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Productivity Day #6

Posted in DIY, Family, Inspiration, Life, Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2007 by blakejohnson

So….the plan?
Yes… the plan.  I’m going to bring my dad to work for something he has to do apparently (which he only told me about last night, anticipating I’d not have anything else to do on a day without school or work), and after however long we’re going to be there I’ll bring him back home, and then I’ll get to work on doing something.  I’ve started right now working on my sister’s Christmas present, and it’s going to take a while but it’s going to get done.  The good part about it is that it happens in chunks of time, so I’ll be working on it just a bit and then have to let it do its own thing, so I’m free to get updated on my email, RSS feeds, or another projects I’m working on.  Otherwise, it just takes time.

Next update
I don’t have much else to say, since the past few days have really not worked out in my favor.  It seems life’s changing right now and not really in a good way.  I’m not going to go into depth here, but it’s not all that much fun.  I will update today about the methods I’m using to  plan the day and see if they’re more or less helpful than what I had been doing.  But I know I don’t like the hour-by-hour method, and I do like the general project outline list method, so I can look at it and determine which ones need working on the most.  I’ll update tonight with some ideas for how to digitize the whole thing, if I can come up with any.  That’s really the only thing I need to manage now.  But we’ll see how it goes.


Productivity Day #5

Posted in DIY, Inspiration, Life, Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2007 by blakejohnson

What’s the plan, man?
Well, today I’m not planning much of anything.  I’ve got my list of tasks and i know pretty much which ones need to be completed first (I’m focusing mostly on the Christmas presents right now), and how much work has been done on them already.  It’s a much more relaxed way of going about planning out a day while still being sure that I’ll get something done, and I’m not worrying about the awkward feeling of an hour-by-hour plan.  It’s a nice way to run the productive day.

So…get to it!
I’ve got work this morning, coincidentally, though I didn’t realize that I did, and I also have to drive my dad to an appointment I didn’t know he had, and the two obviously conflict, or I’d be at work right now.  So I’m going in for a late half-shift and then coming home to get started on the productive afternoon/evening of the day.  It’s a fine deal, the only thing I wish is I could find a way to mix projects so I could do one time-consuming one and some smaller, less time-consuming ones all at once.  And now that I think about it, I believe I can do just that.

Next update
I will update tonight with a review of the day’s progress, but I think not posting a review last night threw my routine off a little bit.  It feels that way, anyway.  On the better side, at least the foot and a half of snow we got is mostly cleared off the roads, so they’re driveable, which is nice.  Today I’m back to the routine though, with the morning intro post and the nighttime review post of the day’s antics.  Hope fully they’re not real antics.  Hopefully they’re a bit more organized than that.  That’s the whole point of this experiment.

Review Day #3

Posted in DIY, Inspiration, Life, Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2007 by blakejohnson

I started this morning going pretty well, got some work done on a different task than I’d been working on, but it’s a Christmas present, so it’s necessary.  It’s progress made in a task that needed progress.  I did like how I set out the day, though, organizing all of the tasks I’ve got to get done, and then deciding which one to work on.  It’s a great way of organizing my life for more than just a day, which is I think what I needed to do.

I’d like some way of unofficially organizing the tasks in terms of priority, so I could get a bit more of a sense of what really needs to get done and what can wait a bit.  I’d also like some way to calculate or easily reference how much of a given task is already complete, and use that information along with its priority level to determine which one to buckle down and work on first.

Digitizing the Workflow
I’ve been digitizing a lot of information recently – contact information, notes and ideas written down and then pinned on my bulletin board, so that it’s not cluttered, and is easily accessible when I need it.  I’d really love it if I could figure out a way to do this for my productivity workflow, but I’ve yet to figure out an idea.  As I said in one of the previous posts, I’d really like to use as little paper as possible, avoiding as much clutter as possible along the way.

Final Notes
My main challenges now are to figure out a way to not create a strict hierarchy of tasks while still judging them by priority, and digitizing the entire workflow to ensure the most efficient and simple means of self-organization and productivity in my life.  But I’ve been going along pretty well so far, and learning a lot about the process and about the pursuit of effective, productive work habits.

Productivity Day #2

Posted in DIY, Inspiration, Life, Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2007 by blakejohnson

A New Day
This one’s going to be quick since I already slept a bit past the regular wakeup time I’d specified for myself, and I’m about half and hour behind schedule.  However, I did plan more loosely for today, so I should be able to make up that time with something like eating breakfast or doing something else quicker than expected.  Maybe that’s part of the point of not planning rigorously like I did yesterday.

So what’s the plan?
Today I’m going to essentially get as much rotoscoping work done as possible, along with a few other things.  I set aside plenty of time for bringing my dad home and figuring out what he’s doing for the day.  Ad I’ve also set aside two big blocks of time for the roto work.  Those should leave me with enough time to get some serious work done on those projects, as well as taking a short break or two to revitalize my work ethic – since it is long, tedious work – and check in on my temporarily non-mobile dad.

Any changes?
Well I’ve laid out the list a bit differently, written it in pencil, and planned much looser, with more time around tasks and events that I did yesterday.  I think part of the reason I was a bit odd feeling about the whole thing yesterday was that it was so rigidly planned out, that nothing seemed at all spontaneous or new, it was all pre-fabricated.  Which can be nice, mind you, but in a personal life I think I need a bit more randomness.  So hopefully the more organized (and easily erasable) list format will be helpful today, and the extra time cushions will give me some sense of being more relaxed.  Although I did start the day late today, so maybe I’ll be wrong.

Next Update…
Today I work the 3:45-11:30 shift at work, so I likely won’t get home until around midnight, which is when I’d be going to bed anyway.  So I’ll write a little recap post before I leave and use WordPress’s cool ‘Post Timestamp’ feature to make it appear magically at 10:00, like the othes have been… more or less.  Just to keep up some form of regularity in an otherwise sporadically-added-to blog.

Review Day #1

Posted in Inspiration, Life, Productivity with tags , , , , , , on December 14, 2007 by blakejohnson

So, how did it go?
Well, I went ahead and planned everything out as I said in the last post, I got up in the morning and didn’t quite feel like that walk, since there’s snow outside, and I’m thinking I’ll have to adjust that part of my plan to be something else, so it’s not just a constant source of a bad beginning to the day.  Today seemed like the worst day of all to try to begin a productivity schedule.  So many things jumped into the path that changed the plans around that by the evening I just gave in and changed the whole plan.  Overall, though, I still got most things done I’d planned on working on.  I didn’t exercise, and I didn’t do any cleaning up of an old PC I’m trying to empty out before I leave for college in Vancouver, but I worked on everything else.

Organizational Skills?Productivity Day 1 list
I definitely need a better way to organize my list of to-dos and to easily change the schedule without completely messing it up and making it unreadable.  Writing in pencil would be a good start, so I’ll try that.  I’m also trying to come up with a nice, readable form or list styled piece that I can use to plan out each day’s workload.  I’ve gone through the Printable CEO series but I couldn’t find one that looked simple but efficient enough to work for me.  They looked pretty involved, and had a lot of symbols or areas on them that, without reading, were unclear.  That sounds obvious, I know, but I’m thinking something I design on my own might work better for me anyway.  Plus, his designs, though they are pretty sweet, are more about keeping track of all the different things he’s got going at once.  That’s in a way what I’m doing as well, but I’m aiming more to list and schedule each day according to the tasks I have to complete each day.  I’m thinking as time goes on about what my own design will look like.

And how do you feel?
How do I feel?  Awkward question… but since you asked (ok, ok, I asked), it was kind of weird.  They day just felt different.  It wasn’t bad, or good, just different.  I can’t really think of a way to explain it, but it was good to get up and have things to do, planned out, ready for me to just jump on them and execute on after the other.  It wasn’t like a nagging feeling, but it wasn’t a relaxed feeling exactly either.  I suppose I’ll have to explore that a little further over the next few days.  Maybe it was just being a bit lost in this new attempted lifestyle, trying to get things done in a very scheduled manner.  I’ll try being a bit more flexible for tomorrow.

Final Notes
My dad’s coming home from the hospital (knee replacement last week) so that may well take up some extra time, and I’ve got work for most of the day anyway.  However, I’ll do my best to plan and update with another intro segment and review segment here on the blog to track and measure my success day-to-day.  I’ve got the closing shift tomorrow, on a Friday night, which isn’t really much fun.  But hey, maybe it will be, you never know.  Well… sometimes you do.  But let’s hope for the best, shall we?  Yea.