What we learned from the new Time Management Fundamentals course

Published by | Friday, April 1st, 2011
Taymar Pixley, lynda.com live action director

Taymar Pixley, lynda.com live action director, shares her team's experiences after working on our new time management course.

Time management is something that I have always struggled with personally, so I was a little nervous about directing the course Time Management Fundamentals, which released to the lynda.com Online Training Library® this week. I imagined that the author, productivity expert Dave Crenshaw, would be a highly organized, type-A personality who might look down on my less-organized self.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Dave is a very down-to-earth, approachable person. He has had his own struggles with staying organized, and these led to his success in creating such an effective system and teaching it to others who struggle with the same problems.

What a relief it was for me to realize that Dave wasn’t a naturally organized perfectionist teaching principles that would never work for someone like me. Because Dave is a renowned author, presenter, and consultant on the topic, I took every opportunity to glean as much information as I could from him while we worked together to create this course. And since I figured everyone on the crew would probably also benefit from Dave’s expertise, I asked Dave to assign us a bit of homework each day of the two-week shoot based on the movies we had shot that day. We learned a lot, and I asked the crew to share some of their favorite tips they picked up while working on this course.

The team’s tips

Loren Hillebrand, production lead Loren Hillebrand, production lead
“Organizing always seemed overwhelming to me because I wouldn’t know where to start.  While working on this I was able to see what steps I could take, and it feels doable now.  My wife and I are planning on watching this together to tackle some of our clutter.”

Josh Figatner, production lead Josh Figatner, production lead
“What I learned from working on this course helped me to organize my email inbox, which was no small feat. I had over 4,000 unsorted emails. Now my inbox is one of my main gathering points. When things come in I’m able to get to them quickly, instead of it just functioning as a big generic bin for all of my messages, it’s all sorted. Stuff comes in and I’m able to see it and take care of it in a timely fashion.”

Jeff Layton, training producer
“One action item I took while working on this course was to consolidate my voicemail accounts. As a producer, I often returned to my desk after a stretch of days in the recording booth and found that I had new messages awaiting my response. After working on this course, I programmed my desk phone to automatically forward all calls to my cell phone. Not only do I not miss any calls, but I now have only one voicemail account to check.”

Kirk Werner, senior training producer
“After working with Dave and the rest of the team during our course prep, I set up a consolidated email inbox where my desk phone calls are forwarded as an audio file to my work email. I also built more than a dozen email rules where non-essential emails are shuffled to a folder to be dealt with during my daily email processing. Now I can focus on the important messages and deal with them appropriately.”

My favorite tip from Dave is something that is not in the course, but that he mentioned to me in conversation. Since Dave works at home, he schedules a half an hour at the end of his work day to play video games. This allows him to switch gears so that he can be really present for his wife and children. I think that this is a great tip for anyone who works at home or who has trouble turning their brain off after a long work day.

Swtiching gears and making time

Working on this course was really life-changing for me. The weekend after we finished I bought supplies and set out to apply some of the principles that I learned. I have a seven year old whose room was out of control.  Together we gathered everything that was out of place, and created a home for it just as I had learned from the course. It was an amazing transformation, and since then my son has been able to keep his room organized because everything has a place. (Content manager Bonnie Bills recently blogged about how she too was able to apply the techniques in the course to her home life as well as her work life.)

Now that the course has been released I am excited to watch it again, and apply more of these techniques to my life. I hope you will take the time to watch it. I can’t think of anything better that you could do for yourself than to give the gift of more time.

photos by Lucas Deming, photographer and colorist
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9 Responses to “What we learned from the new Time Management Fundamentals course”

  1. Bondini says:

    Wow,

    I was so shocked to see all the chaos i had that was wasting my time!
    I really thought multi tasking was great…but it really has been messing with me..

    I have put time in my diary to do this course,…i don’t have the time NOT to learn this!!

    Thank you lynda.com…
    I am setting more lynda.com time aside…committing to learning it

    You guys are great!

  2. Fernando says:

    Sorry, but this is stupid. I didn’t come to lynda.com to learn this nonsense. I need software training. I’m starting to feel like my $37 a month is too much. Why do I have to pay for stupid documentaries and non-software courses.

  3. Chris says:

    I’ll have to watch that as soon as i have some spare time lol

  4. Taymar, you were a lot of fun to work with. I look forward to doing it again soon! It makes my day to see you and the crew implementing the principles.

    P.S. Now my video game secret nerd side is out in the open!

  5. @Fernando: Thank you for sharing your feedback with us. I am reaching out in hopes that I can ask you some follow up questions and give you a bit of context as to what we are trying to accomplish here at lynda.com.

    First and foremost, we work 100% for our members. Our mission is to provide the training they are asking us for, and whenever possible to actually exceed their expectations. There will always be more requests than we are capable of producing at any given time, so our challenge is to prioritize and pick the topics that will benefit the most amount of our members.

    While it is definitely true that at our core, we have a rich history of focusing on training for software, our members have been steadily asking us for more and more coverage that they feel is related and complementary to the software tools training we publish.

    For example, we recently started publishing content on the Foundations of Photography, covering topics such as Exposure, Lighting, Lenses, etc. Now none of these courses are about “software”, but I would argue that they are completely relevant to just about any user of Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture software. And judging by how many views these courses are getting and the feedback we are hearing from members to publish more courses like this, we have reason to believe that our members value these “non-software” courses. This does not mean we will no longer publish courses on photography software.

    Over the past twelve months or so, the fastest growing topic area request from our members has been for us to start adding some “soft skills” courses to our library. Members are asking for us to help support their personal and professional development in and out of the workplace. The Time Management Fundamentals course we published last week is the start of our attempts to service those member requests.

    To put this into perspective though, we are marching towards the goal of publishing 300 new courses in 2011. Of those 300, less than 5% of them will be soft skills courses and documentaries. We ourselves are a learning organization, in that on a daily basis we ask ourselves how can we do what we do even better. We want to ramp up the soft-skills content slowly. This will allow us to get feedback from our members and ensure we develop the content so that it is engaging, meaningful and effective for their needs.

    The beauty of our “library” model is that as a subscriber, you can pick and choose only the courses that are relevant to you and ignore the rest. The question we expect and want you to ask yourself is this… Is there enough value and content that is of interest to you available in the Online Training Library®?

    We will continue to strive to make sure the answer to that question is a resounding “yes.” If at any given time the answer for you is “no,” then we certainly understand you may choose to cancel your subscription. In fact, with our “month to month” model with no long-term contract required, we make it very easy to cancel. Just come back and check us out again in the future as we publish new content every week.

    And lastly, the most direct question I can think to ask you after reading your comment to this post is this… What software training do you feel we are missing? Let us know because we are listening.

    Thank you,

    Michael Ninness
    VP of Content, lynda.com

  6. Joe says:

    The course is a “waste of time.”

  7. Verity says:

    I am in the middle of this course and LOVE it.

    Though originally using lynda.com for software training, this course looked interesting so I clicked in. I think it gives me tools that I had not

    Changes inspired so far:

    In the home: Now I am going to have an inbox that I can go to for unfinished projects. With a boisterous toddler, I have recently had problems losing things. An inbox gives me a plan.

    With work related to our home business: Keeping a calendar with me at all times was a great idea. I already feel less stressed as my new electric calendar notifies me about upcoming appointments.

    I think my favorite thing about Dave’s approach is that he breaks things down to a simple, easy level so that I, who am not an organized person by nature, can begin to form organized habits. His points are perceptive enough though that my husband, who is a naturally organized person, also found the course helpful.

    Thank you for the great course!

  8. Mark Macdonald says:

    This course is such a home run. Thanks so much to those of you who produced it, and a big thanks to you, Dave, for coming up with and articulating the content. As a young Gen-Y 28-year-old used to the paperless world, I’ve had no idea what to do with hard copy stuff that I’m expected to keep. I followed your advice to the letter on the filing portion.

    I would put myself in the group of subscribers you refer to, Michael, who are longing for these soft skills courses. Please, please, please keep them coming.

    You’re only challenge in doing so will be continuing to meet the bar you’ve set for yourselves with this course. I watched it once here at work, and I just finished watching it a second time last night, at home with my wife. We’re pumped on it.

    So anyways, thanks a million.

  9. Kevin McCaughey says:

    Not the usual time management gubbins for sure! This course is fantastic! I work for myself, at home, and it has been chaotic at times – this is exactly what I needed. It’s all so common sense and not the usual “guru” stuff you get from these courses. I’ve been on time management courses before, and none of them were even close to being as useful as this.

    I came to lynda.com to learn some programming stuff, but please keep these courses coming! Even though I am primarily programming, anything that saves me time and helps me work more efficiently is welcomed. Given that a lot of subscribers are probably working their own business or project, what about a few more practical courses for small business or home office? General book keeping (as opposed to how to use a particular piece of accounting software), basic marketing etc.

    Well done and thanks especially to Dave – this will save me a LOT of time :)

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