A billboard in my neighborhood sparked the recent round of thoughts. It’s for a time-tracking application. The tagline is “Where did time go?”.
The billboard is colorful and playful. It appears to be aimed at Millennials.
I feel sad when I see it.
Are we training a new generation to be assembly line workers? That’s what I equate time tracking to.
How many tasks can we complete in a given time period? This measures time-based productivity. Increasing the number of tasks we can complete in a given time period is the goal of optimizing time.
Henry Ford pioneered this approach. Society embraced it. The Dream
I used to buy into this definition of productivity. I listened to the 10+ CD (yes, CD!) version of Getting Things Done while commuting during my life as a “management consultant”.
I tracked time in 6-minute increments as a law firm consultant. It’s then I discovered how time tracking -
- Misaligned incentives in a client/consultant relationship
- Was to my health (therapy helped me figure this one out!)
It’s then I discovered how much more powerful optimizing attention is. Optimizing attention optimizes -
- Where we place our attention, i.e. priority setting
- How much attention we place on each priority
Making this shift helps me feel a lot happier in my work. I’ll discuss this more next week.
How about you? Do you optimize your time or attention?
Let me know by replying directly to this email.
Catch you next week, with my gratitude,