Near the beginning of 2016, I blogged about this year being a Leap Year. I suggested that with planning, I would be able to leverage that extra day to review the trajectory of my year and do any course correction needed to meet my yearly goals. To do this, I need to know what my goals for the year are and what my plan to get there looks like. The key areas I mentioned in the blog post were day-to-day time management, work back schedule, goal construction, and milestones. I’m reporting back on how I did with those areas and how I did with my extra day.
Writing a weekly blog is a worthwhile process--one that is both challenging and rewarding. Despite our best efforts, Andy Ruth and I don't always get around to it every week. The hardest part is finding time. Through the successes and failures, I have come to realize the key is discovering the gaps of downtime between daily tasks and then learning how to utilize those breaks. For example, look for time between meetings and during breaks for coffee or lunch. You can also mentally prepare in the car (or public transit) and when you are getting ready in the morning (in the shower). About 10-15 minutes a day is all you really need, but remember: don’t limit yourself to 15 minutes if you are on a roll.
One of my writing friends gives all her workshop students toothbrushes. She tells her students, “This is one of the most important writing tools I can give you. Use this twice a day: once in the morning and once at night.” The toothbrush does two things for these creative misfits who spend too much time in their heads thinking about stories:
Throughout history, accomplished women and men have been sharing their daily schedules with the world in hopes that others will be just as successful. Their audience is broad and stretches from the young adults learning how to manage their first full-time job to managers and business owners looking for life hacks to shave an hour off their work day. Over the past few years, authors such as Timothy Ferriss, Chris Guillebeau, and Mason Currey (as well as many bloggers), have compiled lists of rituals and routines into books that have become bestsellers. Some of the advice are good reminders for past routines we have fallen out of, and some of it is just downright odd.
Being busy is not a synonym for productivity.
The thought in the old paradigm was: A busy person will find a way for it to get done. Nowadays, the saying is: A busy person will find a way for it to get done… until they burn out.
The question people should be asking is “How should I manage my energy?” not “How should I manage my time?”
What is your weekly word count? I read the results of a study by Xerox that stated an informed worker reads 1,000,000 words per week. Let’s put that in perspective. 1,000,000 is the same as reading the book War and Peace twice! I took apart my week to see how much I read so I could prioritize my reading and find some way to better manage the time I spend reading - I hope you do the same. I did not include any pleasure reading or content to help me learn new things. I only included the work-related reading that is needed to be functional in my job and stay current.