What I'm reading: Screenscam, by Michael Bowen; Kiss Me Deadly, by Michele Hauf.
My April contest is almost over - don't miss out on a chance to win a batch of goodies. Click the contest tab to enter. And thanks to all my followers: I hit the 300 milestone on Sunday.
Not long ago, I attended a workshop on time management. I couldn't stay for the whole presentation—I had to leave on time, but the speaker wasn't finished yet. (Her time management skills didn't seem to carry over to workshop time.)
While I didn't agree with everything she said—such as blocking out one hour a day for exercise—she did make a lot of valid points. (And I don't dispute the value of exercise, I just follow a different regimen.) She also said she checks her email on a fixed schedule (never first thing in the morning), regularly deletes messages that have been sitting around too long (if it's important, they'll get back to you), and only checks her phone messages at specific times. That was a little too regimented for me. Then again, I'm not inundated with phone calls. But I do have aging parents, and the thought of telling them that if there's an emergency, they should leave a message and I'll get back to them between two and three is a bit over the top. My circles aren't the 'call and chat' types, although I spent a lot more time on the phone back in my 'stay at home mom' days.
I also don't have a day job. And, at the moment, I'm not working on deadline, so I have a lot more flexibility with my time. That doesn't mean I use my time efficiently.
One 'trick' she suggested was one I used to use when I did have kids at home, worked, and things seemed to pile up until they seemed too daunting to tackle, and I thought it worth sharing.
Pick a dreaded task. As an example, I'll use one of the things I hated to do back then (and still do): clean the kitchen. Do the job, and make note of exactly how long it takes to do an acceptable job. Not mother-in-law clean, perhaps—maybe, 'a friend comes to the door' clean. Once you know you can tackle the job in X amount of minutes, it's easier to find the time slot when you can do it. For me, it was during sitcom time. As I recall, I loved Mary Tyler Moore and Rhoda, but in between the two was Phyllis, which I didn't care for. So, I had thirty 'spare' minutes, and knowing I could have the kitchen done in that amount of time meant that I did it.
Our speaker recommended thinking of tasks in terms of dots and dashes. You've probably got a lot of "dot" type tasks. Things that don't take long at all. When you've got a few minutes, tackle those. Maybe it's make a dental appointment. Or sort the laundry. Then, when you have more time, you can deal with the longer, "dash" tasks." (I wish "someone" at our house understood this system, instead of saying, "I'll take care of it," and then letting it age like a barrel of whiskey before actually doing it, even though it would take about a minute to do it, and then it would be done. Instead, I get, "It's on my list.")
And speaking of lists, another point our speaker made was that a "to do" without a "when" is useless. Commit to a deadline for each task.
What works for you when it comes to managing your time?
Tomorrow my guest is Sharon Hamilton who's talking about her experiences with Navy SEALS. Make sure you set aside enough time to come back to read it!