What is Half-Work?

Time Management CourseJames Clear, introduced a term with which I was unfamiliar called “half-work.” Steven Covey also suggests that we determine what is urgent and what is important. So let’s examine three concepts: half-work, prioritization and scope vs schedule.

James’ article entitled, 3 Time Management Tips That Will Improve Your Health and Productivity can be found here.

Here is my take.

1. Eliminate Half-work – In the age of constant distraction, it’s easy to divide our attention between what we should be doing and what our environment thrusts upon us. You know the drill: Cell phones, social networks and fellow team members. James categorizes these interruption as the reason for “half-work.”

Some of the examples he cites are:
• You start writing a report, but stop randomly to check your phone for no reason or to open up Facebook or Twitter.
• Your mind wanders to your email inbox while you’re on the phone with someone.

Irrespective of the examples you could provide, the results are the same if you are not fully engaged in the task at hand. One effective way to deal with this situation is to block out some time to focus on one project and eliminate everything else. If allowed or possible, turn off the phone and close the email client, and social networks.

2. Prioritize – Disorder and chaos tend to increase as your work or business day goes on. This open the possibility that your physical and psychological energy will be diminished during the day. This situation could lead to less effective decision made during the latter part of the day. Therefore, it is best to try to arrange your day so that you can make the most important decisions and judgements when you are freshest. Simply stated, by doing the most important thing first, we never have a day when we don’t get something important done.

3. Scope vs Schedule – Simply stated, scope is defined as how much there is to do. Although this is a term normally associated with project management, there is a possible application in time management and productivity. Most of us are able to summon the energy or discipline to meet an important deadline. However, we might consider that following a schedule is much more effective than constantly responding to declines. Following a schedule is easier said than done. You know how hard it is to actually stick to a schedule without fail.

The value in making the schedule the priority of what must be done is the proportionality. In other words if you follow the schedule, you will make incremental progress on the tasks or projects. So the big idea is to finish something today, even if the scope is smaller than you anticipated or desired.

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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