Friday, February 13, 2009

Time versus Tasks

I’ve always looked on time management as the process of getting things done, so when I expend as much effort as I possibly can to complete a task and don’t finish it, I feel like I haven’t really been working—even though I have.
I was discussing this with John the other day and he suggested that I experiment with time rather than tasks. Apparently productivity experts say that if you divide up your day into segments, you’ll get more done. What you do is assign each task a certain amount of time, an hour let’s say, and at the end of that hour (no matter where you are) you stop and then move on to the next thing on your list.
I wasn’t sure if I could do this myself because I find it hard to switch gears when I’m involved in a project. What I usually do is keep on going until my energy level tanks. Sometimes this works for me, but more often than not it doesn’t …mainly because I’m too burned out to do anything else. For this reason alone, I was willing to experiment with a time pie and discipline myself to stick to it.

The interesting thing is that I’m actually accomplishing more than I thought I could. Instead making progress in one area, I’m actually managing to do it in several. I think this approach works because it’s holistic. You may not have accomplished anything big, but there’s more balance because you feel that life in general is gently moving ahead.

7 comments:

justjen said...

I like this. I hope it continues to work for you. Our days are so full of so many things to begin, this seems logical.

Leslie Jane Moran said...

Sounds like the 20 minute rule. I always use it for cleaning. When you don't want to clean the house, the theory is that anyone can do anything for 20 minutes. You actually set a minute timer and do the task. If you are not finished you may either re-set the timer and do another 20 minutes, or, if you are done, you take the next 20 minutes doing something you'd rather do, like read, or watch a little t.v. 20-20-20-20...you'd be surprised how fast 20 minutes gos. I think it's because you know there's an end to what you dread and something to look forward to...sometimes it's even the satisfaction of the job well done. Bravo to you for your plan!

emikk said...

That's what I do (what your doing) with time. The question is: is time our friend or enemy?

MarissaDW said...

That's excellent Susan. You've found something that works, keep at it. I'm trying the same thing at work. I usually book a time to do a certain task and move on to the next time when time is up.

beenebag said...

I may have to give this a try:) Being "between assignments" wrecks havoc with any plan I try to establish since there's no definite beginning or ending to my day like there was when I was being paid. Maybe I'll finally start taking that online class to learn Dreamweaver, work in my journal regularly, make ATCs everyday, work on my business plan, answer my email, fill out job applications, cook dinner, do the shopping, clean the house, make birthday cards, create stuff for my Etsy shop, post to my blog once a week (instead of once a month), take my 30 minute walk, nap with my cats, cuddle with my husband and pack for ARTFEST!!!! Wow! Did you draw your pie out?

manus said...

Thank you for this post!! There is always so much to do. Perhaps I can try this method for me, too....

Lost Aussie said...

Sounds like it could be a good way to get 'something' done in the day...somehow the hours flee and I feel no further along than at 10am!