Did you ever get up and turn on your computer and six hours later, find yourself still sitting there doing what had to be done? SIX HOURS at the screen? Seriously. YES. I’ve done this. Time management isn’t much of a thing when you’re a geek, doing what you love.
No coffee. No bathroom breaks. No motion other than the keyboard and the mouse. And a website is complete. BUT… I didn’t move.
When I realized it had been six hours, I started to stand up and nearly fell over. Time at the computer can pass very quickly when you’re intent on finishing the job. And quite honestly… Life can be happening around me and I may not notice. I can be that absorbed in my work.
Not only do I love what I do. I’m good at it. And it shows. When others ask me how I do it, I have to answer, I love it. It isn’t hard to do. I get totally immersed in my work and inspired by the moment.
But that isn’t good for me. I need motion. I really NEED motion. So getting up and walking around, making coffee, getting food, going to the bathroom, and exercising are important too.
How do you manage time, when it gets away?
My mom would have told you this has always been a problem for me, whether I was training horses, working on the yard, or writing… Whatever I did, if I loved it, I allowed time to fade away.
I remember working on a wedding dress for a client. Once the cutting was done, so all I was doing was designing, sewing, adding lace and “frilling out” the wedding dress, time was history. It would pass by, the whole day at a time, with me busy adding bits of lace, ruffles, ribbons, pearls, and accents to the dress. This was my special touch… Anyone could have cut out and stitched the basic dress, even fit it to the bride, but once that was done… The artist in me stepped in and added the creative touches.
When the bride arrived to pick up her dress, she realized that she’d done antique lace blouses for each of the girls, but she had selected a white dress for herself. The next six hours, she and I worked with tea stains to get just the right tone of ‘antique’ for her wedding dress. Neither of us noticed the time passing, until we finished getting the dress toned just right.
Girls and giggles, right. We laughed right through dinner!
The thing is, you can’t manage time that gets away from you. So you have to find ways to manage your time, before it disappears.
Time Management for Geeks includes Electronics
Plug your calendar into your phone and set the timers to go off!
Schedule out reasonable working time boxes, such as 3 hours, and then include a break and a different activity for a set amount of time – before you allow yourself to go back to the electronics.
A typical workweek for me, scheduled into Google. Blank spaces are unscheduled. Green blocks are work time available for billable hours (usually these are already filled. Everything beyond gray and gold are billable hours for me. The key is to leave open space between scheduled work times, where I can have time for other activities, or to book an exercise session, yoga, or other event. Friday’s I often watch my grands, so I keep the afternoon open for something fun with them. Lunch varies every day, usually filling up with lunch engagements and speaking opportunities.
More Time For Fun
So how do you schedule in time for fun? I use random methods, usually including enough variety to confuse the average soul, but I’m rarely confused.
I leave open space, and occasionally, I plan my fun time. Dinner with friends goes on my schedule. Book signings for friends goes on my schedule (sometimes, I post it on the wrong day). (Yeah, I did that… felt so bad.)
I’m learning to schedule time at the gym.
I haven’t got that worked in yet, but I actually contacted a trainer, and we discussed options. I’m there. I feel like I need to focus more on my ability to walk, talk, and breathe at the same time.
What do you need to schedule time for?
There are lists of things that require our time each week, and most of us need to schedule those times, or we don’t get them done. It’s now going on week four since I actually shopped for groceries. I prefer to shop as they’re needed rather than on a weekly basis, but still, there are things I prefer to have fresh in my home.
Baking bread is a 10 minute chore, and I often get caught pulling bread out of the oven while talking to a client on the phone. Laundry gets done between clients. And cleaning up is an evening event, just before bedtime “routine” kind of thing.
These are just a few of the many time management ideas, I’ve come up with, add your own in the comments below. I’d like to know what you struggle with too.
Let’s schedule coffee!