Where does the time go?
I started this blog on the 11th of February 2012 with the modest real expectations that I may get a handful of views and not much more than that. You can imagine how surprised I was when I got 27 views on the first day! That was on keeping with my old personal blog, although, in fairness I use to link through that site for images and things so the number views was possibly shifted thanks to some carefully placed links on forums.
Well For those that don’t know I Also pre-write all of my updates normally weeks in advance so even this one was optimistically written a couple of weeks ago. For those of you that thought I was pondering away and writing them just before they were posted, shame on you… say’s a lot about your time management skills…
Which leads nicely on to…
Make some more time, go on, give it a go…
It’s impossible to have more time than is actually available, and as such you must not waste a precious moment of it! I do several things to help me organise my time and I use them all differently for different things, sometimes the same thing if it’s really important!
Here’s a list of the different tools i use:
That’s kinda everything I need, I haven’t yet ventured into the world of electronic time management systems, mainly because what I have works.
I use the Franklin for tracking the “Day to Day” tasks that I need to do, typically these are very much work related and are simply reminders that I need to do X or Y. Occasionally personal errands enter this realm, it’s important to realise that if you have personal tasks to do you make sure they get done, the sooner they are the sooner you can get back to doing your day job. Certainly when I have a task that has to be done during work times, like calling solicitors or doctors I make a note and just get them done and out of the way. I also only ever really set 3 priorities for tasks, A, B or C, A tasks need doing as soon as possible, C tasks need doing some when.
I will always carry over tasks to the next day if they don’t get done but if something is an A priority it’s because it needs doing that day, I very rarely carry over A tasks. So that, in a nut shell is how I deal with Day to Day tasks, but that really only serves as a way for me to track what I am doing, the real benefit of a system like this is scheduling. If a task cannot be done until a certain date I will schedule it on that date. this keeps the day to day list to a minimum and means I don’t even have to think about the future stuff.
Both of the Calendars I use mainly to schedule appointments or to block out specific times of the day where I am meant to be doing a task. Occasionally I use it as a way of reminding me to do a task, especially if it is time bound and not date bound. Also recurring events, I do like setting reminders for months in the future to do X or Y.
By combining this I spend no time worrying about what it is I am meant to be doing or when, all I have to do is remember to write it down in the appropriate place on the appropriate day, no more no less.
All of the above gives you a better way to track what you are meant to be doing and when, as a result you free up a surprising amount of time by not worrying about it all. However, to get real time back you have to do one thing and one thing alone.
Don’t be afraid to bin a task, If you notice the pressure for a task dwindling and your boss stops asking about it, bin it. You do need to be conscious that you can’t bin every task but you need to identify the tasks that are not going anywhere and just stop them.
Every morning when I get into work I do the same things.
1, Set up laptop (don’t login)
2, Grab a coffee
3, Login to my laptop and grab my Franklin
4, Skim my emails for anything that needs doing, if it’s a short 5 min thing I typically do it, else I write it down in the franklin
5, Check my calendar incase a meeting or something fell through the net (I hate it when that happens)
6, Validate the tasks on my Franklin for the day, add any new tasks
7, Crack on.
It typically takes me 30 mins in the morning to go through this routine and I occasionally shake up the order if I have an early morning change to do.
Almost every evening I try to get ahead of the next morning by moving the tasks from that day to another date where achieving it is possible.
But all of that is not enough, If there’s a larger task or a set of tasks, I estimate how long they will take in my head and then working backwards from the delivery date schedule the tasks as needed, even including time to think about the tasks in detail.
I find that all of that helps me keep ahead of what I am meant to be doing and as such keep tasks on time.
Aha, the system explained. I like the A/B/C system – that’s nice and sweet. “Getting things done” book is superb and well worth a read – what you have hear fits in well.
As you say, it’s not about using “the system” it’s about finding and using a system that works for you.