Defective time management
1. And why?
Originally, the post was supposed to be called “Bad Time Management”, where the article and its development time clearly made me understand that everything is “very bad” and you need to work a lot on yourself and your environment to improve management efficiency.
While dealing with the problem of organizing time, I often thought “Why not?”, because it turned out that for certain types of people it is not necessary. If there is a need to increase efficiency at work, it is more the task of other individuals and role groups. Sometimes you wonder, who do you make easier by increasing efficiency for yourself or your work colleague? Someone will talk about competition and will say that effective time management is additional points in the race for profit and increased competences. Maybe this logic works when your colleague is a competitor, but he is not a competitor, but a “partner” … isn’t it? There should be a minimum of tasks, and the organization of time is a spontaneous manifestation that you should not worry about …. I think that this is an interesting hypothesis, maybe I will come to it later, but for now I am conducting my local research on the specified topic and heading towards the recognition of the problem , I try to smooth it out and/or eliminate it.
Well, in general, the question “Why?” not the main purpose of this post, I left it for philosophical reasons. Therefore, let’s talk about how to learn to manage this time after all.
It is also necessary to understand that the process of “Time Management” itself is not only impossible, unless of course you are a typical character of the comics universe, it is also not given at all the first time and not even the second time. It is necessary to understand that it is more correct to say “time organization”. This sounds more realistic and immediately adjusts to the desired mood.
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2. Overview of popular planning methods
We form a clear list of tasks, and allocate strict time frames for solving these tasks. At the same time, we periodically sum up the results and see if the labor costs are stuck correctly. It didn’t work out?! It’s okay … we adjust the time frames, maybe break the task into smaller parts and continue. We line up the work as a game or as a “sprint”. By the way, various “Timers” programs will help to keep time (Example: Pomodoro-type programs)
b) Kanban method
Breaking down large projects into manageable chunks with subsequent progress tracking. There is a lot of material for this method, and it is not for nothing that it is a basis that should be known to any member of the product team during development
in) The Eisenhower matrix
This matrix forms the habit of classifying any tasks: Urgent and important; Urgent and does not matter; Not urgent, but important; It is not urgent or important.
You can create your own classification. My classification inherently changes depending on the load and is optimized for the circumstances.
d) Method of road maps
Visual graphical transformation on one sheet: problems, goals, participants, steps and algorithms.
Although this is a software development methodology, it lends itself perfectly to any type of development and intelligence work. We deal with bad things and sticks in a short time frame and strive to eliminate problems in layers. We approach tasks iteratively. Of course, we regularly prepare for changes.
3. Experimental base
Through a series of trials and errors, it became clear to me that it is necessary to gradually introduce a certain set of habits and traditions and not to rush with an instant result.
Next, I will tell you how I was able to more effectively influence self-organization with the designation of stages and the estimated time spent on the formation of each individual habit.
Please note that what follows is personal and empirical experience, which does not pretend to be a full-fledged scientific study. I will show the stages I went through, marking each stage with a name and a personal term for implementing the described habit.
1 stage. Intelligence/surveillance. (3 months)
I don’t bore myself with plans, I don’t set myself a ton of impossible tasks, and even more so I don’t try to introduce heaps of learned and tested practices. Usual observation with fixation of already created habits and existing approach in work. Periodically (when it is convenient), I summarize the work done, see how much labor was actually spent on working out basic cases, and how much time I spend on chatting or networking.
Only fixation, only observation … I try not to overload myself, just to understand how it worked before and works now. From this begins the study of oneself and begins to form the habit of fixing the state and approach to solving problems.
2 stage. Analytics Day. (2 months)
I began to introduce a second habit: weekly debriefing with myself, during which I analyze the materials received from the previous stage with an emphasis on distracting factors. I consider efficiency during working hours and at home, analyze the effectiveness of deadlines and the benefits of rest in principle.
There is no need to wait for serious discoveries, it seems that everything was already clear, and the obtained result can be compared to collecting all the parts of the designer in one place, and then inventorying the resulting fragments.
At the beginning, I tried to classify all activities and keep a blog on each separate process (work broken down into projects, family, hobbies, sports, etc.), which turned out to be quite time-consuming. It became much more interesting to make small attempts to rebuild individual skills with an assessment of the resulting effect. For example, I started by deciding to bring my body into a more normal shape, and the basic habit of 5 minutes a day for exercise turned into periodic training and losing weight by 20 kg. The effect was achieved after a year, but it in itself had a strong psychological effect on me, including an increase in efficiency at work. It’s easier to say: I felt the power of the term “Step by step”.
3 stage. Multitasking and Explorer Mode (6 months)
I set myself the task of mastering Ansible and writing playbooks for protection tools in the company’s infrastructure. Case and optional and a whole mountain of such tasks + another mountain of external factors throw two/three interesting cases a week into my process. After all, what? And a complete break and waste of free time is in vain, and when I still needed Ansible (after half a year): the stand scheme was forgotten, passwords were lost, I don’t remember at what stage the previous tests ended. Now imagine similar zero and even results on all the optional and not so questions. Is it bad? The option to kill and do is not considered, knowing the borders of adjacent areas is a mandatory procedure in development. What is the result?
Each task is research, with drafts, with diagrams, with references, with thoughts. I came up with an idea – fixed it, opened the virtual box with chalks – fixed it, found an article on the topic on the website and didn’t have time to read it – fixed it (in fact, the first two stages are for help).
Let’s take this article as an example …. The material was collected in the last 6 months, and the text did not need to be invented much. All the material is notes from the moment of working out the problem. Trello/Kyten/GoogleDocs to help, love these things. Brought research and reasoning into a separate process
4th stage. We forget/postpone/delegate/refuse (6 months and still)
I suffer morally when the task has been weighing on me for three or three years, and it is even worse when I have to admit that I have to clean it up without finishing it. Oh, these gestalts (it was an idea to call this article “The fatting gestalt” :-)). But it is even worse to overestimate yourself and draw conclusions by overloading yourself with irrelevant activities. Ago:
a) Break into subtasks (decomposition) and transfer.
b) Does it not work? We break down the tasks.
c) Again the tufta? We ask for a faithful friend/subordinate/r*ba/son/wife/moderator of the habra and hope that your hypotheses and mistakes (about the moderator of the habra is a joke!) will be checked by them (example: thank you colleague, you developed and even did a great job on my case. Now I know all aspects of the Ansible+cisco ios task).
d) Did it not work? We forget the task, and the card to the archive in the cemetery of forgotten tasks. We make a mark to ourselves that something is wrong with YOU and we discourage the desire not to take on impossible tasks (according to internal statistics for January 2024 alone, I already have 4 postponed tasks that can go to the furnace by March).
Of course, we do not forget to say “no” to external factors and “side” tasks. You have everything planned, but the task is not a priority, not before now absolutely. Don’t be afraid to seem lazy, give vague deadlines as a last resort, but please keep in mind that even a small task can take you out of the process for several hours.
5th stage. Introduction of lunch deadlines (3 months)
Everything is simple here! All deadlines by 3:00 p.m. I checked many times, after 15 the brain is not the same. The approach saves and psychologically cushions the evening. I can’t even describe all the advantages, just try it. At 15 the end of the day, finite, apocalypse, the task must be closed on Friday by 15. Not until the evening, not before midnight, but before 15 (I have to submit this article by 11.02. by 15:00).
6th stage. Planning morning, summarizing evening (3 months)
Morning: compiled a list of tasks, planned labor costs. Predicted risks for urgent jobs or sudden family/personal difficulties.
Evening: drew conclusions and made amendments. Sometimes it takes an hour a day, sometimes 15 minutes, but it’s important to do it every day. Allows you to structure your thoughts and better plan your day and week in principle.
7th stage. Daily plan (1 month and so far)
I keep a list of mandatory habits, basic priorities and the logic of forming weekly tasks. I tried to specify which days I will pay more attention to a certain class of tasks (for example: work, family, etc.).
I will show a simplified diagram:
In addition to this: daily habits, planning from the 6th stage, time boxing (a cool thing) and necessarily sleep.
8th stage. Do at least something, and then we’ll figure it out (1 month term)
Here I just want to list the basic theses: the main thing is to start, don’t be afraid to procrastinate, resort to an iterative approach, don’t idealize the task, don’t be afraid of criticism, you can’t plan, so draw a diagram and don’t forget to resort to stage No. 4, etc.
Decomposition of tasks with clear achievements (not to “learn technology”, but to get a certificate in the field);
Formation of clear habits (regular sleep, morning planning, evening summary, calculation of labor costs, strict timing);
Fixation of results (keep a diary and make work records regularly);
Structuring of acquired knowledge and information;
prioritization (not afraid to miss some tasks or do them worse than planned);
Be able to say “No” (predicted application of the previous point);
An iterative approach to the task (do not try to master the material at once and sometimes even in a year);
Pay attention to creativity and recreation;
Set achievable tasks more often (including short ones per week).
I hope this article will be a good start for both the reader and me. In its essence, this is a set of notes on the organization of time, which I collected for a short time and tested for a long time. Now I sublimate a combination of the described methods that adapt to different modes of operation. Thank you!