The first time I read “Getting Things Done” by David Allen, I was just out of college and starting in my first job. I remember getting all my manila file folders in order, buying a Brother labeler, and looking forward to how productive I would be with my new system.
Yeah, that didn’t work out so well. 🙂
So I’m giving it another try. I’ve started reading the book again on my Kindle in an effort to get the “mind like water” that Allen talks about. I’d really like to figure out what time management system works for me. While I’m primarily a digital native that shuns the mess paper often creates, I find I also like to scribble down jots of ideas or quick to dos on my Moleskine when I’m on the move. It should be an interesting journey.
Time management is also a difficult task for communications professionals and knowledge workers in general. How does one balance creativity with organization and attention to detail? It’s no easy feat, but one I’m determined to tackle in earnest over the next month. I’ll document my progress here, but in the meantime, I’d like to hear about your preferred time management strategies. I feel like it’s not really a topic that’s addressed by PR professionals in the blogosphere.
So what’s your personal organization method of choice? GTD? Franklin Covey? Please do share your wisdom for the rest of us still trying to figure it out!
I had dinner with one of my favorite mentors last night (Nicole Rodrigues of Voce Communications), and it reminded me of how essential it is to have mentors guiding your professional life, no matter what industry you work in.
I can’t tell you how inspiring it is to hear from someone older, wiser, and more experienced than me. All of our dinner conversations over the years have given me invaluable guidance about planning for the career path that will bring me to my goals and dreams.
I have so many mentors it might seem ridiculous to some – about 10 total – but in my mind, you can never have too many. Especially when mentors can come to you from so many different areas of your life: Your parents, significant others, close friends, colleagues present and former, teachers and professors…the list continues on.
The important thing is to make sure you always have someone you trust that can be an advisor, sounding board, and all-around rock as you navigate through the treacherous waters of life.
In particular, one piece of advice Nicole gave me last night really resonated with me: Think of every step of your career as a stepping stone toward your ultimate goal.
Your first priority is to figure out where you ultimately want to end up, and every decision you make in your career should support that vision. A lot of times it’s easy to get mired in the day-to-day grind, and before you know it, months and then years go by in the blink of an eye. How do you know you’ll be where you want to be? The only way is to consistently evaluate your life and career goals and make sure you’re staying on track.
Getting a mentor is step one. Good mentors will give you candid and honest advice and look out for your best interest whether you’re going through a rough patch or celebrating your successes.
Need a mentor and don’t know where to start? There are a lot of resources out there, but here are a few of my faves:
- My favorite career expert maven, Penelope Trunk, on mentoring
- My friend (and oftentimes mentor) Larry Chiang’s article on mentorship
- Inc Magazine’s guide to Finding a Mentor
- “The Value of a Mentor” by Katharine Hansen
- About.com: Choosing a Business Mentor (and Getting Them to Choose You)
I’m also a big believer in paying-it-forward, so I try to be a good mentor to my friends and colleagues as well. I want to be just as open and available to others as my mentors are to me, especially because the newcomers of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Building those relationships early will always come back to you with positive karma.