Friday, October 4, 2013

Too Many Projects and Time Management

Admitting that I have a problem is the first step. My issue is that I keep coming up with cool new projects to work on, even though I have a fair number already cooking. Being able to switch between projects helps keep things fresh for me, and is one of the things that I love about being my own boss. However, the hard part is being sure that I spend enough time on the projects that have deadlines coming up, and not spending all of my time on the things that don't have a deadline.

The other day I saw this video on a Lego Calendar by Vitamins Design. It looks really awesome, and it syncs up with their Google calendar by taking a picture of it and emailing the picture to a specific email address. I like the design of it, and I really like that it's tactile.

Each person has their own row on the calendar, and each project has a specific color. What each person works on is specified by what color block is on their row on that day. This way they make sure that each project gets the attention it needs.  They have this plotted out to 3 months in advance.

Seeing their project calendar realized that something similar could solve my problem of making sure the appropriate projects get the time they need. I decided to implement my own. I wanted to break things into half day chunks like they did. I figured just to keep it simple, and work with what I had readily available, I'd try a google calendar. I plotted out 3 days and scrapped that idea. It's convenient that it's always with you, but the data entry is more cumbersome than I wanted to deal with. I also wanted something more tactile.

Rather than run out to a store, and get some materials, I decided to look around my office and see what I could find handy. I briefly tried some different colored push pins in my cork board wall, but it was hard to see how they lined up and looked disorganized.  I ended up going with these colored sticky tabs that I've had for a while. I put each day of a week on the side of my whiteboard, and just put the tabs along the edge to mark what I'd be doing each day. So far, it's working pretty well. It's not as awesome as legos, and I might switch to legos eventually, but this gets the job done.

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