Friday, November 16, 2007

Franklin Covey's focus assessment

At work some of the employees, myself among them, were invited to a time management workshop.

Prior to the workshop we were asked to take a survey. In particular -- a pre-assessment focus survey.

You answer a few questions by selecting a score between 1 to 5 and after that you get a PDF file with a Time Matrix diagram that demonstrates how much of your time you spend in:
  1. Important and urgent tasks
  2. Important and not urgent tasks
  3. Not important yet urgent tasks
  4. Not important and not urgent tasks
Apparently, efficient individuals spend less than 20% of their time in #1, 50%-60% of their time in #2, about 15% of their time in #3 and less than 10% in #4. A good rule of thumb is said to spend less than 50% of your time in #1 and in #3 combined, where the little you spend there at all the better.

Basically -- you'd want to spend as much of your time in #2 because it means that you're doing important things (and you get to say what important means to you) but you're probably doing a good job planning ahead because you are not spending much time in #1 (although it is probably inevitable to spend some of your time there. You definitely don't want to spent much of your time in #3 because it means that you're spending time feeling that you're doing urgent things which are not important. #4 should get the least of your time.

The first thing that strikes me is that if you take the survey twice, with a few days between the first and the second time you take them -- you get better scores. Note that I took the time management course only a few hours later on November 15th:

When taking the survey on November 12th 2007 I scored:
1. 29%
2. 42%
3. 21%
4. 11%

But when I took it on November 15th 2007 I scored:
1. 37%
2. 46%
3. 13%
4. 7%

There are several things to learn from this:
  • I got better (why? perhaps only by being more aware of the consequences I probably answered slightly different -- or I just got up with a different mood?!)
  • The scored, regardless of the day I took them DO NOT TALLY UP TO 100%!!!
The total score for the first time is: 29%+42%+21%+11%=103%.
The total score for the second time is: 37%+46%+13%+7%=103%.

It is amazing how this escaped Franklin Covey -- apparently I have magically got an extra 3% of my time with just spending a few minutes on a survey. WOW!

Sarcasm aside, I suppose that the developer(s) who implemented the conversion of scores to a graph was not seeing the bigger picture and ignored the fractions and rounded them up without making sure that the total scores 100%.

This reminds me of a challenge that Mark Jason Dominus proposed on his weekly Perl challenge called Perl Quiz of the Week. In that quiz the challenge was to make sure that scored add up to 100% even if it requires some "munging" of the data.

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