Time Management

A few months have passed in this unusual state of affairs, grieving (for me) and pandemic (the world with the US hit extra hard due to… self inflicted inaction and stupidity), and I’ve filled my time with a bunch of activities. Reading, watching TV, gaming, hiking… plus some things I’ve always wanted to try out, like crochet (goal: make a “grandma square” to use as an elbow rest/pad), language (study Chinese, or maybe ASL), music (I bought a ukulele a few weeks ago, and saw with great interest that Aywren also picked several up!).

With all that also came the need for a time management strategy. After some web searches I settled on the pomodoro technique, which is to divide up your time into 30 minute chunks: work on your task for 25 mins, take a 5 min break; repeat.

I bought a fancier timer than what is needed, the Dataxx Time Cube. The red model happens to have 25 and 5 minute sides, as well as 10 and 20 minutes. Use it by turning the cube so the time increment you want is on top, and the countdown automatically starts.

What I do is settle into something, turn the 25 side up, do stuff… turn the 5 side up, etc.

This helps me sort my time into periods long enough to where I get something done, but short enough to not feel overwhelming. Plus, the 5 min break. Every 4ish cycles, I take a longer break.

The second thing I started doing is make a bullet journal. Actually mine is barebones, and more of a bullet spreadsheet, with dates as rows and the columns labeled with what I want to track. E.g. “hike/run”, “read”, “tv/movie”, “games”, “ukulele”, etc. What I record is the number of pomodoro time chunks I spent doing whatever, so if I read for 1 hour and gamed for 2, I enter 2 and 4 (since the timer is in 30 min chunks of time) respectively.

This lets me see quickly if I’ve been slacking and not doing an activity for a few days, say ukulele practice. It also lets me see if I’m crazy binging on something in particular, like gaming for 6 hours which then eats up time for anything else.

My bullet spreadsheet is at least the 3rd iteration of this system and this one seems to be light and easy enough to be useful. Minimal format and data, but provides useful information at a glance.

The point isn’t to be militant about my time, I just want to look back over this weird period and feel like I was somewhat productive, and have something to show besides max level characters in an online game. 😉 And figuring out how I spent my time is a part of that.

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