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Tuesday, November 29, 2005 

This is So Inspiring... So Depressing
Topic: Getting to Done

When you read something like this, how do you handle it?

When going to college many years ago, I decided to challenge myself by setting a goal to see if I could graduate in only three semesters, taking the same classes that people would normally take over a four-year period. This article explains in detail all the time management techniques I used to successfully pull this off. I accomplished my goal by graduating with two Bachelor of Science degrees (computer science and mathematics) in just three semesters without attending summer school. I slept seven to eight hours a night, took care of my routine chores (shopping, cooking, etc), had a social life, and exercised for 30 minutes every morning. In my final semester, I even held a full time job (40 hours a week) as a game programmer and served as the Vice Chair of the local Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) chapter while taking 37 units of mostly senior-level computer science and math courses. I graduated with a 3.9 GPA and also received a special award given to the top computer science student each year.


Isn't that amazing? I'd want to say that this is simply ridiculous and impossible, yet I am so drawn to be able to do this. I often am reminded of all that Spurgeon saw accomplished in his own life. Granted, a good deal of that was regards to the Holy Spirit and God's gracious favor over his ministry. Many, it seems, labor equally as hard as the Prince of Preachers, but for whatever reason God does not grant the growth. But as far as day in/day out tasks, I'd love to be as proficient as this guy.

He lists a few key concepts to practice:
  • Clarity is key. Set clear, concise goals, and stick to them.
  • Be flexible. Your goals are indestructable, but how you arrive is always in flux.
  • Use single handling. Focus in on one aspect and complete that first, before moving on.
  • Failure is your friend. Treat them as learning opportunities, and keep re-evaluating.
  • Do it now. Don't put off decisions, delay, or show other signs of weakness; get 'er done.
  • Triage ruthlessly. Throw things away... often. Constantly re-evaluate, and ditch hindrances.
  • Identify and recover wasted time. Fairly self-explanatory.
  • The Pareto Principle. 20% of a task's effort accounts for 80% of the value; 80% of a task only yields 20% of the value of that task.
  • Guard thy time. Set aside blocks of time (preferably 90 minutes at a minimum) to accomplish tasks.
  • Work all the time you work. Conversely, don't semi-work while you're resting/relaxing.
  • Multitask.
  • Experiment.
  • Cultivate your enthusiasm.
  • Eat and exercise for optimum energy.
  • Maintain balance.


So, a lot to keep in mind. As I read, I feel there are some things in life that do not apply to this, where quality matters more than efficiency. However, is it possible to be as ruthless and jealous of quality? Perhaps, but then I think it looks differently. I especially think triage needs to look differently in different situations. Of course, I'm not the one with two B.S. and his own business.

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Transplanted from the artic blight of Minnesota to the sunny paradise of SoCal, I am attending school and learning to say "dude." I like to think of myself as equal parts surf rash, Batman, heavy metal, Levinas, poetic license, and reformational. Other than creating blund blogs, I enjoy reading, sporting, and socializing with serious and funny people.
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