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MyPersonalProductivity

 

Mobile analogue or hybrid organisational and time-management system

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Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Feb 11, 2018 at 10:23 PM

 

Dr Andus wrote:
>Also, it’s not so much the passage of time I want to mark as such but the allocation and protection of ringfenced time.

You may want to check this out https://www.timetimer.com/collections/all

There’s a software version as well, where multiple timers of different colours can be set.

 


Posted by Paul Korm
Feb 11, 2018 at 10:24 PM

 

You write tasks / appointments on the transparent notes and reposition them on the diary as needed—the grid shows through so it’s not hidden.


Paul Korm wrote:
>>I’d also suggest the Kokuyo Jibun sticky notes and their sticky to-do
>>notes.

Dr Andus wrote:
>I didn’t fully understand how the transparent sticky notes work, though
>the notebook they are stuck into does look intriguing!

 


Posted by Dr Andus
Feb 11, 2018 at 10:27 PM

 

Alexander Deliyannis wrote:
Try doing the same with ADHD and then get back on track rather than
>going off on a tangent…

Good point. Probably I’ve been sucked into the internet more often than I realise, when I only wanted to record a thought… Down the rabbit hole…

I’ll try my little notebook instead when I’m not working digitally, to see if that leads to more self-discipline.

 


Posted by kjxymzy
Feb 12, 2018 at 12:19 AM

 

I’d look into Cal Newport’s time blocking methods w/ a notebook/paper. He is also an academic and has to deal with a lot of the admin/teaching time eating issues.

Here is a basic overview of the time block method =>
http://calnewport.com/blog/2013/12/21/deep-habits-the-importance-of-planning-every-minute-of-your-work-day/

> I call this planning method time blocking. I take time blocking seriously, dedicating ten to twenty minutes every evening to building my schedule for the next day. During this planning process I consult my task lists and calendars, as well as my weekly and quarterly planning notes. My goal is to make sure progress is being made on the right things at the right pace for the relevant deadlines.

> This type of planning, to me, is like a chess game, with blocks of work getting spread and sorted in such a way that projects big and small all seem to click into completion with (just enough) time to spare.
—-
> Sometimes people ask how time blocking can work for reactive work, where you cannot tell in advance what obligations will enter your life on a given day. My answer is again simple: periods of open-ended reactivity can be blocked off like any other type of obligation. Even if you’re blocking most of your day for reactive work, for example, the fact that you are controlling your schedule will allow you to dedicate some small blocks (perhaps at the schedule periphery) to deeper pursuits.
===

There are some good examples of him using the method to deal with unexpected interruptions in the academic world here:
http://calnewport.com/blog/2015/09/29/deep-habits-three-recent-daily-plans/

And here is a nice way to elegantly combine todo lists and your tasks with time blocking:
http://calnewport.com/blog/2007/12/03/monday-master-class-dont-plan-your-day-with-a-to-do-list/

He also emphasizes weekly planning:
http://calnewport.com/blog/2014/08/08/deep-habits-plan-your-week-in-advance/

In his recent post, basically about CRIMPing w/ paper productivity systems, he also notes what he keeps along with his weekly/daily plan:

> My weekly plan documents have grown to contain more than just the daily schedule sketches. They include quite a bit of narrative around projects I’m working on, summaries of habits I’m developing, reminders about values I’ve been neglecting. I’ll also sometimes move over lists of key tasks I’m working on during the task blocks that week, or summarize my most relevant temporary plans. All in all, they become pretty wild documents…


I use Excel and block every hour into 40 and 20 min segments. Along with the focus of the block (project 1, project 2), I leave a blank column to fill with tasks by hand.

40 min segments I always do *work* (sans for long lunch break). 20 min segments I do maintenance/daily routine things: morning routine, breakfast, walk, nap, email etc

So my day is basically:
640-7 Wake/coffee
740 Current Project  
740-8 Walk dog
8-840 Current project
840-9 Read email
9-940 Current project
...
5-540 Review day/plan next


My mornings are firmly blocked this way. Afternoons are open and I adjust blocks based on appointments/meetings/calls etc


So I print out this schedule along with a project lists w/ tasks for each project. As I hit work blocks, I fill in the tasks Im working on by hand.

The reason I interleave work and everything else like this is that I am prone to getting hyper focused and burning out early in the day (which also leads to bad mood). I’ve also noticed I get a lot more done when I interleave things this way versus working in long chunks. 40 min is just enough to get into a flow state, but short enough to prevent letting your brain idle in circles.


I have much more freedom than you, so I’m not sure how my system would work for you in an academic setting. Based on my little knowledge of academic work, hard obligations like class times/office hours/meeting would be a solid block, but everything else would be up to you how to block. I would focus on creating as many *sacred* 20/40 min blocks of work for real research/writing.

 


Posted by kjxymzy
Feb 12, 2018 at 12:24 AM

 

Addendum:

I wanted to emphasize this sort of time blocking keeps you cognizant of where your time is going. I keep alarms/reminders to make sure to switch tasks/blocks. You know where every minute is going during the work day.

This system may feel fragile, but is quite robust once you get used to playing with blocks. I want to emphasize this robustness by reposting how Newport tackles interruptions here:
http://calnewport.com/blog/2015/09/29/deep-habits-three-recent-daily-plans/

Also, the links above are short blog posts and easy reads if you are concerned about getting lost in 20 minute essays on productivity/time management.

 


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