Time Management, Again

Some more interesting tips, this time by one Wouter:

Cut up the time you have in blocks that are your most effective time unit. App. 3-4 hours might have to be allocated per block.

One thing that I have realized from the article is that when a block is so large i.e. 3-4 hours, the division of time happens not over a day, but over a week. We plan for the week and then make our plan more detailed on a per-day basis.

Always schedule the hard work first.

Not even mail checking – as it is the easier and more entertaining task.

Each hour not spent working hard in class will cost you several hours outside class to get the equivalent work/learning done, meaning you are just throwing away time.

Alas, the word class is not in my life anymore, but it can be replaced with office.

Put as much variety in a day without cutting up blocks.

This way one does not get bored with doing the same task for a long time. Without cutting up blocks is the most important thing to note – anything less than a block will result in thrashing. It is also a good exercise for me, if I make my block size as 2-3 hours, to increase my concentration skills.

The secret to getting things done, is doing regular chunks of work on it. Letting large tasks accumulate is a surefire way of running out of time for it.

Yet another classic gem!!

For certain kinds of activities, such as programming, it is possible to get “stuck” in a certain task. Give yourself a short amount of time (up to max 30 minutes) to try to overcome the problem, but don’t allow yourself to stare blankly at a problem forever without progress. As soon as you detect that you are really stuck, switch to doing another task for the remainder of the block or day. Next time you revisit this task, you are more likely to able to tackle it. Two effects contribute here: first, when you are focussed, you can forget surrounding issues and fail to see the problem. When you go back to a task you may have a better perspective. Second, the way the mind works, even though your conscious mind is occupied with a new task, the old task still is still lingering on in the back of your mind, and things may “click” even while working on other tasks! Or simply looking at other things may work inspirational to your background thinking on a previous task. In general, by interleaving tasks and projects during a day or week, you get a lot of thinking done “for free”, in terms of time, especially when more complicated learning / designing / problem solving is involved.

Brilliant!!! (Emphasis mine) I completely agree with the author here.

Be serious about tracking all your tasks/todo’s. If you don’t do accurate tracking, your mind will spend time constantly reminding itself that it must not forget to do a certain task. If it is securely tracked, your mind will be more at ease that you are in control of what you need to do and it will be more focussed on executing the actual task.

There is no such thing as “not having time”, there are only priorities.

Time and again it always boils down to priority – which is deeply related with one’s long term goals and vision. Unless that end goal is not clear (I may be wrong), priority does not make sense to a human being.

[With a todo list] Essentially what you are doing is keeping track of what you want to be doing, and only doing the highest priority items. Think about it, if you spend all your time doing the highest priority items, you will have spent your time automatically in the best way, assuming you assign priorities well. And there will always be something interesting to do, no matter what you do. You are never bored. Once you realise this, it is a liberating thing rather than frustrating.

One thing that you have the give up is the sense of wanting to be complete

Keep track of what time certain activities cost in the week, and optimize accordingly.

Data generally has novel and useful insights.

If you can’t train yourself to do work even with a distraction at your fingertips, your mind will always find excuses to do something else, no matter how much you limit yourself.

If you leave forcing yourself to work to the ultimate deadlines in your life that determine failure or success, you will spend most of your time procrastinating, and a small amount of time working real hard and stressing out. This may get you through life, but it isn’t very satisfying. If you want to do more with your life, you can’t rely on these “deadlines” to guide you, but you have to build up more discipline out of your own motivation. Again, this is HARD. Your first motivation should probably be, that you have too much pride not to be in control of your own mind. But more importantly, you probably want to get more out of your time than you get now.

Hmm.. this guy is onto something really interesting!!! This kind of contradicts with priorities – the very act of binding something to some long term vision/goal/satisfaction. That’s why probably he says – its HARD!!


One thought on “Time Management, Again

  1. Time management is always a problem when you don’t have a sertain plan. The hardest thing is to find a way to keep this plan always with you. I struggled to manage my time, but I suceeded only with the help of Wrike, it’s a tool that I use for project management and planning. You might wanna check it out http://www.wrike.com/

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