Thursday, December 21, 2006


So I've mentioned that I'm going to start an EMBA in the new year (I have just 4 weeks of 'freedom') left and have been working on ideas and approaches to get me through. Obvious thoughts are:

1) I am part of a study group (6 others plus myself) spread across parts of Asia and appear to be 'The IT Person' in the group. There is, therefore, some onus on me to propose the use of tools. What I'm thinking we need are:
  • An instant messaging solution of some sort which facilitates team communications (for my sins I use MSN messenger for friends/family but with 7 people talking at once, questions posted by one person will disappear off the screen and it will be pretty ugly trying to follow the threads).
  • Web-based collaborative tools to facilitate study and sharing
  • Repository
  • Other tools that I haven't really thought through yet (an example might be a bibliography manager but I think it's too early to tell).
None of the tools I currently use seem to fit the bill for these so there's a fair amount of work to be done to evaluate, test, propose and implement some of these tools.
2) I'm trying to organise myself better for the upcoming 'second job' that I will have to do and am working with David Allen's "Getting Things Done" to try to improve my ability to capture everything that's going on around me. P is on a similar path and has me intrigued with tiddlywikis as a means to capture everything.

The idea of capturing 'everything' that I have outstanding is extremely appealing. I do suffer from the 'ooh' realisation that I've forgotten something and just remembered it (sometimes in time, sometimes not) all too often. It sounds like a very cathartic process!

3) I do of course need to find the time to do all of these things. So, some sacrifices are called for. Things in scope for sacrifice are:
  • TV - I don't know why I bother some times. These days I mostly watch DVDs of TV shows but even ones I enjoy (for example CSI, Alias, Stargate SG-1) aren't exactly a good use of my time.
  • Blogging - clearly going to take a bit of a back seat
  • Browsing the web - slightly at odds with 1) but a 'quick look for something specific can easily turn down a myriad of side roads (as the 23 open tabs in Firefox would indicate)
  • Chinese Lessons - still debating this one - I spend 3 hours a week doing this and I find it interesting and rewarding but it can probably wait for 14 months
  • Working from home - I don't mean in the 9-5 sense, I mean the fact that I will all-too-often combine TV and 'keeping on top of my email' in the evening. Doubly so because I'm in China working for a UK company so all my UK colleagues start work at 5pm my time.
Things out of scope are:
  • Family - YY and Frankie - obviously
  • Exercise - I've simply worked too hard this year to let it all go
  • Sleep
  • Listening to Podcasts - OK, at the moment this is typically restricted to time whilst I'm cycling but it is all useful stuff, mainly Radio4, the excellent Manager Tools, and other factual casts.
This is going to take a fair amount of discipline to break out of old habits, but probably what I need to be more effective.

Any of my readers with any suggestions/contributions to how to achieve any or all of the above are most welcome.

1 comment:

Ben Seeberger said...

TV stinks, in the sense that it is so readily available here (Tianjin), and so cheap... I waste more time watching dumb TV shows in the evening, when I should be doing other things. I understand what you mean not understanding why you bother. And yet, we/I do...