes in 2011 to the way I offer the MyTimeDesign programs.

The biggest change is that I’m offering MyTimeDesign 1.0.Free to the public three times in 2011: now in January, and then again in May and September. These seem to be the natural starting times for making life changes… at the start of the year, summer and the new school year!

I’m also going to offer MyTimeDesign 2.0.Professional to those who have started or completed the free program, as it appears to me that they would gain the most from having me as their coach as they complete all their learning in Time Management 2.0.

If you’re interested in learning more about the program, I have a short video set up at the information page for MyTimeDesign 1.0.Free.

A New Kind of Quiz

If you’re interested in finding out about the kind of work that people do in the MyTimeDesign programs, take a few minutes to evaluate your skill at Capturing.

In a mere 13 questions you can use this new quiz to determine whether or not you have earned a White, Yellow, Orange or Green Belt in this essential practice.  It should take about 10 minutes to do the test, and I created some short videos to help you evaluate the results at the end of the exercise.

I’ll admit — I’m proud of it, as it’s the first attempt I’ve made to extract the self-assessment portion of my training programs so that they stand alone, and can be used by you to get some quick insights into your skills in this area, and how they can take them to the next level.

At the end of the quiz, you’ll get a good idea which skills you need to work on, if you’d like to take them up a level.

Simply click on the icon at the top right, or click here to be taken to the Quiz on Capturing.

At the moment, MyTimeDesign 1.0.Free will close for registration on Wed the 25th, so if you’d like to get a complete profile of all 11 fundamentals, act soon.

Webinar Recording and Questions

I have created a brand new Facebook page to help me answer the questions I couldn’t get to on the webinar last night (sorry about that guys!)  The technology just wasn’t cooperating at all, and I had to revert to a backup recording I made at the same time, in order to have something I could share.

After you listen to the clip, bring your questions over to my Questions page on Facebook.  You should be able to see it from outside Facebook by simply clicking here.  As you notice, I am now “The Time Management Guy!”

While this page will be advertised to the public eventually, I’m going to wait until we have gotten all the questions answered from the webinar.

Here is the recording of the webinar — just a warning, there were a couple of gaps when I realized that there was a problem with the connection. It’s an hour long.


After you’re done, remember to fill out the box on the right for early notification, and also to send me your questions to the Facebook page.

Tackling a Meaty Subject by Video

Somewhere in all the excitement of launching MyTimeDesign 1.0.Free and MyTimeDesign 2.0.Professional I carved out some time to address an issue that I has been growing in my mind — the “Weekly Review.”

It’s a simple idea.

Take some time out of the week to survey all the time demands that are in your time management system.  Shuffle the items around until you’re happy with them, and start the week off on the right foot.

However the problem is that the weekly review has turned into a burden for many people, and a tedium that they find themselves shying away from given the smallest  excuse.

The problem isn’t their attitude, or lack of discipline as some would posit.  Instead, it lies in the way they do their “listing” and their “scheduling.”  Strange huh?

Well, it’s  a meaty subject that is well worth the effort to understand because the result is that if you take my recommendations to heart, you’ll want to start to upgrade the way you manage your schedule.

Follow this link to be taken to “Fixing the Weekly Review Permanently.”

P.S. Remember that I’m closing the doors to the store on Thursday, February the 12th at mid-day.  In the meantime, stay tuned to hear about the bonuses I’m putting in for those who register before then.

Come Take the Classroom Tour

OK, I am a bit excited about this!

I am almost at the end of pulling together the MyTimeDesign 2.0.Professional classroom.

It was custom made by my team, and is intended for one thing only:  to make it easy for participants to upgrade their habits during the course of the program.

The key word is DURING the program… and I offer a variety of options to help participants devise their own habit support structure.  But here… take a look.

What do you think?  (The video is just short of 10 minutes long.)

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Recent Questions About MyTimeDesign

(updated on Oct 16th)

Here are a few of the questions I have been getting about MyTimeDesign, based on the information I have shared so far with the general public:

How Does MyTimeDesign Compare to Other Time Management Approaches?

I once explored a time management system that insisted that each person who followed it needed to “discipline themselves” into adhering to its precisely prescribed habits.

Needless to say, it only worked for a handful of people… the few who were lucky enough goosestep _44499698_highlegs_getty203bto have habits that happened to line up with those described in the program.

For the vast majority, however, it failed to work for them.

I can’t imagine what the creators were thinking.  Did they really believe that all people in all countries, regardless of age, culture and background would end up marching to the same tune, and using the exact same personal habits, practices and rituals?

Instead, people “do that thing they do” when, in their thousands, they sit in time management classes, read books or scour the internet for tips.  That is, THEY DO THEIR OWN THING!

In the case of time management systems, one size definitely does not fit all.

They ignore the advice of the gurus (who tell them to “march harder”) and instead they  devise their own time systems, using a bit from here and a bit from there.

ARE THEY CRAZY???  (Obviously, they’re not supposed to do that…)  Some gurus tell them they are doomed to failure.

I got pissed at this, and started creating MyTimeDesign as a result.

Instead of trying to change people’s character, I have assumed that we are all different, and require different solutions.  Trying to get us all to march together in the same way won’t work.

MyTimeDesign is built on the idea that each working professional can follow guidelines instead of prescriptions, and end up with a unique time management that works for them.

(There are some who disagree, however, that this is possible.)

But it’s a little like the approach used by a good art school.  They don’t tell you how to be an artist, but instead they teach the fundamentals and allow each person’s creativity to flourish from there.

MyTimeDesign is about teaching each student the fundamentals of managing their time at ALL levels of skill, and allowing them to upgrade or craft  their time management system in a way that makes sense to their goals, personality and culture.

It’s the very opposite of one-size-fits-all.  And it’s not like marching in goose-step at all.

How Does the 1.0.Free Version Compare with the 2.0.Pro Version?

MyTimeDesign 1_jpg

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I answered this question at a high level in two prior posts: What Will it Look Like? (part 1) and What It Is (part 2.)

Here are some more details, however in the form of a side-by-side comparison.  You may recall that I offered MyTimeDesign 1.0.Free back in August and, as the name implies, it was free.

MTD_Free_vs_Pro

The MAIN difference is in the support, and in the role that I play.

In the Free version, participants learn on their own steam — “it’s the do it yourself version.”  They receive no direct coaching, and they gain access to some of the core ideas of the MyTimeDesign programs via a series of emails that direct them to each lesson.

Success in completing the 6 week program requires a certain amount of self-discipline as no-one will be monitoring student progress on an individual level.

In the Professional version, participants receive direct coaching, some of it individual, in building their own habit support structure.  There are  regular events of different kinds that include myself and other students — in fact, I’ll be working on my own upgrade alongside the participants in the first cohort or group.  I’ll personally help students to make it through all 16 Lessons, as I join in the fun.

Participants retain access to the content for a full 30 weeks.

The Professional environment provides for a great deal of sharing of successes, insights, issues, challenges and breakthroughs.

Oh, and by the way…  there will be an application required for those interested in MyTimeDesign 2.0.Professional.

Will MyTimeDesign 2.0.Professional be Practical or Philosophical?

A regular reader of my 2Time blog would know that I spend a lot of time on the philosophy of time management – trying to fix the underlying assumptions that seem to be so confused.  For that reason, I call it a “research” blog.

However, 2.0.Professional is designed to make habit change easy, and to make it happen as quickly as possible while the course is in session.  The reason it stretches over 16 weeks in time is to give participants a chance to tinker with their habits in order to see real changes happen.

This is hands-on work.  I honestly don’t care if people agree with the ideas or not… the classroom environment is designed to help people make sustained changes in their habits, and that for me is the only sign of success.

Anyone who likes philosophy should either stick to reading the blog or take the Free version.  The hands-on nature of the Professional version will probably become uncomfortable for those who are just shopping around for some interesting tips or cool ideas.

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What Will These Programs Look Like?

iStock_000000385270XSmallOne of the questions I struggled with was how to break MyTimeDesign into manageable product offerings that would have the impact that I wanted, while enabling it to continue.

While I love blogging at the 2Time blog, one thing that I learned from the classroom and online programs is that it’s possible to learn a LOT more from focused training than from reading 400 posts.

But I also learned that most people required specialized support to be successful in changing habits permanently.

As I was trying to figure out what to do, I downloaded a free audio-book entitled “Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson.”  I listened to it over and over again, mulling over its potent message.

To cut a long story short, I decided to create a 6 week version of MyTimeDesign that I could offer for free.

Essentially, it’s a portion of the same content that I offered in MyTimeDesign 1.0 early in 2008.  Back then I sold it for US$99, and it included audios, videos and text, covering the first 7 fundamentals of time management.

Plus, it gave access to an online forum, where users could support each other in upgrading their time management systems.

How can I afford to offer this program for free?

Well, in Chris’ book I heard that line repeated – “information wants to be free.”  I also realized that the actual habits that are recommended in MyTimeDesign are not ground-breaking… they are repeated all over the internet in tons of lists of  “10 zillion Time Management Tips” that can be found with a simple Google search.

It told me that the key information (in the form of tips blogs, ebooks, audios and videos) was already free and more or less already saying the same things.  (An online survey I recently did confirmed this finding.)

What I am offering in the MyTimeDesign programs is something different — a way to use these 10 zillion tips tips without getting lost.

In other words, MyTimeDesign offers an upgrade path… a way for you to to get from where you are today, to a destination that you set for yourself.  You define where your upgrade will take you, based on the information in the program.

Rather than offering you the “perfect set of habits,” MyTimeDesign is provides intelligent assistance to effect an upgrade.

I imagined that there are 3 groups of people who might be interested:

Group #1

I imagined that for those people who are super-highly self-disciplined, just finding out that there is an upgrade path would be enough.  They would implement it themselves.  Before last year, I think I would have put myself in this group. Now…I don’t,  and  I can only admire them from afar!

Group #2

I also imagined that those people who are completely new to time management (what MyTimeDesign calls “Level 1 White Belts”) would be blown away by the idea that they already have a system, and that it can be upgraded whenever they want with the right approach.  They would move up a notch by simply obtaining a new level of awareness.

Group #3

Lastly, I perceived that there was a big group in the middle.  They would benefit the most from having a supportive environment that’s required to make major habit changes over time in order to upgrade their time management systems.  They are the ones who would end up making the biggest changes, and undergo the most profound transformations as they undertook the right changes at the right time, rather than trying to wade through 10 zillions tips, or implement a whole new system from scratch.

All this thinking led me to the following decisions:

  • Offer MyTimeDesign 1.0.Free to the public at no cost and gear it towards the needs of people in Groups #1 and #2.
  • Invent MyTimeDesign 2.o.Professional at a price, and gear it to the needs of people in Group #3.

My hope is that enough people will decide to upgrade MyTimeDesign 1.0.Free to MyTimeDesign 2.o.Professional to make the entire effort a profitable one that is sustainable.  As a result, “Free” will be ad-supported.

In other words, I want to have a business that produces enough valuable results for the customer that enables the thinking I have started to continue that pulls from the best of the research that exists.

What would be different enough about MyTimeDesign 2.0.Professional that would make anyone interested in it? Tune into my next post…

Why Bother?

Handwritten Cookie RecipeNow and then I ask myself the very same question.

Why?

Why bother?

Why bother to offer a new approach to time management?

There are many approaches out there, and it’s not as if they are doing an awful job for those who use them.  Some of the time management systems that I have heard about are:

  • Getting Things Done (GTD®)
  • Covey’s 7 Habits
  • Do It Tomorrow
  • The Mission Control Productivity System
  • Zen to Done
  • GTD Lite
  • The Pomodoro Technique
  • Waking Up Productive
  • The Now Habit
  • Take Back Your Life
  • Getting Organized
  • Time of Your Life
  • TRO
  • The Personal Efficiency Program

… and many, many others.

There are also a growing number of productivity blogs and websites that offer thousands of tips that are all intended to help you improve your time management skills.

There is simply no shortage of ideas.

So…. why?  Why bother?

What really got me thinking was my own experience. While all these systems were good in some areas, there was none that was perfect, and they certainly didn’t encourage their users to experiment with a bunch of different approaches before making a system of their own (sometimes called a “mash-up.”)

In other words, they were closed, rather than open systems. Kinda like Microsoft and Apple vs. anything Open-Source.

The problem was that you and I were probably treating our systems as if they were open-source — building our own individual “mash-ups” by taking a little bit from here and there to craft something that worked for us, but probably wouldn’t work for anyone else.

I wouldn’t recommend, for example, that anyone take my personal time management system and use it for themselves. Today, in October 2010, it’s heavily influenced by my living in Kingston, Jamaica.

If you don’t live in Kingston, Jamaica then you shouldn’t think about copying what I do!!!!

Instead…. you should keep on doing what you’re doing… your own thing… forever… and never let it become named or labeled by anyone else.

I’m passionate about every professional taking control of their current time management skills and working them into a system that fits their lifestyle, regardless of where the original ideas may have come from.

Maybe you’re like me in this respect and just something that isn’t based on blatant lies, and at the end of the day…. works.

After blogging about this topic for four years in over 500 posts,and delivered ideas to thousands of people in live and online programs, receiving lots of feedback in the process,  I have learned a thing of two about what I call “Time Management 2.0.”  Here the things that people have told me that they want:

Want #1Respect
I learned that everyone has a time management system… something they are currently using. It might not be written down anywhere, it might not have a name and they might hesitate to call it a “system” but I have realized that the habits, practices and rituals they use each day do, indeed, accomplish results.

Whatever system you are using deserves some respect for doing its job of bringing you successfully to this moment in time.

I made a mistake early on by not realizing that everyone has a system when I focused on helping them to create their own – as if their current system didn’t exist.  Luckily I got some feedback to say that I needed to understand where most people are, and that helped me to relax as it’s helped me be much more effective as a coach.

Want #2:  Successful, Natural Upgrades

Most people who attempt to implement a new time management system fail.   The reason is simple:   none of them starts with what they know and builds on what they are currently using.

They assume that people just need to know the destination — the new set of habits described in the new system — and can simply ignore the habits, practices and rituals they have now.

When people try to implement entirely new systems all at once, they end up having a tough time, because they try to overlay a whole new system of habits on top of their own.

Guess what happens?

They try to change too many habits all at once, and end up reverting to their former system at the first sign of trouble.

While the change-it-all-at-once approach might work for some, for most it’s a disaster.  A much better idea is to upgrade slowly, or only as quickly as one’s current habit patterns can be effectively and permanently changed.

In productivity programs I taught several years ago I didn’t realize this fact, and saw many well-intentioned people who loved the ideas flounder in trying to do too much too quickly.

Want #3:  Acceptance

At first, when I created a way to help people improve their skills using a belt system, I thought that everyone would be interested in becoming what I called a Black Belt in time management.  I came up with a detailed pathway to get there by upgrading 11 fundamental skills, one at a time.

Somewhere along the way I realized that my mother (who is 70) has no need for a Black Belt in time management.  She just had her hip replaced, and at this stage in her  life she isn’t looking for the kind of skills that a Black Belt employs.

I also met a smart guy at a University here in Jamaica who stopped Karate after getting his Brown Belt at age 11.  He moved to a different city, and had no further opportunity to improve his skills… and he told me that he was happy with what he had accomplished, and had no need to go any further at this time.

Not everyone needs to improve their time management system — it all depends on whether or not what they have is giving them the peace of mind they want in their life right now.

Of course, I didn’t realize any of this when I started my blog.  It’s been one discovery after another!

Want #4:  After-Learning Support

I was so disappointed.  After my live 2 day NewHabits workshops conducted here in the Caribbean were over, some students were reverting to their old habits, just as they did after any other time management program.

I dug a LOT deeper and started to learn a lot about the reasons why people change habits or don’t change habits, even when their motivation is as high as it can be.  I started working on my own habits, using a simple list of habits that I checked off each day.

After a year of tracking my habits I can tell you — habits are HARD to change.  New ones are hard to learn. Old ones are hard to break.

Without help it’s difficult.

The help may take many forms, and the challenge is that people require different systems of support.  For example I may like to work in a virtual team, but you may prefer automated reminders and a live coach.

Creating an optimal, individual set of supports is critical to success.  I offered a handful of supports in early programs, but I learned that only a few students found it useful.  I gave up when I realized that I couldn’t design the perfect support system for each person — it had to be designed by them according to their needs, and what they needed was some help in putting it together.

So here’s “Why…”

Why MyTimeDesign 2.0.Professional?

It’s all about satisfying the need that you and other working professionals have to possess time management skills that meet your goals, regardless of what they are.

Some want to implement  new practices that help them take their system to the next level.

Some want to gain an understanding of the time management system they currently use, so that they can discover how it really works for the first time.  (Many don’t know that their current skills actually do make up a system.)

Some are going through a change in their lives (job, relationships, money, family) in which they need new skills to cope with new demands.

Some don’t want to change anything at all.

Any of these frames of mind are cool — my intention is to find ways to empower you and other people wherever you are at any moment in time.

I don’t want to replace the already existing commercial systems that exist in books programs and websites.

Instead, I want to do something different.  Instead of handing out interesting recipes… I want to teach you how to cook.

Once you know how to cook, you can pick up any recipe you want (or two, or three) and create a hell of an individual recipe that works for you.

A mash-up.  But I can’t help you with your cooking.

I can help you to realize a time management mash-up or system, that is your signature tool for leading a successful life.  When you do that, I’ll know I’ve been successful, and it’s the reason that I’m developing MyTimeDesign 2.0.

And it’s also why I love this quote from The Tao by Lao Tzu:

Go to the people

Learn from them

Love them

Start with what they know

Build on what they have

But of the best teachers

When their work is done

Their task is accomplished

The people will remark

We have done it ourselves.

P.S. As you read this blog, I’d love to hear what else you might want that I haven’t addressed (apart from “instant magical solutions that require no work whatsoever”… I’m all out of those!)

P.P.S. Some readers have been bugging me about hearing details quickly.  If you’d like to get on the Early Notification list (the one that will get _all_ the advanced information about the program and the early bird discounts) then add your name to the list at the “Early” page by clicking here.