One Bag Nation

Does This Sound Compulsive?

Posted on: October 8, 2008

photo by macinate

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been planning my day hour-by-hour, and writing my plan down on my daily planning tool. I’ve already posted that this was an idea I got from Simple Mom‘s Daily Docket, but I had no idea how well it would work for me.

I’m sure some of you are thinking that I’ve gone over the edge in my pursuit of order and organization. But I have to tell you, this is one of the best time management and productivity tools I’ve ever tried – and I think I’ve tried just about everything.

Someone like me – who works at home, has multiple balls in the air, and is easily distracted – often gets to the end of the day and wonders just what exactly I accomplished. With my hour-by-hour guide, I make sure I set aside time for my paid work, for breaks and for household tasks. I may not get absolutely everything done on my list, but knowing I have a plan for the day gives me great peace of mind. I think this is what David Allen is getting at with his “ubiquitous capture” (i.e. write everything down) concept: once you have a task or project accounted for, you can stop worrying about it.

Mr. Allen’s system was too complicated for me, but now I understand its effectiveness a bit better. If I start the day with a specific plan for how to spend my time, I don’t have to make decisions on the fly about what to do when. At the appointed time, I stop one project and move on to what’s next on the schedule (hmmm . . . kind of like junior high, but who was talking about Sarah Palin?).

If you have a lot of trouble staying on task and feel that most of the time your day gets away from you, I can’t recommend this practice enough. Give it a try, just for a few days, and let me know what you think.

I’ll be interested to learn that either I’m a total freak, or it’s a really wonderful tool!

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9 Responses to "Does This Sound Compulsive?"

After reading your post on your daily log, I created my own. Two actually: one for blogging related tasks; one for home related tasks. Since then, I have used both EVERY SINGLE DAY! Woo-hoo! I am a) not very structured and b) very visual. The daily log provides me with structure and I can the tasks to do AND see the tasks get crossed off, which is very motivating.

Hi Panther: I’m so glad the logs are helpful. My log has a place for three sets of MITs: my job, household/personal and blogging.

I’ve learned I’m visual too; I like clean paper and a nice pencil or pen; electronic solutions just don’t appeal to me.

Psssst: could it be our age??

Hi Ann: I’ve been keeping a daily log of so I can keep track of where my time goes and it’s been doing wonders for me. I’m much more productive 🙂

Lol, not crazy, i don’t reckon. This is the very method a Time Management coach (who has ended being like my personal cousellor, and is generally just fantastic) introduced for quite a few of us at work and it was uber helpful! I use it at home when things get out of hand, but default to simple lists the rest of the time.
Your hour-by-hour productivity sounds very gratifying, wheee! 😀

@Marelisa: you have always seemed VERY productive to me! But isn’t the log an interesting exercise?

@Camilla: Well, if a certified Time mgmt coach suggested it, it must be a good idea! 🙂 It really has been working wonders for me.

Hi Ann – This is a great idea. It’s also an idea that is used by people who are trying to lose weight. When they start writing down everything they put in their mouth, they become aware of how many calories they’re actually eating. I think it’s a superb plan, not compulsive at all.

@Barbara: I hadn’t thought of the connection to food journals, but you’re right! When I’ve kept a food journal it’s really helped me stay on track. Now that I’ve been working with this new planning tool for a while, I really can’t imagine how I lived w/out it!

This is a great idea. I might try it.

Hi Stimey, it is honestly and truly helping me a lot. Glad to see you here; I need to hop over to your blog and see how you’re doing.

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