In Part 1, we looked at areas over which you have control of your time. Specifically, we looked at how you control the conversation in your head about what you can do and also what conversations might be necessary to have with others. We also looked at understanding your peak ability times and controlling what activities go into that time block.
In Part 2, you seek to gather information so decisions can be made in a methodical manner.
1. Create a time log and monitor the amount of time each activity takes. This is not meant to be a tedious time-in-motion study. Rather, keep a written log (or use a phone app) that notes what time you begin something and when it is completed. What will also become clear is how many times you are interrupted.
2. With the time log, evaluate how long you thought a project would take versus the actual time. Make a note of what or who interrupts you and decide how to eliminate or minimize those distractions. Follow the advice of Cal Newport, professor of computer science from Georgetown University. He advocates eliminating all pop-ups from phone calls, text message, and any application that interrupts. Block out social media sites that pop-up at unwanted times. His book, Digital Minimalism, offers specific ways to control our interruptions in our lives.
3. Tackle the most difficult tasks when you are at your peak time. Break the tasks into 15-30-minute intervals so you can begin to see some forward momentum.
4. Prioritize activities and obligations after you understand the time commitments. If you need to perform tasks that are unfamiliar to you, remember to block out time for learning curves that could be steep. For example, when I traded in my 15 year-old car for a hybrid, I needed time to understand how to drive this piece of machinery which came with many strange sounds, warnings, and abilities. I had to learn how to use the Bluetooth technology, how to get the dashboard panel to read my phone’s map directions and more.