Thursday, June 11, 2009

Time Management

I am an organized procrastinator. My Book is where I stash everything I need/ want to keep track of: travel plans, holiday menus, family birthdays, housecleaning chores, church assignments, as well as writing projects. I'm free of sticky notes tucked in my purse, or picky details tumbling around in my head. It's all kept in the Book.

I select an empty-looking day on the calendar and jot down a task, blocking out enough time to accomplish it. When I know it's on the schedule, I don't think about it again until it pops up on my "to do" list. I can put it off and still know it will get done.

Here are some entries on my summer pages for an upcoming Oma story.

  1. Set up folder, determine objective, prepare outline.
  2. Write 1st draft of story.
  3. Find fun ghostly words; rewrite with better vocab.
  4. Search for font, decide size.
  5. Divide story into short sections for pages using correct font size.
  6. Decide and list what images would best illustrate each page.
  7. Photo shoot/ find images.
  8. Layout book with images.
  9. Create cover and extra pages.
  10. Edit/Proofread. Make changes. Burn Disk.
  11. Take disk to printers.
  12. Send books.
This list looks overwhelming to me. But when I turn to Wednesday morning and see that I've already blocked out 2 hours to "search for a font," I look forward to it. Eventually I finish whatever I've started without a lot of stress.

September 30th I'll read, "Find Halloween costumes in box under bed, Dee's side. Decide on having a party." On Thanksgiving I'll see a note I made last January that says, "Get Christmas decor: 4 boxes, 3 plastic bags in storage garage." This week I was reminded to plan for Father's Day, and next Thursday I've got an entry that says, "Oma tent activities in file under reunion." When I finish with the file and put it away, I'll quickly write on next year's calendar where to find it.

A kitchen timer helps me break up tasks and get them done. I used this little trick when I was first married. Pretending my mom had called saying she was coming to visit unexpectedly at 9:30 am, I charged through my housecleaning and had everything pristine early in the morning. I'm much more efficient when I set a deadline. These days I use the timer to motivate or terminate projects; when it dings, I give myself two minutes to wrap things up.

Now, I'll confess something: I started this post on April 10, 2008, but I never finished it. I found it last night lost in my drafts. I set my timer for 30 minutes at 11:15 pm, and it's now the next day at 2:40 am. The timer has gone off numerous annoying times, and I finally shut if off. And to top it off, I'm not sure I even like what I've written. But it's past my bedtime. Somehow time always manages to run away with me!


Gordita said...

Great idea with the kitchen timer. I have no concept of time: when I think something will take me 20 minutes to complete, it typically takes me 40 or 60. Timing myself might help me gain a concept of how long things take. Thanks!

Soul-Fusion said...

Hi, a lurker here. I just have to say that I love the idea of adding notes in the future about where things are stashed. I throw a holiday party once a year and it would be great to have a note pop up in my calendar reminding me what I would do differently. Great suggestions!

gab said...

Way to be, Mom!

care020 said...

I love your suggestions. I am trying to keep everything in my phone, as I prepare myself for a Blackberry. Reminders about where to find things is a fabulous idea.

diane said...

I use the sticky note method. It doesn't work well. Sometimes I stick a note on my chest so I won't forget.