Jedi Productivity 1 of 11: Obi-Wan says “Be Systematic” if you want Productivity (and balance)

This post is part of the Star Wars Jedi Productivity blog post series.  There will be 11 posts coming weekly every Tuesday for… yes… just counted it… the next 11 weeks.  These posts will guide your journey from a wilful, novice young pretender who is controlled by time…  into a magnificent Jedi who uses time as her own power.  The full set of posts are available from here.

Obi-Wan says “Be Systematic” if you want Productivity (and balance)

“I don’t have enough time” everybody’s excuse

Today, I manage my life.  At least I try.  Do you control time, or does time control you?

We live today in an era where nobody manages your life for you.  50 years ago, companies like Shell really did manage your life.  They sorted out your housing, your car, your kids schools… they dealt with everything so that you could focus on having lunches with people who had oil, or who wanted oil.

Time management is a systematic approach to the way you organise your work and free time.  Systematic means that it is repeatable.  Ad-hoc is the opposite.  When you are systematic, you can trust yourself to get things done.  When others are systematic, you can trust them to get things done.  When others are ad-hoc, sometimes they deliver and sometimes they don’t.

Like a Guided Missile

Photo Credit: Jewcano

Photo Credit: Jewcano

Joan Pons, a good friend and true Jedi of time management speaks of systematic people being like guided missiles.  Imagine an attack helicopter seeing a tank in the distance, locking the target and firing.  As soon as he fires, he gets out of there.  He doesn’t need to wait to see if the missile hits.  It is a guided missile.  It will hit.  If the target moves, it moves.  The missile will hit.  Systematic people are like guided missiles.  You don’t need to check if they hit.  You know they will.  If you are a systematic person, you can trust yourself to hit.

Ad-hoc people are dangerous.  They deliver today… you trust them with something bigger tomorrow…  and they forget.  And you are now in a mess.

If you, yourself are ad-hoc… wow… I bet you feel a lot of frustration and annoyance.

I know this, because I spent many years of my youth in ad-hoc mode.  I had some awesome days.  I had some great days.  But I also had a pretty good streak of “nothing” days.  You know, those days where you are driving home from work and you think to yourself “what did I do today?  I know I was busy all day… but what did I actually do?”

Goodbye Ad-Hoc, Hello Systematic

In order to be a full Jedi time manager, the novice must learn to use proven tools such as:

  • Prioritising
  • Goal Setting
  • Deadlines
  • Delegation
  • Planning

That’s what this post series is all about.  You will become a master of the force and a power user of the tools of systematic, habitual action.

Are you a Jedi guided missile?  Are you systematic in how you set goals and make daily progress on what is important?  Or, are you more of an ad-hoc novice?

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9 comments

  1. […] his Jedi Productivity series, IESE’s Conor Neill explains two approaches to time management. The systematic aproach, and […]

  2. […] setting goals, reducing distractions like email, being effective with other people and the use of time slicing to make small, steady steps of progress.  Today, I want to talk about what happens if you […]

  3. […] week we spoke about the contrast between a “systematic” approach to life, an approach that allows for you to be like a guided missile – unfailingly hitting your […]

  4. Kevin Buchanan · · Reply

    Love the guided missile analogy. Especially the “fire it — and then go home” idea. Growing organizations will get caught with key employees burning out (or worse) or limit their potential if they don’t embrace systematic work. A Jedi cannot fight a war, that takes and army. Anyone who knows armies know they work on rigid systems. Save the Jedi in you for the final showdown with the Sith and other strategic goals.

    1. I like that as a potential post title “Save the Jedi in you for the Final Showdown” – there is something important in turning the daily grind into automated, systematic habits and saving your creative energy for really important, extraordinary projects (and people) 😉 Hope to see you at the reunion in May!

  5. Terry R Price · · Reply

    Hi Conor. Greetings from a California Jedi. Look forward following your insights in this series!

    1. Fantastic, best from Barcelona to California 😉
      Use the Force!

  6. aman2german · · Reply

    — Sent from Mailbox for iPhone

    On Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 11:02 AM, Moving People to Acti

  7. […] Jedi Productivity 1 of 11: Obi-Wan says “Be Systematic” if you want Productivity (and balance) […]

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