Archive for time management

Time Tracking & Management

Posted in DIY, Health, Inspiration, Life, Productivity, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2008 by blakejohnson

I’ve been working on managing my time recently, a little, trying to be productive and whatnot while maintaining a healthy lifestyle too.  I recently discovered a number of posts at Lifehacker (duh) that were pretty helpful in pointing in the right direction.  Through them I found both Tick and RescueTime, the latter of which being the most interesting.

Tick
Tick is a project-management webapp that basically allows you to list your projects, keep track of individual tasks on each of them and define how many hours each should take, essentially all in an effort to get you to meet your “time budget.”  Tick is unfortunately a trial and only allows you to have one project listed and open (currently being worked on) at a time, with the paid upgrade of somewhere around what I believe was $10.  I currently use Anxiety, though, so I’m probably going to cancel my membership with Tick.

Anxiety
Anxiety is a lightweight, free task management app that is… well… a task manager that integrates beautifully with Apple’s Mail and iCal, giving yo all the benefits of different calendars and events within those calendars, separating your work, personal, bigger ideas.  It hovers over all applications with the option to hide it and each tasks even have handy little check boxes on the side so that once you’re done, you just check it off, and it’s immediately updated as one less to-do in Mail and iCal.  It’s a very useful tool, and its constant visual presence on the screen I find is a reminder of the things I should be doing when I’m doing things like aimless internet surfing or on a YouTube binge.

RescueTime
I really just wanted to post on the blog because of the email verification I got from downloading this app.  There’s a required registration for it, but the email was nice enough of a surprise and the app sounds like it’s going to do a great job, so I’m aiming to keep it.  From the little I found out about it, it tracks what you do while on the computer and send you a weekly report of how you spent your time, as well as offering a range of full-featured graphs and tools to see how distracted you were when you should have been working.  Yup, something I can definitely make use of ;).  Here’s a screenshot of part of the confirmation email:

picture-1.png

I thought that was a great change of pace from the typical “Hello, thank you, go to our site, goodbye” messages.  I was glad to receive something like that from what it essentially makes out to be three guys goofing around with their program for the good of others.

So, three programs that can help you (and me) get things done.  The two I use so far work great, though I’ve only had about an hour’s worth of experience with RescueTime running in the background, so really it’s that I love Anxiety.  That mixed with Quicksilver and the built-in Mail and iCal on Mac are a wonderful workflow.  How do you manage your time and your projects?  Let me know!

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New Year’s Resolution

Posted in DIY, Inspiration, Life, News, Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2007 by blakejohnson

Well, it’s that time of year again, and though I’m not usually making New Year’s Resolutions around this year (in fact, resolution means image quality to me, not decision-making), but I was thinking about it today and had an idea.  I’ve decided I’m going to aim to create something every month.  One thing, completed, each month.  Nothing too ambitious, since it can be anything from making a t-shirt (all of 10 minutes) to writing a short story or writing and recording a piece of music.

I really love making things, be they crafts or websites, stories or movies, and I want to find some way to pursue that love on a small scale, but dependably, so I don’t come to the end of another year wondering what I did with all that time, having nothing to show for another year gone.  So that’s my goal; I’m going to make something each month, and it’ll be posted online in some form, depending on what it is (movies on YouTube, pictures on Flickr, crafts on…Flickr, etc.).  I’m excited to get to try making something each month and trying new things.

That’s really another reason for this goal, is the trying of new things.  I’ll try making some new food, try some new craft, try writing an idea that I just realized made sense to me, or something old that’s been percolating for years.  It’s basically a chance for me to create an outlet for my ideas and creativity, and the by-product is to show the world (or my friends and family, anyway) through the internet.  It’ll give me an outlet, a chance to branch out, and something to be proud of at the end of another year.  I’ll have something to show that I made use of my time, that my year was worthwhile, and that I’m proud of it – to at least some degree.  And heck, everything’s a learning experience, right?  So I’m bound to learn something from this at some point or another.  What are you going to do in the new year?  Share in the comments section.

New Year's Resolution

Posted in DIY, Inspiration, Life, News, Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2007 by blakejohnson

Well, it’s that time of year again, and though I’m not usually making New Year’s Resolutions around this year (in fact, resolution means image quality to me, not decision-making), but I was thinking about it today and had an idea.  I’ve decided I’m going to aim to create something every month.  One thing, completed, each month.  Nothing too ambitious, since it can be anything from making a t-shirt (all of 10 minutes) to writing a short story or writing and recording a piece of music.

I really love making things, be they crafts or websites, stories or movies, and I want to find some way to pursue that love on a small scale, but dependably, so I don’t come to the end of another year wondering what I did with all that time, having nothing to show for another year gone.  So that’s my goal; I’m going to make something each month, and it’ll be posted online in some form, depending on what it is (movies on YouTube, pictures on Flickr, crafts on…Flickr, etc.).  I’m excited to get to try making something each month and trying new things.

That’s really another reason for this goal, is the trying of new things.  I’ll try making some new food, try some new craft, try writing an idea that I just realized made sense to me, or something old that’s been percolating for years.  It’s basically a chance for me to create an outlet for my ideas and creativity, and the by-product is to show the world (or my friends and family, anyway) through the internet.  It’ll give me an outlet, a chance to branch out, and something to be proud of at the end of another year.  I’ll have something to show that I made use of my time, that my year was worthwhile, and that I’m proud of it – to at least some degree.  And heck, everything’s a learning experience, right?  So I’m bound to learn something from this at some point or another.  What are you going to do in the new year?  Share in the comments section.

Review Day #2

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

How did it go?
Well, it went pretty well, thanks very much. I planned out most of the day – the part where I’m at home and able to plan my activities – but kept it loose, allowing an hour to pick up my dad from the hospital, and then some extended lunch time after that so he could get settled in. The one thing I didn’t foresee was not getting additional work done on my own projects after he came home. He was a little less independent than I’d thought at first, so the plans for after he came home were scrapped. Though, in the haste of realizing my original plans weren’t going to hold up, I did learn something important about the productivity business.

What did you learn?
Keeping projects in order and in mind (or at least in some easily-accessible and reviewable format) is essential to the productivity-oriented person. When my dad and I finally arrived home I became aware of the fact that I would likely have to sacrifice my planned after-pickup workload in favor of helping him get around and get settled back into being at home. I scrambled upstairs for my notebook/to-do list, and looked at the items on it. “Rotoscoping, break for food/blog review post, leave for work” were the final three entries on the list, and I couldn’t carry out the roto work, which was the most time-consuming and important task of the day. I looked around and realized that I couldn’t think of any of my other projects I’d thought of planning for earlier in the day and in this experiment. Thus, I learned the value of David Seah’s approach to the productivity world: time-, project- and task-tracking devices. Good planning needs to follow good organization, I suppose, and I had skipped the latter. So I quickly threw together some things I saw on my bulletin board (a bunch of pieces of contact information for all kinds of people) and brought them downstairs to sit in the kitchen with my dad while I added the new contacts to my Address Book. However, this task- and project-tracking and organizational business is something I’m going to have to integrate with my to-do list venture, so I can try to keep everything organized in one place, simply but effectively, keeping it both efficient, specific and portable enough so that I can rely on it when the day’s plans change my own.

Final Notes
Overall, it was a productive day. I woke up later, due to staying up later than I’d planned, but I still got a good hour or more of work done on the rotoscoping business, finishing off another shot and coming to the conclusion that I’d probably have to redo what I’d done on the next shot because of some glitches in the plug-in I’m using. No big deal, after a break and change in pace. Using the Bamboo stylus pen is so much fun, and I’m glad I’m having the opportunity to get used to it before I go off to Visual Effects college in Vancouver. Today was a success, despite the changes in plans and the failed idea of post-father-retrieval work time. But I learned and am going to include that thought in the final notes on this process next week when it’s completed, and when I begin to form my own planning methods. The major thing I’d like to change about David Shea’s methods is, of course, keeping them digital, so I don’t use paper, don’t have clutter, and can keep things a bit more organized that way. I’ve yet to figure out how to do this… but I’ve got some time.