Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Time Management Tuesday: Getting The Most Out Of Little Units Of Time

This is the first of at least two posts on planning with Situational Time Management.

Today I'm going to be writing about very nitpicky planning issues relating to what I'm calling time finds, small amounts of time you find in your life.

Evening Jobs: For most of the last decade, I have worked in the evenings. Up until maybe three years ago, this involved reading and networking with other bloggers and writing my own blog posts. Private life tasks have been dripping into the evening work time, and I've had to pretty much give up keeping up with other bloggers. Earlier this year, I read an article about planning for the week that got me started actually planning what I'd try to do in the evenings.  So I broke out a yellow pad and each week wrote Monday through Friday along the top and made little lists under each day of things I wanted to get done. I didn't  (and don't) worry about whether I got Monday's tasks done on Monday or on Wednesday. I just cross things out when I do them.  

15 Minute Jobs: After I started using the unit system during my work day, I realized that those 15 minute periods between work sessions pile up. I believe that many people who use the unit system would advise you to use those 15 minutes for something relaxing. I, however, am just overwhelmed with little jobs I need to do for work, myself, and others. So I took my yellow pad, which I was already using to keep track of evening jobs, and actually wrote "Evenings" next to the list of evening jobs. Then under that I kept a daily list labeled "15 Minute Jobs." These might be work-related or personal. It could be making phone calls, e-mailing someone, starting a load of laundry, getting a package ready to mail, stripping a bed. The list could go on forever. Again, I don't worry about whether I got Monday's tasks done on Monday or some other day. I just get as much done over the course of the week as I can.

Transitional Time: A couple of months ago, I remembered transitional time. Since then I've added "Transitional Time" tasks to the yellow pad. This is just the transitional time to get me into the work day. I haven't gotten a grip on end of the day transitional time yet, or the transition at the end of my work day. I allow myself only 15 minutes for morning transitional time (though other people could choose any amount of time they wanted) and used it to clean my desk and now use it to maintain the desk and work on my filing system.

My planning goes beyond these three time finds. I also plan for:

The Big Picture: For the last month I've also had a section on the yellow pad for "Week Projects" so that I don't become so fixated on little tasks that I forget the overall work. The next couple of weeks, "copy editing" and "contacting bloggers" will be on that section of the pad.

Upcoming Tasks: I've also taken to adding a section called "Upcoming" where I put things I want/need to do as I think of them so I don't forget about them because I'm obsessing...I mean concentrating...on getting all these small things done.

My yellow pad floats around the house with me, and I often continue to add things to it over the course of the week. It becomes quite intense looking. But there are a lot of items scratched out at the end of the week. I am getting things done and all the scratch outs give a feeling of accomplishment. I keep all the pages, again to offer physical evidence that I've been doing things.

Next Tuesday I'll be writing about why some kind of planning is important with Situational Time Management. And it's not going to be just because it enables you to get things done. I've got something else in mind.

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