I have been using a system of log files for time planning and tracking for a while. It’s an established system, but I’m not sure I am getting as much done as I would like.
One of the YouTube channels I follow is Basic Filmmaker. He does lots of interesting and digestible videos on filmmaking, but he posted one yesterday about managing time –
Thinking about this while making my tea this morning, I wondered about whether I needed to apply a more scheduled form to my day plan. Having some kind of plan certainly seems to help me – would more plan be better?
While that seems initially attractive, I also remember that this is something I have tried before and it didn’t take.
There are two broad categories of tasks I work on: things that can be measurably finished, and things that can’t*. One of the reasons I think that the detailed planning approach didn’t take before is that much of my work is in the measurable completion category – the plans I make aren’t just setting aside slots for things to be worked on, they are encoding estimates of how long I think a task will take.
To take an example, I might be working on fixing a bug in some application code – the task isn’t done until the bug is fixed. Or I might be adding a feature to a script, and the task isn’t done until the feature is operating. When a task like that takes longer than expected (and the time required to fix bugs in particular is something that can explode) then the whole plan for the day is blown.
The other side of this is that many of the open-ended things I work on should probably be declared done before I stop working on them. I mentioned shims last time – I’m trying to make the book better, but so much of what I’m learning in writing Livia is that “good enough” can be enough.
Still, it’s something to think about, and I am going to try a more structured approach since there are a lot of things that need to happen in the next few weeks.
[*] there is also a third category of maintenance tasks, but I’m treating those as completable but repeating.