Time Management

First I talk about money management advice from John Scalzi, and now time management?
Well, it’s a crazy time for me right now. When spring is in the air, and a wedding (and marriage) are on the horizon, a young(er) man’s thoughts turn to…
Google Calendar.
Thanks to a tip from the terribly useful Parent Hacks, I’ve been poking around the Zen Habits website, which has really been resonating with me, mostly due to the timing of my discovering it — right now, I NEED some good advice or organizing multiple, unrelated tasks.
How unrelated? Consider the bullet list of ‘to-do’ items on my ‘as they occur to me’ notepad:

  • Bendy straws.
  • Send hard copy of Hidden Things to [agent]
  • Copy [list of DVDs] to external HDD (DRM can Die in a Fire, in my humble opinion)
  • Get replacement tuxedo elements
  • Get tux info for groomsmen
  • Short story for Wicked Words
  • Car shopping
  • Research preschools
  • For Galactic: […] (plot thing that people don’t need to see)
  • [TV Pilot idea I dreamt last night]
  • Editing Galactic RPG for Matt

And that’s just what I’ve written down in the last two days. Most of those have been crossed off in the last hour or so, as I have transferred them from the easy-to-carry notepad to Google Calendar and generous time slots where they have the best chance of getting done (early in the day, before other stuff can pile up) — all of which is part of the “Zen to Done, Mini-version” that’s proposed by the Zen-blog author, an edited version of which I have scribbled down in the front of that same notepad.

  1. Collect – tasks, ideas, projects, information. Categorize as you collect.
  2. Process – take that collected list (and/or your email or snailmail inbox) and:
    1. Trash it.
    2. Delegate it.
    3. Do it (if it’s quickly done).
    4. File it (such as writing ideas or tax information).
    5. Add it to the calendar/to-dos (see “plan”)
  3. Plan – Set up Big Jobs for the week: either Important Stuff or an intentially-clumped series of little things.
  4. Do – Do the big things early in the day. Don’t multitask. Focus.

I recommend checking out the site if it’s something that seems remotely useful; it’s helped me get a tremendous amount of important things done in the last week or so since I’ve started working through things with this method, and (far more importantly) leaves me the time I want for things like:

  • Date Night!
  • Swing dancing!
  • IMAX with Kaylee!

Which, to-do lists aside, are far-and-away the most Important Things.