Not ‘I must do this sometime,’ but ‘I must do this Monday at 3:30’

by on December 16, 2011 · 2 Comments POSTED IN: HR Cafe
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Want to help your people actually do the things they intend to do? Want some help yourself?

Try this technique from leadership and personal development guru Peter Bergman: Once you’ve decided what you want to do, tell yourself when and where you’re going to do it.

Sounds too simple. But there’s solid behavioral research behind it. In one study, a group of women agreed to do a breast self-examination within 30 days. Fully 100% of those who decided when and where they’d do the exam actually did so. Only 54% of the others did.

One-time or repeat
The when/where technique works for single actions or repetitive tasks.

Push yourself to write that one-time report (Monday at 3:30, in the conference room), or get into a virtuous routine (look over the previous day’s production figures every morning at 8:15, in your office, before checking e-mail).

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2 Comments on This Post

  1. December 16, 2011 - 9:25 pm

    Although this theory is contrary to GTD and other modern management principles. You’ve essentially filled up your calendar of work with imaginary due dates; due dates that could compete with *real* due dates. 

    If you fill up your Monday with arbitrary events at randome times, what happens if you miss that one phone call that was very important at 2pm? Did the 80% end up interfering with the 20% that matters in this scenario? Do you then begin to ignore your due dates, as they cry wolf most of the times, and let your valuable information slide?So, in the GTD sense, you don’t set due dates/times unless they are really due at that appropriate time. You keep note of the work that needs to be done sometime, and review that pile of things to do either daily or weekly, etc. 

    Either way, interesting, but just noting that it is contrary to GTD, mind mapping, and the 4 hour work week as well as in between. 

  2. December 16, 2011 - 9:25 pm

    Although this theory is contrary to GTD and other modern management principles. You’ve essentially filled up your calendar of work with imaginary due dates; due dates that could compete with *real* due dates. 

    If you fill up your Monday with arbitrary events at randome times, what happens if you miss that one phone call that was very important at 2pm? Did the 80% end up interfering with the 20% that matters in this scenario? Do you then begin to ignore your due dates, as they cry wolf most of the times, and let your valuable information slide?So, in the GTD sense, you don’t set due dates/times unless they are really due at that appropriate time. You keep note of the work that needs to be done sometime, and review that pile of things to do either daily or weekly, etc. 

    Either way, interesting, but just noting that it is contrary to GTD, mind mapping, and the 4 hour work week as well as in between. 

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