June: Task Management

May was pretty awesome. I managed to stay committed to working on projects. I’ve noticed that the best days are when I get up early (around 7 preferably), and manage to be at my desk working by the time I’m fully awake =). When I can pull that, I’m able to keep focused and finish the day early, leaving free time to spend on other things.

Even if it worked well, it didn’t go perfectly. I kept up the habit of working continuously, but I didn’t keep a great sense of direction. Last semester at school, I started the habit of keeping a todo list, and mapping out when I would do what at the beginning of each week. I had so many different things to work on that I needed to do this to reduce pressure and get everything done.

This summer, though, I’m usually focusing on one project at a time, so I unconsciously dropped the habit. As a result, even though I’m productive a day at a time, I often don’t have a good sense of where I’ll be at the end of the week, and small tasks that aren’t part of my main project (like cleaning up -_-) often get put off too long.

In June I’m going to continue what I was doing in May, working 6 hours a day five times a week, but I’ll also work on longer-term task management. One way I’ll do this is to keep a scheduled todo list which I map out at the beginning of each week. The other way is something I’ve been experimenting with recently.

For whatever project I’m working on, I’ll put each task on a single index card, along with any notes I decide to write about it. I can lay these out on my desk, easily sort them by priority, and keep whichever one I’m working on in front of me so that I can’t forget what I’m supposed to be doing =). If I find myself working on something with no card, then it’s probably not important, and if it is then I can make a card for it on the spot. I found this to be a really satisfying way to manage tasks, especially when you can take a card and write DONE in big letters, while putting it into your success pile ^_^. It also helps to maintain focus since you know exactly what you should be doing at all times.

Posted on 2009-06-08 at 20:52. trackback