Time management thoughts

So, one week in to trying a new system. How's it going?

The real answer is: too soon to tell. I got more done this week than I would normally get done in two or three weeks, which is rather nice. At least some of this is probably due to being more organized. However, I'm also in the middle of a productivity streak anyway and it's not yet clear that time management will help manage my mood cycle, much of that gain was from doing something I already knew would work (not reading unimportant e-mail during the day), and I cut back on both writing and reviewing time and need to bring that back into balance. So I saw substantial improvements, but I'm not comparing apples to apples yet.

However, time management certainly isn't hurting. Laying out each morning what I'm going to do that day is incredibly helpful, as is having an effective prioritization system. Forcing myself to put time estimates on everything has been very helpful in spotting where my estimates are off. (I generally overestimate any task involving interacting with other people, and underestimate any coding task.) And I do feel more under control of my schedule by being able to push things days into the future and know they'll turn up again.

I'm going to use the inexpensive $20 planner I picked up for the first 21 days of this while I'm doing habit building and evaluating whether it's going to work, but I can already see that if I stay with this system, I'm going to end up springing the $110 for a real DayTimer sooner or later. I'm thinking about holding off until July when the next set of pages start out of a completely dumb desire to avoid waste, but I may not. Something that lays flat is nice, using the planner for information other than just the daily schedules would be nice, I do need the calendar pages I think, and I want something that's self-contained enough to have a place for a pen (or pencil -- I'm still undecided on writing instrument).

I'm about to test one hoped-for feature of this system, namely that I'm intentionally not scheduling weekends and pushing all work-related tasks back into the next week. I think that if I stay with this system, I'm going to be more intense during the week, even if I rebalance so that I can go back to writing earlier in the evening. I'm not going to be reading unimportant e-mail during the day, so I'm always going to have that catch-up at night, which will cut into other things. I'm also probably going to be a bit more tired at night, since I'm working more efficiently during the day. So, all of that means that I want my weekends to be even more free than they have been, not taken up by all the stuff that I felt like I couldn't get done during the week. We'll see how that works.

All in all, though, so far, so good. I don't think I could have hoped for anything better at this early stage. The real test is in going a few months with it, though; one week really isn't enough to tell, and I've dropped more things than I can count after only doing them for a week or two.

Posted: 2006-03-10 23:46 — Why no comments?

Last spun 2021-09-25 from thread modified 2013-01-04