Yaaaaaaay! I did it!
You remember me freaking out over the amount of work I have to do for one week, and then I came up with a plan to organize my work and get everything done while working for an extra hour each day during work week.. On Friday I did great, Saturday was not as great but I accomplished many things though.
Then I went on with my week… Things did not go exactly as I planned, plans change you know! It’s normal and expected, and because I knew that I could handle my week quite well, so I stuck to the initial idea to work daily on the major 2 projects I have, no matter when, and I didn’t even have to work for an extra hour.. I just noticed how much time is wasted in less important things, so I went for my favorite time management techniques: I prioritized my tasks with “Rule of 3”, then I “Spiraldexed” the day, and used some “Pomodoros” and… by Thursday I was done!
The idea is no to let my long running daily to do list control me.. Every morning I would put my long daily to do list, then choose the most important 3 tasks that I need to get done with first, I always included something of my major 2 projects in this list of 3.. Then I would use a spiraldex to be more conscious about how I spend my day, if 2-3 hours went by without working on one on my most important 3 tasks then I would put everything on hold and go work on my priority item then come back to whatever I was doing before. And since my major 2 projects are high intensity tasks, meaning I need to focus very well while working on it, I used the Pomodoro technique and zone out of any distractions until I’m done!
So I combined 3 distinct time management techniques that worked very well together: “Rule of 3” “Spiraldex” “Pomodoro technique”, and I made a daily page of my own on the back of my book of “to do list”, it looked like that:
What you see is a list of my top 3 priorities (some times when I’m done with them early I choose another 1 or 2 from the longer list), each with an assigned color, then a spiraldex, then a count of how many pomodoros I did throughout the day if I needed any. I also made a “key” out of a small card made of card stock I had laying around, and I attached it to the spiral binding of the book to be able to move it with me when I flip the page, and on the back of the card I made a small pocket to keep my spiraldex stickers that I made to last me the entire week.
The key had 3 colors for my priority 3 tasks for the day. Then 1 color for any other task I do from my “normal” to do list, and a 5th color for administrative work, and that is of an importance to me because this is the type of work the most time consuming and yet this is most probably the thing I can delegate but never do so! So I needed to see what I did about it throughout the day.
And finally, in pencil is what I call “lost time”, this category includes anything I do that is not work related, like chatting with a colleague or a break that took longer than it should! I always keep my eyes on this type of time consuming things that make you wonder at the end of the day “where the hell did my time go! and how come I didn’t get to do what I need to get done?” The “lost time” happens in between tasks, it’s usually the time that slips through out fingers without realizing.
Earlier in 2015 when I started using spiraldex to track my time, I realized that although the spiraldex is a time management technique it works better for me as time tracking technique. And since then I’ve always had “lost time” category within my key, even on my days off when I’m at home but have a lot of home related tasks to do. It helped me a lot to realize how I spend my time, and become much more intentional about it and think throughly about what I can do to stop wasting it.
The spiraldex in the picture made me conscious and intentional during and at the end of the day about how my day is doing and what needs attention on the spot and what can wait, you can see that my first day was not the best, I lost a lot of time, however thanks to these great time management techniques I pulled it together and saved the day. The rest of the week went a lot better with minimum time lost.
All of that made me work very well during this week that I decided to make a similar daily insert in my to-do book after that. I already did it but forgot to take a picture of it 😦
To sum it up, it was a very productive week, I accomplished almost all I wanted to do, the rest are things that can wait, and actually should wait.
And that is the story of how a pen and a paper saved my sanity and my poor nerves from burning out this week!
Hope this story would help and inspire you to be more conscious and intentional about your time.
Stay sane people!