Since my mom died of pancreatic cancer last May, Randy Pausch caught my attention in September 2007 when I read about him in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Randy Pausch set the tone early on yesterday at his farewell lecture at Carnegie Mellon University.But I didn't get around to watching his Last Lecture until yesterday, when I again read about him - this time in Parade Magazine.
"If I don't seem as depressed or morose as I should be, sorry to disappoint you," said Dr. Pausch, a 46-year-old computer science professor who has incurable pancreatic cancer.
It's not that he's in denial about the fact that he only has months to live, he told the 400 listeners packed into McConomy Auditorium on the campus, and the hundreds more listening to a live Web cast.
It's more that "I am in phenomenally good health right now; it's the greatest cognitive dissonance you will ever see -- the fact is, I'm in better shape than most of you," he said.
But while Pausch has become somewhat famous for his Last Lecture, he also did a lecture on Time Management in November 2007. Here are just some of the points he made:
1. Keep your e-mail in-box empty; it's not your to-do list. (That's his empty one shown above.)
2. Break down items on your to-do lists into small pieces; "get tenure" was on his once upon a time, and that wasn't really helpful in moving him along!
3. Kill your television - or at least put it away in a closet.
4. Keep a time journal so you can see where your time is going. You'll be surprised.
5. Recognize that most things are pass/fail. (That's a good reminder for all of us with perfectionistic tendencies.)
6. Always make time to sleep, eat, and exercise.
But to really appreciate the lecture, you really have to see it. As he points out, he has some expertise in making the most of your time - including when you find out you're going to have much less time than you expected.