I'm student of Computer Science. I'm in need of good guideline about Time Management. Please suggest which book to read. It will be great If that book is enough famous to be available in India. Though @robrambusch advised to read Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency I didn't found it in any big bookshops.. Please recommend books on Time management.

asked 16 May '12, 00:28

akrocks's gravatar image


Structured Procrastination -- what a great idea! And it turns out to be what I've been doing all along. In fact, I'm doing it right now.

From "The Chronicle of Higher Education" (http://chronicle.com/article/10-Ig-Nobels-Awarded-/129224//) last September:

15 Years After an Essay on Procrastination, a Philosopher Wins an Ig Nobel

First published in 1996 in The Chronicle, the article established the principle of "structured procrastination," which holds that "the procrastinator can be motivated to do difficult, timely, and important tasks, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important." Mr. Perry, a professor emeritus of philosophy at Stanford University and an active professor of philosophy at the University of California at Riverside, won the 2011 Ig Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday for the ideas set forth in that essay.
"One day I was deeply depressed about procrastinating, and I thought, It's kind of funny because everybody at Stanford thinks I'm somebody who gets a lot of stuff done," he said. "How can that be?" He realized that in the course of avoiding seemingly important duties that he'd laid out for himself, he had diverted his energy to any number of other tasks and had inadvertently become quite productive.
"All my fantastic contributions to understanding the human condition as a philosopher seem to have had minimal impact compared to this thing," said Mr. Perry, who receives a couple of confessionary e-mails each week from fellow shirkers.

[Administrivia: this would have been a comment, but it exceeds the comment length limit by 22 characters.]


answered 16 May '12, 17:42

EllenL's gravatar image


That's hilarious! I think the IgNoble was undeserved here
(18 May '12, 15:24) man-with-the... man-with-the-silver-gun's gravatar image

Getting Things Done is one that is popular. The site that @EllenL mentioned, 43Folders, has some resources on it as well.


answered 16 May '12, 02:47

egoots's gravatar image


GTD is really useful and a popular idea among techies.
(16 May '12, 10:03) robrambusch ♦ robrambusch's gravatar image

I recommend the Pomodoro Technique - http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/

I use it and GTD.

For an amusing alternative, check out Structured Procrastination - http://www.structuredprocrastination.com/ - I got it from @sebschmoller


answered 16 May '12, 10:06

robrambusch's gravatar image

robrambusch ♦

edited 16 May '12, 10:08

Try this website: http://www.43folders.com/howto.


answered 16 May '12, 01:02

EllenL's gravatar image


Merlin Mann is good - I still use the "hipster PDA" ;-)
(16 May '12, 10:09) robrambusch ♦ robrambusch's gravatar image

Here's a good review of research about self-control:

Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy Baumeister & John Tierney, Penguin Press 2011

It's an easy read, and available for Kindle.


answered 17 May '12, 16:36

EllenL's gravatar image


Zen To Done is also an excellent read: it's based on Get Things Done but enhance the concept quite a bit by making it less constraining and at the same time more efficient (eg: instead of having to sort your tasks several hours per week, you only sort 5/10 minutes a day - the management of tasks being the major hassle of GTD).


There are also several other great books by Leo Babauta on zenhabits.com, I particularly recommend:

  • The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life
  • The Power Of Less
  • The essential motivation handbook (how to get motivation to get things done when you have none)

As well as a huge repository of free articles and advices, so be sure to check zenhabits.net

But I think that nowadays technology can help a lot in this field, so I would advise to use softwares if you are not reluctant, such as:

  • Astrid (freeware for Android)
  • MyLifeOrganized (paid but really the best task management software out there, can adapt to any workflow you can imagine)
  • Chandler (not the most featured but the workflow is very clean and multi-user, todo lists are shareable and updatable by other users [eg: your wife])
  • TaskCoach (often overlooked, it's an excellent task manager with time tracking abilities, and it's cross-platform and opensource)
  • Toodledo (if you want to go online)
  • mGSD (alias MonkeyGTD - based on TiddlyWiki)

Note: only Astrid, MyLifeOrganized and Toodledo on the list above have a algorithm to sort the priorities of tasks. For the others (and the majority of softwares out there), you will either rely on your own, or the program may even be unable to prioritize at all (even manually).

And if you are reluctant to technology, you can anyway use either:

  • Pocketmod / Foldable booklets (mini booklets of 8 pages that you can print on an A4 page and that contains various up-to-date data like a month calendar, your last tasks, etc... - also, some programs like MyLifeOrganized or Toodledo allows you to print pocketmod booklets with your software's tasklist. See pocketmod.com for more infos).
  • Cards (see 43folders website about this technic)
  • An agenda (the good ol' way)

Anyway, whether method you choose, remember that the best method is the one that works for YOU.

Here are a few general advices that should help in any case:

  • ALWAYS use a single support for your notes - NEVER make notes on many different supports like papers then computer notepad, then smartphone etc... Try to use something that you either have always access, or can synchronize, or can later merge back (eg: dropbox.com can be very helpful).
  • Truncate your list of tasks for each day to a max of 5/10 (avoid the overflow of tasks).
  • Learn to delegate things.
  • Learn to fail to do things (because you will never be able to do everything you ever wanted to do, no matter how hard you try).
  • Keep a watch on your wrist.
  • Sleep at a about the same regular time (be it early or late, doesn't matter), and try to avoid undersleeping and oversleeping (7 to 9 hours per night for an adult is generally good).
  • Get some ear plugs (avoid being unfocused by small noises).

Also if you have some problems to focus on things and procrastinate a lot, you might be having an Attention deficit with or without hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), so you might check about that, and anyway advices for ADHD persons are generally good for anyone, so be sure to check these as well.

Good luck.


answered 18 May '12, 19:31

lrq3000's gravatar image


I can't remember the source of this story (it may have been David Allen of GTD): A consultant asked a room full of generals what their productivity strategy was. Only one of the 20 or so present had one. She said "I make a list of the ten or fifteen things I need to do today in priority sequence. Then I cross out all but the top three." That makes pretty good sense.
(22 May '12, 13:42) robrambusch ♦ robrambusch's gravatar image
The room-full-of-generals story appears in Baumeister & Tierney's book Willpower but without attribution: The only general who managed a response was the lone woman in the room. She had already had a distinguished career, having worked her way up through the ranks and been wounded in combat in Iraq. Her summary of her approach was as follows: "First I make a list of priorities: one, two, three, and so on. Then I cross out everything from three on down." I remembered it the same way @robrambusch reported it -- keeping the top 3 -- but by this account she only kept the top two. And she was only giving a summary, so no doubt there was more to her system.
(22 May '12, 16:01) EllenL EllenL's gravatar image

I just published a book on the subject: It Takes An Egg Timer, A Guide to Creating the Time for Your Life, that offers a simplified approach to the subject.


answered 22 May '12, 08:12

Joanne%20Tombrakos's gravatar image

Joanne Tombr...

Thank you @Joanne Tombrakos ...
(13 Aug '12, 11:07) akrocks akrocks's gravatar image

'Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-free Play '


answered 16 May '12, 04:03

jholyhead's gravatar image


Thank you guys.. Keep telling good books if you know any better..


answered 17 May '12, 07:35

akrocks's gravatar image


edited 17 May '12, 07:35

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