Thursday, July 31, 2008

Efficiency/Effectiveness tip: start the timer


I often work with a timer running. It's a kitchen timer that has a count-up feature. It tracks how long I spend on things. I have to pause the timer when I switch to another task, because I need an accurate record of how long I spent on some tasks. In particular, I need to know how long I spend on each billable task each day.

I've found I can sometimes get more done if I just go ahead and start the timer for a specific task. Rather than getting good and ready to get going, I'm now doing it. Because the timer is running, I need to be working on the task. And I'd really rather not stop the timer and go do something else, so I tend to stay working on the task at hand.

The timer's counting reminds me that I'm working on a specific task. It makes it easier for me to keep working on that task.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Work Management Plan 1

WMP0 didn't work out so well. It was way too complicated, and required too much self-regulatory energy (i.e., self control).

Here's a new Work Management Plan, WMP1The idea of WMP1 is to be sure big projects get worked reliably, and escape the tyranny of communication (email and telephone calls).

-- BIG WORK: Work for the first few hours of the day on my biggest project. Stop about half way through the day. During this period, let calls go to voicemail.

-- EMAIL: At least one hour before the end of the workday, check email and create tickets/to-do notes for new projects.

-- SMALL WORK: Work through the list of other small tasks. Review and preferably touch every task.

-- PLAN: Before the end of the day, write down the tasks that need to be done next.