Time Management Is Key To Getting Work Done With distractions constantly popping up in the workplace — from emails to telephone calls — it seems hard to get any work done. Also interfering with getting work done is trying to multi-task and memory. Renee Montagne talks to Financial Times columnist Lucy Kellaway about time management — or the lack there of — in her life and in the lives of workers everywhere.
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Time Management Is Key To Getting Work Done

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Time Management Is Key To Getting Work Done

Time Management Is Key To Getting Work Done

Time Management Is Key To Getting Work Done

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With distractions constantly popping up in the workplace — from emails to telephone calls — it seems hard to get any work done. Also interfering with getting work done is trying to multi-task and memory. Renee Montagne talks to Financial Times columnist Lucy Kellaway about time management — or the lack there of — in her life and in the lives of workers everywhere.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Glad to have you back.

LUCY KELLAWAY: Hello.

MONTAGNE: Time management. And, Lucy, what exactly prompted you to pay attention to this, oh, so common problem?

KELLAWAY: That was all quite bad. But when I got at the end of the day, I realized that I had forgotten to do any work. I felt I was working really hard. But by the end of the day, I thought, goodness, I hadn't really written my article. So I did it in a mad dash. The upshot was I thought there has got to be a better way.

MONTAGNE: And would the article have been, by any chance, about forgetting?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

KELLAWAY: Indeed, it was about forgetting. And actually, I had just read a couple of books that claimed to give the answer to all of this. So I was giving the - I gave them a bit of a dry run. The first one was about writing checklists, and this being the great answer; a book by Atul Gawande, who argues that all sorts of big problems in life are solved by checklists.

ER: When the train pulls into your station, get off. So it seems that that really isn't the answer for me.

MONTAGNE: (Unintelligible) but, Lucy, but, of course, you could make that list. The question is, would you make that list?

KELLAWAY: Well, no. I mean, I've got some self-respect. So the idea that I have to treat myself as a sub-moron and write a list like that makes me too depressed to pick up my pen, frankly.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MONTAGNE: Well, okay. So this didn't work for you. How else did you try coping with the distractions in our modern life that we have to cope with?

KELLAWAY: So, I just decided, right, I am not going to check my email for an hour. And I did make it. But if you're as addicted as I am, there's so much will power involved in not checking your email. I'm not sure how much ahead I came out at the end of that particular hour.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MONTAGNE: So, what did you do that worked?

KELLAWAY: Although, my brain, even though I'd like to forget a whole lot of things, they're all in there anyway. I mean, any number of sort of stupid pop song lyrics of songs I don't even like seem to be using up space there and I'd like to get rid of them. I don't know how, unfortunately.

MONTAGNE: Well, given all of this, have you improved?

KELLAWAY: Renee, I'd love to be able to say, yes, I'm a new woman. I am making some progress. I'm not worrying about forgetting things. That in itself makes it better. And I'm also drawing comfort from people who are worse than me. My husband went to visit his family the other day and he opened the fridge and there was a copy of the evening newspaper folded neatly inside. I find that deeply comforting because I haven't quite got there yet.

MONTAGNE: Thanks very much.

KELLAWAY: It was a pleasure.

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