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Jurgen Appelo calls himself a creative networker. But sometimes he's a writer, speaker, trainer, entrepreneur, illustrator, manager, blogger, reader, dreamer, leader, freethinker, or… Dutch guy. Since 2008 Jurgen writes a popular blog at, covering the creative economy, agile management, and personal development. He is the author of the book Management 3.0, which describes the role of the manager in agile organizations. And he wrote the little book How to Change the World, which describes a supermodel for change management. Jurgen is CEO of the business network Happy Melly, and co-founder of the Agile Lean Europe network and the Stoos Network. He is also a speaker who is regularly invited to talk at business seminars and conferences around the world. After studying Software Engineering at the Delft University of Technology, and earning his Master’s degree in 1994, Jurgen Appelo has busied himself starting up and leading a variety of Dutch businesses, always in the position of team leader, manager, or executive. Jurgen has experience in leading a horde of 100 software developers, development managers, project managers, business consultants, service managers, and kangaroos, some of which he hired accidentally. Nowadays he works full-time managing the Happy Melly ecosystem, developing innovative courseware, books, and other types of original content. But sometimes Jurgen puts it all aside to spend time on his ever-growing collection of science fiction and fantasy literature, which he stacks in a self-designed book case. It is 4 meters high. Jurgen lives in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) -- and in Brussels (Belgium) -- with his partner Raoul. He has two kids, and an imaginary hamster called George. Jurgen has posted 145 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Continuous Reflection *Before* Time Management

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I recently reflected on my daily breakfast, and noticed that I didn’t really enjoy it. Swallowing two slices of bread, and one glass of juice, was just my way of getting through the morning without fainting. So I made a note to find myself more enjoyable things to eat.

I also recently reflected on how I make illustrations. And I realized that I sometimes develop a pain in my neck after drawing for an hour or more. So I made a note to purchase an easel.

And I reflected on how I use various tools, like Word, Gmail, TypePad, Dropbox, and Remember the Milk. And I realized that I know only a small percentage of what such tools have to offer. So I made a note to flip through their manuals and help pages.

There are many time management techniques available for people who want to get more done in less time. But I have a feeling that most of them skip an important question:

Is what you’re doing the right thing?

What if time management techniques teach you to run faster in a wrong direction
? What if they teach you to be more focused, and more productive, while working behind your desk? Maybe what you really need, before anything else, is an easel!

Last week I started my own Individual Improvement Initiative. (I’m shortening it to I3, with a capital I, so I won’t get into trouble with Apple.) Its first step is:

Follow (almost) every action with a reflection.

I now consciously reflect on the phone calls and meetings that I have. (Are they worth having?) I reflect on traveling and conferences. (Am I getting the best out of that time?) I reflect on my bookkeeping. (Can I do that in less time?) And I reflect on my speaking engagements. (Can I do them better?)

Each action ends in a reflection. It is the atomic version of a continuous improvement cycle. Act, Reflect, Act, Reflect, Act, Reflect… I suggest that, somehow, you work such continuous reflections into your daily busy schedule before adopting a time management technique that will make you go faster!

And now it is time for me to reflect on this blog post. (Because, I might be able to do better than this.)

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Jurgen Appelo. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)



Paul Shezier replied on Fri, 2012/04/13 - 12:30pm

"Each action ends in a reflection." - I like that!

Let me give you my take on it!

Before people get into action all sorts of things may happen, such as: excuses, distractions, time wasters, procrastination.

It is great to reflect on our actions, because that's how we improve and take things to the next level...

However, in order to get to the "action" we need to have this unshakable motivation that moves us forward and eliminates the threshold of procrastination and time wasters.

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