Learn the Art of Transition

I suck at time-management. There are no if, ands, or buts about it. I have the best intention of arriving on time for whatever the scenario, and oftentimes I have plenty of time to prepare and leave, but still I end up being late  more often than not. Much of my time-management issue is with stopping whatever task I’m working on, or rather “transitioning” from one task to the next.

Fortunately, today I came across Martha Beck’s transition philosophy as I was sifting through my one-hour workouts triathlon book. This particular transition advice is not about the kind that of transitions that happen during triathlon races, but rather, the kind of transitions that many of us time-challenged people need help with.

The Art of the Dismount

  • Accept Transition Trauma: Beck is basically saying that as hard as it is to stop the task you’re working on and move on to the next task, just do it. The feeling only “hurts” for a few seconds.For me, this step is the hardest because I’m a person that likes to work on something until it’s done. If I’m working on a website project and it takes 10 hours, I would work on it from start to finish for 10 hours if I could. That’s an extreme example, but my point is that I find it hard to stop working on something once I get in the zone.
  • Plan Your Dismount Backward: Instead of making hopeful time projections for when you need to arrive somewhere, plan your schedule backwards and account for time delays, interruptions, etc.
  • Say Goodbye Before You Say Hello: I sometimes have a hard time making my exit at social events, and end up staying longer than desired. Beck suggests that you have an exit “script” rehearsed and ready before you arrive at the event.
  • Set Up Redundant Reminders: Set lots of “Stop” reminders! Beck sets an alarm to go off 15 minutes before she needs to stop doing something. She also suggests getting backup support from your human counterparts to supplement your mechanical reminders.
  • Give the Dismount Half the Energy: The point that Beck makes for this area of advice is to focus on ending your task well. Don’t start a new task or idea if you know that you only have 5 more minutes left before you switch a task.  “Wrapping up an event and getting comfortable closure requires about 50 percent of the time and energy you’ll put into any given project, from a chat to a championship.” In other words, finish strong!

Read the full article here: http://marthabeck.com/2013/06/how-to-deal-with-transitions/