Hi there. I’ve got fifteen minutes to write, and I thank you for taking a few minutes to read. This is fun, isn’t it?
I’ve been thinking about the way I organize my days lately, and how I set up my schedule to accomplish the most possible in the time I have. I’m sure you’ve had days when it seems like there are a constant string of interruptions, emails, instant messages and alerts.
When I have those days, it feels like nothing gets done. Instead of getting just one big thing accomplished, I tend to myriad little things, and at the end of the day (or even just the end of the hour) I look back and can’t really point to anything that I’ve accomplished that’s significant.
That bugs the heck out of me.
So, how can I make an impact?
One blogger and novelist suggested that the way she writes is called “time blocking.” She outlines the key things she wants to get accomplished, and estimates how long each will take. Then her blocks of time are stacked, rearranged or pushed forward based on her own whims.
- Meet with boss – 1 hour
- Work on RFP content – 2 hours
- Update marketing class – 90 minutes
- Revise video graphics – 90 minutes
And so on. (You think those are the only things on my plate? HA!)
The point is that I have a sense of my key projects and the time I need to devote just to get them done. Interruptions slow me down. Answering questions from email drains precious minutes from those time blocks.
So my goal is to change the way I work. Instead of bouncing in and out of email, I’m ignoring it (gasp!) for an hour and just getting a single project done. Without those interruptions, I complete the time block faster and with greater depth of thought.
And, as my friend Nancy Morris reminds us, it’s not about time. It’s about priorities. Even though it looks like I’m just arranging my schedule and time, what’s really happening is that I choose to place a priority on accomplishment, that I let myself go deep deep deep into what really matters at the exclusion of all else, at least for that hour or two.
How do you manage your time and priorities? Do you toggle back and forth between screens on your computer when email messages pop up? Consider how depth of focus in these time blocks might make you more productive, or at least take a little frenetic energy out of your day.