Thursday, February 28, 2008

Workday scheduling method 0

In the past, I've tried to schedule my work days in advance based on project commitments (contracts), and when the customers wanted things completed. I could leave time for unscheduled events. I could leave flexibility for meetings, and for projects than ran too long.

But I can't find a way to account for cases where the customer first says he's ready, then it turns out he's actually not. The work I've carefully planned for suddenly becomes impossible. This is probably a result of scheduling work instead of scheduling on-site time in which work is to be done. When you're on site with a customer, it doesn't matter whether they're ready for you or not. You're just there. But being there when the customer isn't ready is a waste of everyone's time, and the customer's money.

Customers want me to reserve time for them, and make promises. E.g., promise that you can finish this 10 hours of work by the end of the week. But when I do so, and I organize my other work around it, and I reserve time to complete this 10 hours of work, then the customer still might renege on his willingness for me to start the work this week. I.e., I'm unable to  

But I have to find some way to inject sanity into my workday. I've got to find a method that works.

Workday Scheduling Method 0.

1. Read email. (1a) If responding can be delayed, then leave the email open in a window, and minimize the window. (1b) If I can readily respond and delaying a response would limit someone's ability to do their own work, then respond immediately, and close the email.

2. Review project list. (2a-runnable) Create a to-do item for each workable task stating exactly what can be accomplished in the day.  (2b-iowait) Create a to-do item for each non-runnable task where I'm waiting on input, or information, or approval from someone else; this to-do item says to contact the people on whom I'm waiting.

3. Do each to-do item, then review each email. (3a) Start with the longest task of the day with a deadline; give this task four hours. (3b) Do remaining tasks should be done earliest-deadline-first.

Condition A. At the end of the day, leave to-do items for the next day.

Condition B. If a task is an emergency, then do it before other remaining tasks. An "emergency" is a task that if ignored or delayed, could cause death or imprisonment.

Condition C. Don't check email or login to IM until the first work-task of the day is completed.

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