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.