Last weekend I did manage to put together one week’s worth of time blocking. How did it go? Not great. Here is the schedule I came up with:
I did figure out that using the web version of the Outlook Calendar is a little more user friendly. I also figured out how to color code my blocks making the display more eye friendly. It took my about a half hour to come up with what you see above, which isn’t too bad. Again my goal is to plan out two weeks at a time, but with better familiarity with the calender user interface and a better idea of what I’m trying to do, I can probably do two weeks of planning in around 45 minutes over the weekend.
I’m using purple and orange to group tasks comprise the bulk of my work blocks. The first thing I notice when looking at this calendar is that I don’t spend as much time working as I thought. In reality, yesterday I found myself still catching up on tasks I had planned to do on Monday. This shows that I don’t have an accurate understanding of how long it takes me to get things done. This is a good thing. It means I’m learning from this exercise and hopefully I can use this information to better budget my time and to also find inefficiencies that I can work on going forward.
Another thing I see now is that I tried to cram too much stuff in and this doesn’t account for unforeseen obstacles. Tuesday I realized I needed a hair cut, which I hadn’t planned a time block for. I also didn’t account for the extra 30 minutes it took for me to drive from one barber to another when the first wasn’t open. Wednesday I had trouble getting the printer to work and left the house late, throwing everything off. Some things you can’t foreseen, but maybe I need to be more realistic about how many of these blocks are really going to fit in a day. There will also be times I get things done faster than anticipated, giving myself time to catch up. Having the blocks helps me remember that I have stuff to catch up on, and not to just goof off for the remainder of the time. It helps me remember not to goof off, not to actually not goof off. That’s another topic.
I also struggle when it comes time to sit down and boring tasks on the computer. I’ll put that off and put that off until the tasks pile up and and I can’t take the stress of worrying about how I’m ever going to get them done. Eventually, I can’t endure the anxiety over how much work I have and I’ll actually sit down and spend a few hours catching up. If I could force myself to spend a few minutes every day chipping away at these tasks, it would be much more manageable and I’m sure I’d get much better quality work done.
So we’ll see if I can get to another time blocking section this weekend. As I’ve learned in my previous 30 day challenges, when I’m trying to modify habits, I usually do pretty well for the first two weeks. So let’s get to week two, then come up for a strategy to keep it going further. Or not.