I’m working on a framework for how I’m living my life, because I’m concerned that I’m not using my time well, and that I’ve got an off-skew work/life/self balance. To look into this, I’ve developed the following method. This post will be long, but it’ll be useful once I get to the end of things.
Here’s the exercise: Snapshot the current picture. Recommend improvements. Build Plans. Execute. Review.
One of my time sink habits is email. I spend *way* too much time in email.
Part of this comes from trying to operate a virtual company. The other part comes from a customer service focus that suggests I write back everyone who responds to a post of mine. The third part is that I’m actually trying to land deals, research the market, promote things.
When you let life live you, you’re no longer channeling your energy in a useful way.
There used to be other wasters of my time. I love video games, and could play Halo 2 for hours (only with other players). I love surfing RSS feeds and learning new things, trying to make sense and connections between bigger orbits than my puny brain permits in standalone mode. I used to waste LOTS of time on the internet chasing shiny objects of all types. Years ago, I was addicted to chat. Now, I’m still a social creature and like using IM clients, but I try to limit my usage. Skype is still mostly a tool for me, and not a need.
I’m better on lots of fronts, but I need even MORE productivity out of myself, and that’s going to require that I focus even harder.
Snapshot the current picture. Recommend improvements. Build Plans. Execute. Review.
I’m waking at 6AM, and spend nearly 2 hours in the morning with my family. I leave the house for work around 8, arriving at the office at some point past 9AM. Observation: I’m eating too much fast food breakfasts, basically because I go there for the iced coffee
My day job is fine — not especially challenging, but it’s been more interesting of late. I use some of the time during the day to think about the new business, to occasionally sneak in a blog post, and to correspond via email.
I leave work around 5:15PM and get home before 6:30PM. I eat something (not often with the family, but sometimes). I spend the next hour and a half with my son and daughter, and put them to bed by around 8PM. I don’t really get to work until around 9PM (depending on what’s on the go). I like to spend time with my wife, and we get an hour or so in the evenings before I scurry off to do projects.
I work from 9PM until 2AM most nights, drifting in productivity capability somewhere around 1:00AM. That’s almost 5 extra hours a night I’m reclaiming, boiled down to about 3 productive-quality hours, if you chew up sleepiness, bathroom visits, kid bathroom visits, snacks, etc.
Observations and Improvements:
- I check email too often– I should kill gmail notifier and use IM/phone/Skype when I’m waiting on something time sensitive. I should set up 3 30 minute email check-ins total for the day, and call it good. (tough one)
- I’m not prioritizing fitness– I view fitness as something to get to, once I finish other tasks. The problem is that the other tasks are overwhelming, and I will never “get to” fitness. It needs to be made a priority task for daily.
- I have no official system for GTD– I’m using my knowledge of systems, but not using the easy frameworks already in place. This is easy, but requires a quick time investment to set it all back up.
- My family is great– I could do to spend more dates with my wife, but overall, I’m happy with my family involvement.
- I’m not reading much– With so much on the go, and so much of it in front of a computer, I need to set aside reading time at least once a week. (I used to read 2 hours daily).
- I need a “parking lot”– Ideas are coming at me faster than I can manage them, and I’m trying to move on too many of them at the same time. Until such time as I can find a business partner that’s equally energetic, and that has the combination of creative and technical skills to seamlessly take what I’m doing and run, I need to “park” some of these ideas.
- My commute could be used better– After this week, I’ll be back to remote operations on a few days a week. That’ll give me back almost 3 hours on those days that I was spending in a car. I split this time between family and projects.
- I need help– No, not mental help, but that’s probably true, too. I need to find easy ways to share some of the back end of this business, and see if I can shift that to others. I’ll get more on that later.
I could keep going, but that’s enough for now. Maybe too much.
- Build a Time Allowance. — Give myself 4 work hours and 1 email hour a day. Give myself 30 minutes fitness guaranteed. Look for 30 more as family activity.
- Within that Allowance.– Split those 4 hours into 1 hour production, 2 hours editing, 1 hour promoting. Use a timer.
- “Day Off”– Take a day off one night a week. Take another on a weekend night.
- Fitness.– Execute Core Performance Essentials 3-4 times a day. No, really.
- Food. — Get some travel meals and go back to making my own coffee. I had it for a short while.
- GTD. — Collection on 3×5, Schedule on Google Calendar. Projects/Lists on BackPack. Decided. Done.
- Parking Lot. — Backpack..until I find a suitable business partner.
- Help. — I think that the better I get at providing frameworks and workflows, the better people will be able to jump in. In some cases, I haven’t yet determined which parts to cede, to better the greater good. This is just a placeholder.
Well, this is the trick, eh? I’ll copy out the list just above this, and I’ll try it for four weeks and see what happens. I’ll reflect on what I learn, and see if I can tame things a bit.
Anything you want to add?