Akatombo Web Log
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Reprint from my personal blog:
One of the hardest things about running a small business based on providing (mostly) one-time services to clients is that you generally tend to either have way too much or nothing to do. This can make it really hard to get into a good work rhythm, making those extra-busy periods that much harder. An added difficulty is that I have a really hard time focusing well on work in the morning, being much more able to work late into the night. UltraGirl’s job starts early in the morning and ends in the early evening so if I want to spend time with her, and I do, I need to conform with her work schedule as much as I can. It appears that I’m heading into the over-capacity period in the cycle, so I need to figure out how to make myself as effective as possible. A few things I have been trying out, that help out when I can keep doing them consistently:
- Go to bed early, and wake up a couple hours before I need to get to work to give my body time to get going.
- Try to break my work into small pieces, and break my day into short periods of finely focused concentration
- It is OK to drink coffee, but don’t drink 6 cups.
- disconnect from the Internet, when the task I’m working on doesn’t directly require it, forcing myself to write down the ideas that I find I want to research—saving that distraction for later, and freeing myself from the interruptions provided by IM and e-mail.
Here is one response I received to get things rolling:
Lists. Definitely daily lists are good. Make your new list for tomorrow at the end of today, when everything outstanding is still fresh in your mind. It’s encouraging to see things ticked off of them, and they help to show all the tasks at hand and prevent you from getting too distracted.
A clean desk. Remove everything that’s not related to the project you’re working on. Put it in folders, on the floor, on a side table, on the windowsill, where ever you can’t actually see it.
Now you try. What techniques would you recommend for making sure you get a lot of work done.
- Posted by Kevin
I have the same problem with regards to Bastish-girl’s schedule and my low efficiency in the morning.
I wish I could tell you my tricks to solve it, but they are not that good - basically, I just say “Hey, listen I am really busy right now. I can spend two hours with you tonight but that’s IT!”
I also move my computer to the kitchen table so we can at least work in the same room even if we are not talking too much.
I also wake up earlier than I have to to go for morning jogs with her and eat breakfast (although I am usually not hungry enough that early to eat much) with her. I don’t sit down at the computer until she is gone to work. (even though early morning is usually a time when I really feel stressed about the work-load, or psyched about some idea I had laying in bed, and want to “get started” - only to die off in productivity in an hour or two.)
As for other methods, yes lists, to-do-lists, very detailed to-do-lists. I might not even look at them after I make them, but it gets the things worked out in my mind.
And no online project management software has ever been worth a hill of beans to me. Only paper and pencil works for me. I think the good thing is that every morning, the first thing I do is make my list for the day (I have tried doing it the night before, but prefer the morning of) I am forced to look at what I didn’t get done the day before and either carry it over, or throw it away. If it is a project management to-do-list type software, those things I added but never get to keep piling up and the list gets overwhelming. rewriting it each day keeps it realistic. and keeps things in my mind.
Of course, that only takes into account “urgent” tasks. It does not take into account the longer term, but more important goals. For that I *try* to spend a few hours once every few weeks going over my entire list which includes things that are not urgent, but I have to do to move me in the direction I want to go, such as watching that Photoshop tutorial video. - it’s not needed for any current project, but if I don’t get to it I will never really get better. (this urgent vs. Important thing is what I am not so good at, but working on.)April 9th, 2006 11:57 AM