Over the past year or so I have read several books about time management. Of course, it is not time we manage but ourselves, and I hear the authors say many of the same things, such as know what your overall goals are, plan your work before you begin it, block out distractions.
Last summer I studied Getting Things Done and set up Microsoft OneNote to capture and manage my tasks. That relieved me of the sense of being lost in a storm of undone jobs, not having a handle on what was important or what could be dismissed. In my lack of structure I neglected them equally. After a year of GTD, I can say I like this system. I capture all tasks in lists and manage them by assigning blocks of time. This summer I have it has been working beautifully.
I keep a digital calendar on my PC and my phone. Since I have made my health a high priority this summer, I have blocked out time for an hour-long bike ride each morning, two hours on Saturday. After cleanup and conversation about the day with my teens, I practice typing with Mavis Beacon for twenty minutes. (My chat box comments made me look likc i hda a speahc impdeimnet.) Then I eat the frog, but more about that in a minute.
Two hours a day are blocked out for tasks I do for Classical Conversations as a support to the program manager. During my hour lunch I include reading up on classical education. In the next two hours I work on my Latin and Math because I didn’t quite get to where I needed to be when the school year ended. Then, two or three hours are set aside for study for my new position next school year as a Challenge III tutor. (I have been directing a Challenge B program for five years. This means I move up from 8th grade to 11th grade.) During these blocks of time I handle the outstanding tasks in that category, closing out tasks as I complete them. Yay!
If I had a teen make supper, I just waltz into the dining room for the dinner hour.
Now, about that frog. This is the best thing I have heard in a while. Mark Twain said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” So, my Eat That Frog hour (a green block, of course) starts off the day. I do the nastiest jobs first: bills, calling state agencies on behalf of my father-in-law, getting paperwork off to my son’s college. It is out of the way, and then I can begin the next work block with that off my mind.
It is rare that a day works out exactly like this. I often have to do errands with Grandpa (my father-in-law) and I spend way too much time in my car. But when I am home I know what I am supposed to be doing and little by little the work gets done.
One last thing: all this is possible because my youngest children are now teens and have projects of their own. And if they don’t have a project, I give them one of mine! I could not have done this when I had small children. For those days I had Flylady!