This is a document describing the story of participants in the summit – the challenges they face, their ups and downs and a picture of victory and accomplishment at the end.
Participants in the Time Blocking Virtual Summit 2020 will find themselves on a journey that alters their relationship to their tasks and calendars from one of struggle to one of freedom.
The majority arrive at the summit having already tried time blocking. They were introduced to the idea, and when they tried it for the first time, found it made a practical difference.
Although the practice flies in the face of the conventional wisdom touted by gurus like David Allen, summiteers had to be courageous. They made a conscious decision to take the road less traveled in keeping with their ambitious, driven personalities.
However, they also registered in the summit out of frustration. As they continued adding more tasks, it became harder to keep up. Managing a lot of tasks meant adding a host of new overhead activities. Why? They learned the hard way that whenever their plans for the day were disrupted, it meant either abandoning their schedule or making a new one.
This represents a difficult choice, but they believed there had to be better answers. Unfortunately, there are very few to be found with a simple Google Search. Most of the easy-to-find content on the topic is promotional, aimed at convincing people to try the approach for the first time.
So they come to the summit with some skepticism, a bit pessimistic that they will find the answers they seek. But they aren’t lazy: they are energetic doers and high-achievers who realize that daily task management is crucial to success in all areas of their lives, bar none.
The First Morning – Thursday
In the first core sessions, their mixed feelings are openly acknowledged. However, this does little to temper their impatience – they are looking for immediate answers and tips they can apply immediately.
As they come to appreciate their role as pioneers, they agree from prior experience that there can be no one-size-fits-all solution. It dawns on them that they need to drive their own improvements.
This won’t be easy, and this realization is depressing for some. Their hopes of spending a quick hour or two in the summit, then getting back to work with a few tips in hand are dashed. Those who imagined “attending” and multi-tasking are disappointed. Paying less than full attention is not a serious alternative for a practice so critical to their daily success.
In these core sessions, the argument builds that the answer to their predicament lies in skillful self-evaluation. The specific subject?: today’s task management methods and task load.
Now, in a hands-on session, they are shown how to perform a series of self-evaluations and taught how to interpret the results. The end-product is a unique snapshot of their current skills and task load.
Their evaluation shows that some of the skills they posses are rudimentary, and should be taken up a notch in order to meet their overall goals. In fact, they have been getting in their own way without realizing it.
Once the exercise is over, each participant is given a choice of four improvement paths.
- From using task lists to time blocking with a calendar
- From time blocking with a calendar to using an auto-scheduler
- From low calendar-based time blocking skills to higher skills
- From low auto-scheduler skills to higher skills
Their choice is an important guide to the rest of their summit experience, so a break is put in place before the afternoon’s sessions are released. During the break, all are encouraged to take time to do something different and visit exhibitors, interactive game room and sponsors. Furthermore, they are encouraged to take advantage of the chat rooms and live video discussions to meet each other.
The First Afternoon – Thursday
Having chosen an individual path, summiteers now focus on deciding which sessions will help them make the most progress. They must select video recordings from four areas: Scheduling Practices, Flow, Apps and Measures. Now that their summit has taken shape and presents a clear pathway for learning, they are on a high.
This lasts for a while, until they are mid-way through their sessions. Each one offers a great deal of information – too much for most to handle. While they are free to attend whichever session they want, more is not necessarily better.
By the end of the second day, learning fatigue sets in. The new information is helpful, but they expose themselves to so much of it that feelings of overwhelm arise. While attendees are warned not to try to cram too much into a single day, many realize they have done so only after the fact. After all, these are driven, ambitious individuals who want to make solid improvements they can take back to their lives.
Now they discover the value of the relationships built with other participants over the first two days. They are not alone, and there is time in the agenda meet the speakers and other people. Here at the end of the second day, they see that they are not alone in feeling overwhelmed – having others there for the ride makes a big difference.
The Third Morning – Saturday
Without the pressure of a weekday, many attendees are looking to catch up on missed sessions, while taking the remaining new ones. They are reminded that they have free access to all sessions up until 5pm on Sunday, so this takes off some of the pressure.
At the same time, they learn that the key outputs they need to create by the end of the summit are 1) a realistic 12-24 month Improvement Plan and 2) a Support Scaffold for easy behavior change. The final core session helps take summiteers through the steps required.
The Plan and Environment are a revelation – it’s possible to commit to lots of changes. All that’s needed is a plan to implement them in sequential fashion backed up by the right elements in your environment that support ongoing changes.
So the agenda for the day has fewer sessions to allow time for sumiteers to interact with Presenters during Office Hours, and with other attendees. These help encourage cross-learning.
With the end of the summit approaching, it becomes clear that the summiteer’s journey is transformed when other people are sharing the path. It’s true even if they are struggling! Having the same common purpose makes a huge difference and no-one wants to go back to being on their own.
The final closing session suggests that the persona of someone who blocks time has been that of an early adapter, a courageous pioneer, or maybe even a lone ranger. That person has overcome the opinions of others in trying out this new technique. Now, it may be time to transition to a new persona: someone who relies on others to help build critical skills that are only just being defined for the first time.
Before leaving, everyone is reminded that the Mighty-Taskers community platform will continue to be a home for everyone who wants to engage with others. Not only are interactions made possible, but so is training, coaching, masterminding and digital interactives.
Some aren’t interested, but those who remain help to form a post-summit community that allows them to accelerate their learning, and enjoy the experience of doing so.