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Time Management and Surprise: When You Want It & When You Don't

F019586.fullI love the idea of surprise and delight (fill in the 2x2, anyone?), an expression I first heard about in the hospitality industry via an interesting client. I wrote about the former it in One way to enjoy the ride - celebrate surprise!, and I've been thinking about when it might be welcome in time management.

Productive Surprises

  • Gestating ideas that show up when you need them. (Result of a solid capture/review habit.)

  • Ideas, solutions, or insights that pop up unbidden. (Result of a freed-up brain?)

  • A welcome interruption that you decide to take. (Made possible by being able to quickly change gears and return with minimum loss of state.)

  • A ticker file item that you forgot was in there.

  • Honest praise from someone who knows your work.

Unproductive Surprises

  • Arrive to a meeting without needed support materials. (Solution: Keep a project folder for each project, and remember to grab it before taking off. Put a reminder in your calendar appointment if necessary.)

  • Forgot an appointment. (Solution: Solidify your calendar use.)

  • Didn't plan for the unexpected - traffic problems or contingencies, say. (Solution: Start the project with planning - creating an outline is always my first task.)

I'm curious: What surprises have you experienced in managing your work? Any suggestions?

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