Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lessons in Organization

Hard to believe, but this whole organization thing is starting to click for me this week.

First, I started my productivity chart yesterday. (Which I already wrote about and posted on Wednesday, but Blogger ate it.) This will keep me on track to make sure I’m being productive in each of four categories, every day. Yesterday I scored a 75%, managing to do something in three of the four categories. (Poor ol’ marketing got neglected.)

Not bad for the first day.

But today, I scored 100%. I actually got a lot done on my website. Also, I implemented a trick that enabled me to do a lot more writing today than I have in recent memory.

Do you ever use a timer for your important tasks? I had tried this before, without much success. But today it worked great.

Basically, what you do is decide how long you’re going to do something, like write, clean the bathroom, read, or whatever. Generally it’s a short amount of time, like 5, 10, 20 minutes or so. Then you set a timer and start the task. When the timer goes off, you’re done. You then either take a break or move on to the next item on your list – whatever you decided in advance.

Simple, I know. I actually already do this with running, and love it. It allows me to run without thinking about it, because I know my timer will tell me when it’s time to take a walk break. I end up enjoying the run a lot more and not getting as tired in between breaks.

So anyhow, I don’t know why, but this whole timer thing for other tasks never really caught on with me before today. Maybe because I would try to work too long on something. I wasn’t breaking the task down into small enough chunks.

Well, today I got it right. I set a timer for 15 minutes, and wrote continuously for that amount of time. Then I got up and took a break, walked around a bit, got a drink of water. Then back to writing. I was working on another spec piece that I want my instructor to review. The last one took me 3 days to write (it was my first one in a particular format). Today I got a rough draft done in an hour. I still need to do quite a lot of editing, but the structure is there. With a few more 15 minute cycles, I should have it ready to go.

Hmm, maybe there’s something to being organized, after all…

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