Sunday, 23 June 2013

Information Overload A blog post about time management.

One of my main week points is time management.

I'm at a point in my life where I have a fantastic opportunity to make the music i want to make, to collaborate with some amazing musicians and people to actually hear it.

I also have a wonderful wife and son. And friends and other stuff happening and a job where i get to be a musician working with people with Autism.

I'm bloody lucky (and this time last year I was in a pretty dark place so I will never forget that).

But i still piss away the time I have on Facebook, Twitter and other stuff on the interweb.

Not that talking to people online is a waste of time, it isn't and the relationship's I've built online via these sites have given me friendships and opportunities I truly value (you know who you are).

No what I'm talking about is:

Checking emails more than twice a day
Reading blogs i have no real need to read
Youtube videos
1000's of distractions

(you know what i mean I'm sure it happens to every bugger).

Stuff that sucks the time away. And if you research it they are deliberately designed to suck your time away.

So I'm trying to stop that and spend my time on the things I really want to do ie be with my family, make records, spend time with friends offline and online and create other useful stuff.

Have you got any good time management tips?


Dave Id said...

Sounds like you've already got your checklist for answering "Does doing this [insert activity] get me to my goals?". Now you need to create a habit where you a)check yourself and b) stop yourself and change your activity if the answer is 'No'. A habit takes 45 days to make or break, so you might need a trick to help build the habit. Some people set themselves a regular alarm to ask the question, or check on the hour every hour to get started. After a while the habit starts to become unconscious discipline.

That's Answer A. Answer B is to recognise or enhance the value of the stuff you currently see as time-wasters. A simple example might be monetizing a blog so that it starts to support everything else. [WARNING: I have no technical experience of this].

One of the joys and challenges of a 'portfolio' career (e.g. musician, columnist, blogger) is managing the downtime.

Finally, every so often its ok to kick-back and enjoy a few hours of noodling about...

Scatterfilter said...

I believe you are already developing some strategies.

Unplugging daily is a good idea. Just get away from everything and be with your instrument. Breaks are good, and are used to check messages, but then get back at it.

Anonymous said...

Whenever you first feel or hear that thought "this is a waste of time", just keep moving for a few more seconds instead of breaking away immediately. Let's say you are thumbing through facebook with no clear reason, just checking in with people, and then you get side-tracked by an article, and in the middle of reading it you think, "wtf am I doing wasting my time here"... at this very moment, just pause and make no judgments, continue thumbing along while being totally aware of the moment and the thoughts. After you experience this awareness a few times exactly in the moment, without judging yourself, you will have broken the pattern.

rubken said...

Different solutions work for different people, so there's a fair bit of suck it and see in this.

The thing that has been most effective for me when I have been in similar situations is to schedule my time as much as possible. Not that every moment of the day is scheduled but all the important things are. In the gaps you can watch as many cat videos as you like :)

I would even schedule time with my family as a way to guard it from other distractions.

I found Google calendar online and mobile app to be great for that. I set up separate calendars for music, promotion, family/social and chores (all the stuff I didn't like doing). By assigning different colours to each calendar I could get a really quick overview of my day or week.

In the end the thing is to find something that fits how you tick. I know some people who love GTD but I found the effort in maintaining the system too cumbersome. I would say whatever you try give it a good go for at least a month before moving on to the next system.

The system that I love currently is the Pommodoro Method. Basically you write down the task you are going to work on, set a timer for 25 minutes, work until it goes ping and then take a 5 minute break. Lather rinse repeat.

Might not work in such a diverse day as you might have but it can help you keep on task as the blokes in the shiny shoes say.

Ian Moffat said...

A great article and some good advice about managing your time. Some more information available here :-

Alex Brubaker said...

One of the easiest things you can do is to distance yourself from your distractions. Most of my distractions are things like facebook and tv; stuff that's easy to zone out on. Since I know these will undoubtedly waste my time, I set up my guitar room without any tvs or computers. I could still do better, but my practice time has become significantly more focused and productive since I've made this change.


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