I’ve gotta define a little more discipline in my days. I find myself prey to the same distractions as all mortals. For one, I pick at my email account like it’s a scab. Leave it ALONE, man. I’ve gotta stop that. So, I’m trying to work out a process to manage this. Here’s what I’ve got in mind.
- How much time do I have?
- Divide time 1/3 sweep , 1/3 work, 1/3 post
- Sweep- Read email, reply, move actions to To-Do
- Work- Variable. Do what needs doing. Read actionable list.
- Post- Save time to format for posts to various sites.
I think if I follow that very basic process, I’ll have better use of the time I’m scrounging for my projects.
I’ve been working on this premise of Time Quilting for a while. It comes from being a parent. Moms (and me, for that matter) have to find their time in bits and bobs. This is great, if you’re disciplined enough to use it. And, you have to have a sense of stopping and starting, and yet staying focused. I think I can manage that.
I use Firefox with multiple tabs open at all times. Some times, I’ll have several of my blogs open all at once, thinking of what I’m going to put where. Believe me, I’ve got content kids. The question is always where, and what’s appropriate to which one. However, because I’ve got a problem with not enough time in a row, and I get interrupted a lot, if I don’t have some way to approach the information the way it’s laid out in my head, I lose some of the bits. Enter: stripes.
I think this is probably nothing trickier than fatter columns on a spreadsheet. That’s what I decided to try. Here’s what I did.
- Create a free online spreadsheet using Zoho Sheet. (This program is so excellent!)
- Built out columns for each of my blogs and projects (about 20 characters wide).
- Set the entire spreadsheet to word wrap. WARNING: this takes a little while to execute. Just sit tight. (Click the empty box between the A and the 1 on the upper left of the spreadsheet to select all, then click the wrap button just to the left of autosum).
- Start typing out what needs covering in the various projects in my head.
- Refer to this list when I’ve time to execute parts of it.
- Grey out the completed ones.
- Move down the list in whatever pattern makes sense or feels good.
This is how my mind works on executing things. Now, this is all outside of a project view. It’s all in raw task format. I just thought about that while shaving. What if I want to compile a bunch of next actions for projects (doing it GTD style)? Well, that gets a bit more complex.
You see, the reason I end up using and then NOT using great software like BackPack and ToodleDo and all that is that it’s just *too* featureful. And yet, you’ve gotta add context to throw actions in line as a project full of next actions. Right? I think this becomes kind of an 80/20 rule, or a Covey Quadrant rule. I think it’s just plain easy once you figure a few things, and here’s what I’m going to do there:
Stripes into Plaid
- From left to right across the top, list the projects (in my case, mostly sites and podcasts).
- Color code MOST important stuff Green
- Stuff that needs doing Blue
- URGENT but not necessarily important RED
- 2 Minute Tasks don’t get on this list. Right?
So, from left to right, I’ve got projects. From top to bottom, in no big order, I list the things that need doing. I go in, highlight the spreadsheet cells with the color code listed. Not bad.
I think the only other thing I *could* do would require a stronger spreadsheet or a little more effort. I was thinking, “What if I wanted to sort by color?” Well, that means just throwing priority into the cell instead of color. Here’s how that could work.
- Just add the old 1, 2, 3 stuff BEFORE each task in the cell. Then sort alphabetically.
Stripes, plaid, and no software more tricky than a spreadsheet. Combined with my Time Quilt parser up top, I think I’ll try it out and see if this doesn’t net me even MORE control of my time.