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Do you use time maps (time schedules) and why?

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  • Do you use time maps (time schedules) and why?

    I continue to investigate GTD. My last post was about time mapping of Focus Areas as I thought it was of use. I still didn't get a prompt response from DavidCo staff about how they balance (actually what methods they use) their lives. Now I'd like to find out how many of you use time maps in their systems and why. If you have time you can describe how - I believe it would be of use to everyone who's interested.

    PS If you know how to keep balance between different life areas without time maps please let me know asap At the moment that's the only tool I know works quite good.

    Regards,

    Eugene.

  • #2
    Time Map

    What is a time map?

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    • #3
      Time map - is a schedule; it represents rather big blocks of time that you devote to this or that activity or area of life. For example - you can have the following time map: 9-17 work hours; 18-22 home hours that you can fill with corresponding activities.

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      • #4
        schedule?

        Thanks. But I'm confused as to how this is different from a regular schedule or calendar?

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        • #5
          I use time maps

          The main use for them is that it shows me definitely off limits times so that I will not double schedule them. My hard edges are actually rather soft as I may block off Saturday 12-5 as "couple time with husband", but instead it becomes 7am-noon because of other things going on.

          It doesnt matter to me as much "what" happens as that a certain amount of time gets devoted to it. I use a 2 page per week vertical columned planner (like Kewms was talking about in her post about going back to paper) and on Sundays after my weekly review I block off sections of time in color coded highligher for each area of focus I am definitely concerned with giving attention to in the coming week. Then when other obligations or requests for my time come up, I know how much time I have available and if that area of focus is already booked up for the coming week.

          Hope that helps!

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          • #6
            What Aspen said. The purpose of a time map is to make sure all of your personal priorities/focus areas are addressed, and that you know what you are giving up if you allow outside forces to dictate your schedule. Julie Morgenstern -- a popularizer of time maps, if not the inventor -- also emphasizes the need to know, and plan for, how long things actually take.

            For example, I study aikido, which is a 60 minute class two nights a week. Except I have to get there at least 15 minutes early in order to change, and will need at least 15 minutes to change back to street clothes after class. And the dojo is 30 minutes from my house, one way. So, that one hour class actually consumes a *minimum* 2.5 hour block of time. Either other appointments that come up have to be scheduled around that block, or my class is going to get bumped.

            Time mapping is also useful for less rigid commitments. For example, I need about an hour a day to deal with my email. I put it on my time map for first thing in the morning. It doesn't always happen then, but blocking out the time helps me make sure that it gets done at some point.

            A time map is generally more static than a daily calendar -- I review mine every 3-6 months. It's more like a class schedule.

            Katherine

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            • #7
              Here is how I time map...

              At the beginning of each "season" I adjust my time map - I just did it this week to adjust my life/work balance with my daughter's pre-school schedule (she is 3).

              I have to leave the house by 8:15am to get her to school by 8:30am and the school doors close at 8:45am so in outlook I have a recurring schedule "Drop CET" for 8:15-8:45am.

              I then travel to the gym to work out, takes me about 15 min of travel, plus workout, plus shower & change... so in Outlook I have a recurring schedule "Weight Training" for 8:45-10:15am.

              My commute to work takes about a half hour so in Outlook I have a recurring schedule "Commute" from 10:15-10:45am, and another "Commute" from 5:00-5:30pm.

              In between the commutes are my normal daily meeting schedules, "free time" to do daily work, weekly review schedules, etc.

              Outside of the above framework I try to leave all of my "personal time" as "open" and unscheduled, unless I have a firm commitment to be somewhere at a certain time (such as "7:00pm Saturday - Dinner w/Friends @ Place A")

              Of course this is all just a framework that I set up every once in a while. Sh*t happens and one MUST be flexible and adjust to the daily workload!

              James

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