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May 05, 2009


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Steve, I think this model (essentially balancing of priorities) applies well to a lot of aspects of life. One that immediately sprung to mind being personal career development. As an example -

My main skill is with FC disk arrays. I need to keep with the pace on this to keep bread on the table today. I spend most of my time in this "box 1", call it the office.

Occasionally I find better ways to do things and also that some assumptions I have made are not correct. How I have done things in the past might not be the best way today. Box 2?

I need to spend personal time investing in new skills, may be things like FCoE and SSD and a bit more VMware.... Creating future employment opportunities for me. Looks like Box 3 to me.

Id love to spend more time in box 3 but then Id be eating gruel for breakfast dinner and tea ;-)

Steve Todd

Hi Nigel,

Great thoughts, I'm in total agreement. Certainly blogging has been a "non-box 1" activity for me, because it is non-essential to the Box 1 responsibilities I have at work. But I believe the time I have spent on this activity will lead to product innovation as well as career innovation.

I'm encouraging a lot of my co-workers to lift up their heads out of Box 1 for a moment and give something new (e.g. blogging) a try.


Polly Pearson


Let's get that book of yours published! There is a section dedicated to your 3 boxes -- your system for this was brilliantly simple. The ideas and projects, if I recall correctly, were laid out in a sort of priority tracking tri-fold piece of paper (or virtual piece of paper.)

After reading this section of the book, you became my time management hero. (At this point I fully take for granted your out of the box thinking and drive toward innovation which is not included in your day job, so forgive my slant on that!)

** For those reading this comment who may not know his productivity background, his name is on about 150 patents. The products associated with those have delivered more than $10 billion in revenue, we roughly figure. Oh, and he leaves the office each day at 5:00 pm!! **

-- Polly

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