I know that I could be more efficient and accomplish what I must in far less time than I do. I’m losing hours and hours that could be spent on play and exploration and experimenting. For the last couple months I’ve been recording how I spend my time in excruciating detail. I recorded what my task was, how long I spent on it, what I accomplished, how often and by what I was distracted and how much time I spent in those distractions – even if they were small. It was a tedious and imperfect process that I did not enjoy but It has been enlightening.
I’ve got issues…..
I respond very well to structure – always have. When I’m teaching at Squam I can get a ton of stuff done, I’m happy, efficient, productive and relaxed – even though I’m super busy, I am in a place of ease. I would do very well living at summer camp permanently. At home I have not created much meaningful structure for myself. I’m surrounded by distractions and even more importantly I don’t have clearly defined work hours – that has me feeling like I’m working constantly when I’m really not. This is what’s really going on:
Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
2. smart hours
I am smarter and more creative in the morning, so that work has to come first – even if there is busy work that feels urgent. That stuff will always be there and will always feel urgent.
Also known as the internet…. I knew it was a problem but keeping a written log highlighted how much of a problem it is. What are these interruptions really costing me in time, focus and serenity?
I’m better with exercise. My brain and everything else works better when I’m consistent about it. I can focus for longer periods of time, I’m sharper, quicker and have more energy. The difference in my productivity is remarkable – the time investment is worth it. Always.
This is a real trouble spot. I waste a lot of time on email – looking at it, organizing, categorizing, flagging messages, and feeling guilty, embarrassed and overwhelmed. By the time I actually do something about it I’ve handled an email a number of times, stuff gets lost, overlooked etc. – in all that shuffling I’ve created confusion for myself and annoyance and inconvenience for others. I’m making a cumbersome and overwhelming task more cumbersome and more overwhelming by not just dealing with it once.
Just the awareness, observations and exercise of recording my days is having an effect on me. I think it would be a mistake to tackle all 5 issues full-on, all at once though, so I’m picking one to to work on this week: Email.
My big, scary, tangled inbox mess. I will handle email once. I won’t check it until I’m ready to deal with it immediately. And I’m committing an additional 30 minutes everyday to work on the current inbox debacle. I’ll let you know how it goes.