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My Professor at XLRI, so many years ago, Fr. Ed McGrath taught us so many things.

All of us have only 168 hours each week, he used to say, make the best of it.  34 years after he spoke of it, I remember ( and try to practice) 3 techniques :

  • Premack Principle: We like some tasks and dislike some others. Do what you dislike first! Doing what you like is easy but you are prone to postpone doing what you don’t like. If you have to do Tasks A & B and like A but dislike B, do B first. You will do both better. Do the unpleasant task first.
  • Swiss Cheese Technique: Even if you do not have enough time to complete a top priority task, do something related to that task accomplishment instead of attending to a lower priority task. For example, if you have 20 minutes to spare before your next meeting, gather data or assign work to gather data for your top priority task, instead of reading a magazine or making lower priority phone calls.
  • Act on a piece of paper only once: Don’t move it from place to place on your desk or move it from one folder to another. Act on it the first time, file it, assign a task to some one else, reply to it, make a call, do whatever but act on it the first time.

Fr. McGrath remains a major hero for XLers of my time. He uses these techniques himself because he is as cheerful as before and very active in his 80s.

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