Nouns, Verbs, Time Management and You

Are you a “verb” person or a “noun” person? Does it matter? Knowing how you relate to the world around you does matter. In the grand scheme of things, it isn’t critical whether you coordinate your engagement with the world around you using just verbs or only nouns, but knowing which you focus on does matter. “Why?” you might ask.

In the past two years, I have had more than 100 conversations about productivity with chief executives, managers and company founders. I found there are generally two kinds of people: Those who think in verbs and those who think in nouns. Which are you? An easy way to find out is to locate a recent “to do” list you’ve created, one from the past 30 days if possible. If you cannot quickly find one, take a few moments now to jot down 30 or more items you know you need to accomplish before this quarter ends.

Look at the first word of each item on your “to do” list. Are those first words verbs or nouns? Typically the tasks on my “to do” list start with an action verb resulting in entries such as, “Email Marty about project x,” or, “Call meeting planner in Quebec. . . ,” or “Listen to the new book by. . .”

Related: 4 Ways to Disconnect and Get More Done Without Unplugging Completely

Please note: Neither nouns nor verbs are “better” than the other. They each have their benefits. However, over the years I have worked with business people all over the world, I find that although everyone switches between nouns and verbs here and there, some prefer nouns over verbs while others prefer verbs over nouns.

So why is your preference for nouns or verbs important? Noun/verb preference helps identify how you think. . . and how you work. When striving to work smarter knowing your noun/verb preference gives you important awareness about how you view the world.

For example, people who have lots of nouns in their “to do” lists tend to be visionary, big-picture thinkers. They easily talk in generalities and often want to discuss global aspects of a project before identifying the details and actions needed to get the job done. Of course many of these “noun defined” tasks also have several actions (verbs) involved in their completion. However, the nouns often act as benchmarks, or placeholders, for things you might need to think about, plan or take action on.

On the other hand, people who have lots of verbs in their “to do” lists tend to have clearly defined tasks that need to be completed (generally sooner than later). Every task on each line of a verb-focused person typically starts with an action verb, large or small. “Verb workers” manage their productivity in terms of action, delegation and progress. They see the steps that need to be accomplished to make the long-term vision (noun) come true. 

Related: When Sustainability Starts With Yourself: The Key to Lasting Change in Your Personal Productivity

Of course, if there are “big” action verbs such as “Plan,” “Discuss,” or “Implement,” it is important to identify how to break that large task into manageable smaller tasks to get the larger task started and moving forward. Personally, I strive to have the smaller tasks on my list be things that can be accomplished in blocks of 15-30 minutes, allowing me to easily keep moving forward, making consistent progress.

Try this experiment. Take a piece of paper and for the next 15 minutes write in your handwriting a list of the many big things you are thinking about. . . the nouns on the “to do” list in your mind. Maybe include a seminar you’re attending, a trip you’re planning or someone you need to talk, for example.

When the time is up, turn the page over and for each item you listed, identify one single action you can take in the next 24 to 96 hours. One action (verb) that moves you forward on (or completes) that task. Even if the task is huge (like your next promotion or saving for your child’s future college) identify one task you can absolutely, positively achieve in the next one to four days. When you identify work at this do-able level of action you will see progress consistently.

Make this exercise of breaking the visionary “noun” tasks and the huge “verb” tasks into smaller, manageable action-oriented tasks part of your process for task completion, and you’ll consistently work smarter resulting in making your best even better.

Related: How to Use Your Time Wisely by Prioritizing Your Goals
 

--

Get stories like this on the Yahoo app and discover more every day.
Download it now.
Loading...
  • EU likely to hand Apple Irish tax bill of over 1 billion euro - source
    EU likely to hand Apple Irish tax bill of over 1 billion euro - source Reuters - 13 minutes ago

    The European Commission will rule against Ireland's tax dealings with Apple (AAPL.O) on Tuesday, two source familiar with the decision told Reuters, one of whom said Dublin would be told to recoup over 1 billion euros in back taxes. The Commission … More »

  • Yale grad students file petition seeking union certification Associated Press - 14 minutes ago

    Yale University graduate students on Monday petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for union recognition, saying they have organized to address concerns surrounding pay and benefits and give themselves ... … More »

  • South African Treasury, Eskom row over coal contracts as government rifts deepen Reuters - 26 minutes ago

    South Africa's Treasury and state-owned Eskom clashed on Monday over a probe into coal contracts between the power utility and a company linked to the wealthy Gupta family that is accused of holding undue political sway over President Jacob Zuma. … More »

  • European privacy regulators to scrutinise WhatsApp privacy switch Reuters - 31 minutes ago

    Facebook's move to relax the privacy policy of WhatsApp, the world's most popular mobile messaging application, will be closely scrutinised, the chair of Europe's leading group of privacy regulators said on Monday.     WhatsApp, which counts more … More »

  • US alarm as Turkey warns Syrian Kurd militia of more strikes
    US alarm as Turkey warns Syrian Kurd militia of more strikes AFP News - 36 minutes ago

    Turkey warned Monday it would carry out more strikes on a Syrian Kurdish militia if it failed to retreat beyond the Euphrates River, as Washington voiced alarm over weekend clashes. Turkish forces pressed on with a two-pronged operation inside … More »

  • Berlin to require mums to come clean on 'milkmen's kids'
    Berlin to require mums to come clean on 'milkmen's kids' AFP News - 53 minutes ago

    Germany has drafted a law requiring mothers to inform their partners if their children were fathered by another man, Justice Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday. It would apply to cases in which men who believe they are not the real fathers seek … More »

  • RUBBER-Tokyo futures prices after evening session Aug 29 Reuters - 1 hour 21 minutes ago

    Following are prices for Tokyo rubber futures at the end of the Tokyo market's evening session on Aug 2016. Contract Day Volume Evening Volume * Sep 156.0 25 - - * Oct 156.0 86 156.0 1 * Nov 153.8 75 153.6 ... … More »

  • Four Nomura Investment Bankers Said to Leave as Firm Shrinks Bloomberg - 1 hour 32 minutes ago

    Jason Fertig, who led Nomura’s health-care investment-banking group in the Americas, and Matthew Upton, a banker in the firm’s global-technology team, are joining Mizuho Financial Group Inc., the people said, asking not to be identified discussing … More »

  • S&P 500 Approaches High on Consumer-Spending Data; Dollar Gains Bloomberg - 1 hour 34 minutes ago

    Japanese shares led gains among the biggest equity markets after central bank chief Haruhiko Kuroda reiterated a pledge to boost stimulus if needed. The monthly U.S. payrolls report due Friday will provide more clues on whether policy makers will … More »

  • Markets Right Now: Banks lead US stocks higher on rate hopes Associated Press - 1 hour 56 minutes ago

    The latest on developments in global financial markets (all times local): 11:45 a.m. Banks are leading stocks higher at midday as investors hope for higher interest rates. Wells Fargo, the nation's largest ... … More »

  • JPMorgan Index Move Puts $370 Billion Islamic Debt on Fund Radar Bloomberg - 2 hours 1 minute ago

    Shariah-compliant notes will be eligible for inclusion in five JPMorgan gauges from Oct. 31 and will account for between 0.35 percent to 0.99 percent of total assets on the benchmarks, according to an Aug. 18 statement by the bank. Sukuk will be … More »

  • Yuan Bears Emerge From Hibernation as Fed Threatens G-20 Calm Bloomberg - 2 hours 2 minutes ago

    Derivative markets are pointing to renewed bets on yuan depreciation, with a three-month measure of expected price swings poised for the biggest monthly increase since January. The increased pessimism comes after a period of calm that sent the … More »

  • Oil down nearly 2 percent on surging OPEC output, strong dollar
    Oil down nearly 2 percent on surging OPEC output, strong dollar Reuters - 2 hours 7 minutes ago

    Oil prices fell nearly 2 percent on Monday, snapping two consecutive days of gains, on caution over galloping Middle East crude output and a stronger dollar boosted by speculation of a U.S. rate hike by the year-end. Iraq, which has exported more … More »

  • Statoil expects 'loads of' M&A deals coming up, strategy chief says
    Statoil expects 'loads of' M&A deals coming up, strategy chief says Reuters - 2 hours 10 minutes ago

    ** Says: "If you look at the acquisition and divestment markets for upstream oil and gas on a global basis over the last five years, they have been falling to all-time lows... but there are a number of active spots, one of those is in certain parts … More »

  • Gold hits near 5-week low after Fed strikes hawkish note
    Gold hits near 5-week low after Fed strikes hawkish note Reuters - 2 hours 27 minutes ago

    Gold slid to a near five-week low on Monday after comments from top Federal Reserve officials fuelled speculation that U.S. interest rates would rise sooner rather than later, boosting the dollar. Speaking at a meeting of leading central bankers in … More »

  • Liz Weston: 5 money myths you probably believe
    Liz Weston: 5 money myths you probably believe Associated Press - 2 hours 52 minutes ago

    Managing money can be complicated, and myths are often born from people's struggles to make it simpler. But simplistic solutions can cost you instead of saving you money. If you believe any of these five ... … More »

  • BOJ Needs Massive Move to Shock & Awe, $2 Trillion Investor Says Bloomberg - 3 hours ago

    “It is how much they do, and whether they can create that kind of shock and awe at this point in the cycle,” said Mark Haefele, global chief investment officer at UBS Wealth Management, in a Bloomberg Television interview, on Monday. “They could … More »

  • Grain lower, livestock mixed Associated Press - 3 hours ago

    Grain futures were lower Monday in early trading on the Chicago Board of Trade. Wheat for Sept. delivery was 10.50 cents lower at $3.7260 a bushel; Sept. corn was 2.25 cents lower at $3.14 bushel; Sept. ... … More »

  • Singapore's GIC buys stake in Vietnam's bank AFP News - 3 hours ago

    Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC will buy a 7.7 percent stake in Vietnam's biggest bank, both companies said in a joint statement on Monday. GIC signed a memorandum of agreement to buy 305.8 million new shares of Vietcombank, the fund's first … More »

  • Copper Drops to Lowest in Two Months on Ample Supply, China Woes Bloomberg - 3 hours ago

    Inventories tracked by exchanges in Shanghai, London and New York climbed five straight days last week to the highest since May. Barclays said in a report that a recent slump in the copper market “may be an early warning sign of weakening in China’s … More »

  • Wall St rises as hawkish Fed boosts financial stocks
    Wall St rises as hawkish Fed boosts financial stocks Reuters - 3 hours ago

    Yellen, addressing a gathering of global central bankers on Friday, said the central bank was close to meeting its goals of maximum employment and stable prices, while describing consumer spending as "solid". Yellen gave little indication of when … More »

  • Foreign experts in Egypt to probe Russian airliner crash AFP - 3 hours ago

    Russian and German experts arrived in Cairo Monday to inspect the wreckage of a Metrojet plane downed over Sinai, hoping to pinpoint how it came apart, the aviation ministry said. The Islamic State group ... … More »

  • Jualo receives additional ‘multi-million US Dollar’ in their Series A round
    Jualo receives additional ‘multi-million US Dollar’ in their Series A round e27 - 3 hours ago

    In June, the e-classifieds platform announced a Series A round led by NSI Ventures Last June, e-classifieds platform Jualo announced that it has received a “multi-million US Dollar” Series A funding led by NSI Ventures. Today, the Jakarta-based … More »

  • US stocks higher amid focus on possible Fed rate rise AFP - 3 hours ago

    Wall Street stocks were slightly higher Monday as traders focused on the US July jobs report coming later this week which could, if strong, support an early rate rise by the Federal Reserve. Fed Chair ... … More »

  • Trudeau Heads to China to Woo Trade Amid Weak Canada Growth (2) Bloomberg - 3 hours ago

    Trudeau departs Monday on a 10-day trip to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Hangzhou, where he’ll attend the Group of 20 summit. He’ll meet with Premier Li Keqiang, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Jack Ma and Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing, … More »

 
Recent Quotes
Symbol Price Change % Chg 
Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the "Enter symbol/company" at the bottom of this module.
You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes.
 
Sign-in to view quotes in your portfolios.

MARKET MOVERS

  • Most Actives
    Most Actives
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.124-0.005-3.88%
    N21.SI
    0.735-0.020-2.65%
    G13.SI
    0.128+0.014+12.28%
    RE4.SI
    0.3550.0000.00%
    E5H.SI
    4.12-0.10-2.37%
    Z74.SI
  • % Gainers
    % Gainers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.355+0.115+47.92%
    BAZ.SI
    0.151+0.024+18.90%
    D79.SI
    0.23+0.03+15.00%
    AWI.SI
    0.475+0.060+14.46%
    588.SI
    0.128+0.014+12.28%
    RE4.SI
  • % Losers
    % Losers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.205-0.105-33.87%
    BCZ.SI
    0.25-0.10-28.57%
    BKX.SI
    0.13-0.05-27.78%
    AYL.SI
    0.165-0.055-25.00%
    BKZ.SI
    0.745-0.130-14.86%
    564.SI

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    1.3589+0.0006+0.05%
    USDSGD=X
    1.5204+0.0008+0.05%
    EURSGD=X
    1.7797-0.0012-0.07%
    GBPSGD=X
    75.0290+0.347+0.46%
    SGDJPY=X
    5.7058+0.0011+0.02%
    SGDHKD=X
    2.9775+0.0112+0.38%
    SGDMYR=X
    9,759.9424+11.7539+0.12%
    SGDIDR=X
    4.9130+0.0068+0.14%
    SGDCNY=X
    1.0296+0.0033+0.32%
    AUDSGD=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    1,328.00+2.10+0.16%
    GCZ16.CMX
    18.83+0.18+0.99%
    SIU16.CMX
    97.68+1.89+1.97%
    ^XAU
    2.080.000.00%
    HGU16.CMX
    47.20-0.44-0.92%
    CLV16.NYM
  • Bonds
    Bonds
    TreasuryYield (%)Yield Change
    1.18-0.06
    ^FVX
    1.57-0.07
    ^TNX
    2.22-0.08
    ^TYX