While going through my RSS feeds a couple of days ago, I struck gold when I discovered an old post of Seth Godin’s that he’d linked to in a recent update:
The world’s worst boss
That would be you.
Even if you’re not self-employed, your boss is you. You manage your career, your day, your responses. You manage how you sell your services and your education and the way you talk to yourself.
Odds are, you’re doing it poorly.
If you had a manager that talked to you the way you talked to you, you’d quit. If you had a boss that wasted as much of your time as you do, they’d fire her. If an organization developed its employees as poorly as you are developing yourself, it would soon go under.
While the entire concept is quite a big reality check, it’s that last paragraph that really stood out to me. The rest of the (short) post is also well worth reading.
The reality check comes in the understanding that if I were to actually be “managing” my workflow properly, I would be doing things quite differently from the way I do things now.
Not only would I be getting more work done (likely in a lot less time), but I also would no longer be leaving things until last minute.
If I manage myself better, slipping into a work rhythm will probably feel less like a chore and more like a habit.
I’ll admit, for productivity’s sake alone, I should definitely have a lot more structure with regards to the way I work than I have now. If I were managing my time more efficiently, I’d set aside a specific time or system for getting a specific kind of work done. With a particular time set aside for writing new posts, a second set aside for editing pictures, and maybe even a third for brainstorming post ideas, I think I could do a lot of good to my productivity as well as my stress levels. My work time will likely be shorter at least in part due to the fact that I won’t need to think about what to do, I’ll just know to do it.
Those parts of my workflow that I do structure typically tend to be incredibly productive – I would not have been able to accomplish nearly as much if I hadn’t had a regular schedule for them. While I don’t want to completely plan out my entire day, I’m glad I have at least some structure to my mornings (my personal peak time for working), and I think I should grow that structure into a full-out system. It doesn’t have to be long. My current morning routine can be done in about 30 min if I try hard enough; I can simply schedule a certain kind of task that needs to get done, and once it is, I can stop working and do something else. That way, if I’m having a slow/laggy day, it’s fine. I can take longer and waste my own time. But if I just want to blitz through the work for the day, I can do that as well.
I haven’t worked out time slots yet, though I’ve been mulling them over a little over the past couple of days. I think I’ll probably start implementing a new scheduling system this weekend. Will be nice to see if I’ve stuck to it a month from now.
Regardless of particulars, I’ll need to start managing my own time better. And while there are so many other things besides simply writing new posts, editing pictures, and brainstorming that I could be time slotting, I feel I do many of those other tasks reasonably well, completely unsolicited and without structure; so those other tasks will take a back-burner on being added to a schedule until I’ve at least gotten into the rhythm of scheduling these particular tasks.