Learning Technologies Newsletter

ISSUE 17 - November 2006 - by Phil Chambers

TIME TO READ: 3.5 minutes (Average Reader), less than a minute (Speed Reader) - Word Count: 818. To learn more about Speed Reading Contact us.

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Welcome to the November issue of the Learning Technologies Newsletter, Please continue to forward it to friends and colleagues who you think would find it useful.

As well as our regular Mind Map® tip and quote of the month, we will give you some simple tips to help your manage time more effectively.

Mind Map® Tip of the Month

A really good tip to get through a large number of books in a short time is to do this with a group of friends. Each person choose a book and go through the process of Mind Mapping it. Then photocopy everyone's Mind Maps so that you each have a copy. Each person in turn explain his or her Mind Map to the group. Colour in the photocopies and add your own images and notes to personalise them.

November's Quote of the Month

"The price of anything is the
amount of life you exchange for it."

Henry Thoreau

For many more quotes click here.

Three Timely Tips

As I sit in my office looking out of the window, today is lovely and sunny, if a little cold. The autumn leaves remind me of the passing of time and seasons. In a mere 60 days the year will be over.

So how can you make the most of your time?

Here are three ideas:

•  Don't duplicate tasks

For example if you watch the TV news at lunchtime and 6 o'clock unless there has been a major story there is probably not much more to be learned. Maybe watch the headlines at 6:00 and if there is nothing new spend the time more profitably.

In the office the same principles apply:   Rather than reading a document, putting it in your in-tray and then re-reading it later, can you take action immediately? Decide how important it is (see point 3) and either file it, bin it, delegate it or take action.

•  Piggy-back tasks

You can't create time but you can sometimes do more than one thing at a time. For example, whilst driving, as long as it doesn't distract you, listen to instructional CDs, tapes or podcasts instead of the radio. If you buy audio books instead of paper copies you can get through more learning without having to spend extra time reading.

Blind former Home Secretary David Blunket learned to listen to his memos and reports at high speed playback (analogous to speed reading) so as to get through the huge amount of information he needed for his job. This probably requires too much concentration to absorb whilst driving but it is possible!

Can you travel by train? If it's not too overcrowded you can often make use of technology such a laptops or blackberries to get a lot done in otherwise wasted time.

•  Decide on Importance and Urgency

Stephen Covey in his book "First Things First" describes the time management quadrants. He rates tasks according to their importance and urgency. This allows you to quantify which tasks need to be done and which can be neglected without any adverse consequences.


These are time wasting things. Reading spam e-mail for example. They do not get you any nearer your goals. Don't spend time on them!


These may need to be done but as they're unimportant do you have to do them? Can you delegate some of these tasks? If you have to do them you probably need to do an adequate job. If you tend to be a perfectionist you can waste a lot of time perfectly doing unimportant things.


These need to be done well and done now. This problem with urgency is that it tends to lead to reactive management and consequently stress.


These tasks are often overlooked and not done because you are so busy with the urgent things you put these off until they become urgent. The old adage "a stitch in time saves nine" applies here. If you book time to do these tasks you can take preventative actions before problems arise. This is pro-active management.

This has just been a very brief overview. I hope it has prompted you at least to think about how you use time. If you'd like to know more please contact us.

Remember, remember, the fifth of November

This has a special meaning this year, as I will be in Stuttgart overseeing the MemoryXL German Open Memory Championships. I'll let you know the results next month.

That's all for this month. If you have any comments or suggestions please feel free to contact me.