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Out of Our Minds
Friday, June 25, 2004 10:07 AM
Leaky Applications in Computers and Life
Anita Sharpe on Business

I discovered last night that I have 'leaky applications' on my computer. These are applications that constantly use memory but never replace it. As a result, I get a message every few weeks telling me that I am low on memory and need to free up disk space. Lately, that has meant removing potentially useful programs; last night, I finally ran out of stuff I can remove. Searching Google, I discovered that this apparently is a type of Windows bug; I downloaded a patch that is supposed to help and, well, we'll see.

Unfortunately, I can't find a patch for a leaky work life. Once again, it's Friday morning and there are at least a half dozen top priorities for the week still undone, not to mention calls to be returned and emails to answer. Where did the hours go? I did a time-audit and here's what I found:

Endless daily emergencies. These are the things, usually unexpected, that have to be done RIGHT NOW to move a project forward. It's a bit like

waking up every morning and finding that the plumbing or electricity is out in your house. Time leak? Between two and four hours a day. Energy drain? Far more.\n\nMeetings. Most last at least an hour, but the business can usually be finished in 20 minutes. Time leak? Between two and four hours a day.\n\nCommuting. A little over an hour a day.\n\nAs you can see, a day of many daily emergencies and meetings is a day when no real work gets done. \n\nHere's what I plan to do about it. Next week, I'm hiring someone to take care of 80% of the endless daily emergencies. I am going to cap all meetings at 30 minutes; if I need more time or like the person well enough to chat about their families, I'll meet over lunch. We all have to eat.\n\nFinally, for the big one. I plan to work from home one day a week. Not only will I reclaim that hour of commuting, I jettison all meetings and endless daily emergencies. And I find whenever I work from home, I accomplish at least two to three times as much.\n\nI'll let you know how it goes. Meanwhile, I'd love to hear your solutions to time sieves, or leaky computer applications.


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Yvonne DiVita - 6/26/2004 8:50:32 AM
Time leak...I like the phrase. You might be interested in a book called, 'Small Spaces between Emergencies,' by Alison Moore. It's a collection of short stories. The title rocks. Now I need to go check out The Work Better Weblog. Thanks for the post.
Ben Smith - 6/25/2004 12:52:29 PM
I've been a PC user for over 15 years, just switched to Mac, saved countless hours not having fix my PC.
anita - 6/25/2004 11:30:45 AM
Thanks for the links. I just added them to my priortity list.
Avi Solomon - 6/25/2004 11:10:02 AM
Welcome to the '1 workday at home' club:)
You might the following of help in prioritizing your Time and Life Energy:


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