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  • Scheduling help...

    I work from home, self employed so what I do and when I do it during the day is pretty much in my own hands, which is great.

    However im coming against abit of a problem. I find my days lack any solid structure what so ever. I use a moleskine GTD implementation and will pretty much just willy nilly go from next action to the next, regardless of context or efficiency. Thus i'm suffering from alot of task switching and very little batching seems to get done. I move from one high priority item to the next.

    Now i know you're only meant to put hard landscape things in your calendar, but does anyone with a extremely flexible word day like myself block out areas of time? For instance 1 hour on @computer, 30 mins @Calls...etc?

    Also the two minute rule with one particular case. I get *alot* of SMS/Txt msgs from friends, now i've pretty much followed the 2 min rule in this situation...as it would take me say 30 seconds to respond. But sometimes it feels like im inundated with huge SMS conversations. Would this be one point where it might be better off avoiding the two min rule for the sake of productivity and batching this and setting aside a specific time during the day?

    Thanks

  • #2
    Originally posted by kingfu View Post
    I work from home, self employed so what I do and when I do it during the day is pretty much in my own hands, which is great.

    However im coming against abit of a problem. I find my days lack any solid structure what so ever. I use a moleskine GTD implementation and will pretty much just willy nilly go from next action to the next, regardless of context or efficiency. Thus i'm suffering from alot of task switching and very little batching seems to get done. I move from one high priority item to the next.

    Now i know you're only meant to put hard landscape things in your calendar, but does anyone with a extremely flexible word day like myself block out areas of time? For instance 1 hour on @computer, 30 mins @Calls...etc?

    Also the two minute rule with one particular case. I get *alot* of SMS/Txt msgs from friends, now i've pretty much followed the 2 min rule in this situation...as it would take me say 30 seconds to respond. But sometimes it feels like im inundated with huge SMS conversations. Would this be one point where it might be better off avoiding the two min rule for the sake of productivity and batching this and setting aside a specific time during the day?

    Thanks
    1. Yes, I routinely block out "appointments" for myself to lend some structure and focus to my day.

    2. The two minute rule technically applies to processing your inbox -- not to handling every new input before it even gets to the inbox. Some things must be dealt with right away (emergencies), others do not. You simply have to decide whether the incoming thing is a higher priority than what you were about to do next: if it is, deal with it; if not, throw it in the inbox.

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    • #3
      Thanks for your reply.

      With regards to number 2. I use my sms inbox on my phone as my inbox for sms messages, I don't extract them from it as it would take too much time. The problem is once I checked to see if the SMS was important or not (the latter usually being the case) it is very hard to continue the rest of the day as i'll constantly keep thinking about the reply.

      I could create a next action for each SMS reply to take my mind off it, but then that would take up more time than simply replying.

      Seems im caught between a rock and a hard place. The only thing I can think of is keeping my phone off most the time, and only checking it at certain times of the day.

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      • #4
        I realize that SMS are instantaneous, but I think it would be best for you to treat them like email processing. From experience, I guarantee you it is best to put in a next action such as "process all SMS that come in after I last checked" and then do those in one swoop. Process them maybe every few hours or at particular times during the day.

        Another tool I use is to identify a few projects, NAs or contexts I will address for that day. I will also set occasional real appointments with myself that I have to keep.

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        • #5
          For work at home I got a kitchen timer off ebay for about £1 ($2) and use that when I want to spend 40 minutes on one project. It helps having the timer, as it lets me ignore emails and sms messages until after the timer runs out.

          By the way I normally use 40 minutes as that's meant to be the optimal amount of time to spend concentrating on something before taking a break!

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          • #6
            I lay out a very broad schedule. Like, the first hour of my day is spent on little habits (running, Tai Chi, pulling out my tickler for the day), then I spend an hour on non-creative work, then I spend about four hours on creative work, usually in 30-60 minute chunks.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by kingfu View Post
              But sometimes it feels like im inundated with huge SMS conversations. Would this be one point where it might be better off avoiding the two min rule for the sake of productivity and batching this and setting aside a specific time during the day?
              The 2 minute rule does not say you should do each and every task the moment it pops up just beacause it takes less than 2 minutes. The 2 minute rule is about when you are processing your inbox.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by sdann View Post
                I guarantee you it is best to put in a next action such as "process all SMS that come in after I last checked" and then do those in one swoop. Process them maybe every few hours or at particular times during the day.
                Hmm I could give that a go, however surely that would mean i constantly have that as a next action which is always on my @calls list? Its not worth crossing it off and then rewriting it immediately from what i can imagine?

                I don't want to litter my calendar with "check phone" events every few hours...so i guess its going to be a case of going with your suggestion and trying to implement the habit of only checking them every few hours.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by rangi500 View Post
                  For work at home I got a kitchen timer off ebay for about £1 ($2) and use that when I want to spend 40 minutes on one project. It helps having the timer, as it lets me ignore emails and sms messages until after the timer runs out.

                  By the way I normally use 40 minutes as that's meant to be the optimal amount of time to spend concentrating on something before taking a break!
                  Thanks for the timer suggestion, i'm going to implement this!! One question tho, you mention the time you spend on projects. Does this mean you dedicate those 40 mins chunks of time to projects instead of contexts? i.e. you work on a project for that length of time rather than working in a certain context for that length of time?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cpu_Modern View Post
                    The 2 minute rule does not say you should do each and every task the moment it pops up just beacause it takes less than 2 minutes. The 2 minute rule is about when you are processing your inbox.
                    Ah I was under the belief that the 2 min rule was designed so quick tasks are just done, bypassing your inbox and system, to get them out your head. So you're saying even quick tasks are best entered into your inbox?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kingfu View Post
                      Ah I was under the belief that the 2 min rule was designed so quick tasks are just done, bypassing your inbox and system, to get them out your head. So you're saying even quick tasks are best entered into your inbox?
                      Correct. Otherwise you'd never finish anything that required concentration, because you'd be interrupting yourself every time a two-minute idea popped into your head.

                      Katherine

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                      • #12
                        Though feel free to use your intuition. Sometimes, an urgent, important 2-minute action is best taken care of immediately.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by kingfu View Post
                          Ah I was under the belief that the 2 min rule was designed so quick tasks are just done, bypassing your inbox and system, to get them out your head. So you're saying even quick tasks are best entered into your inbox?
                          You don't want to interrupt a task that requires concentrated attention to do 2-minute items. You really don't want to teach others that they can interrupt you at any time if "it will only take 2 minutes." On the other hand, there are times when just doing a two-minute item is a good idea. If you are cranking through your email, and a two-minute item arrives in your inbox, you may choose to just do it. It's all advanced common sense, habitually applied, not rigid rules.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for clearing up my misinterpretation of the 2 minute rule everyone.

                            Now doubt my productivity is going to improve even more!

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                            • #15
                              Try the Unschedule

                              Have you tried the Unschedule? (From "The Now Habit" by Neil Fiore)

                              It's basically a schedule of your day with a twist. Instead of blocking out chunks of work time, you block out your play time and do your work around those blocks. I've found that knowing I have time to play locked down makes doing my actual work that much easier. (I work full-time and am getting a second undergrad - I need all the discipline I can get to do homework when I get home from the day job.)

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