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Friday, January 8, 2010

Design of Work Time

Imagine designing the perfect office for yourself. What kind of lighting would you need, furniture, etc... I basically just sit down wherever I am and work. I wish I had the perfect environment but I don't.

Now think of your time as the temporal office. In other words, design your time as you would a physical space. For me the time is much more important that the physical space.

Here is mine for the upcoming semester.

Sunday: spend 1/2 hour to several hours, as needed, planning what will be done during the rest of the week.
Monday: go back to Kansas. Prepare Tuesday courses. "Precrastinate" on coming week, as Ms. Gabbert would say.
Tuesday: Teaching day. Prepare Thursday classes before and in between two classes.
Wednesday: Research day. Get something substantial written.
Thursday: Teaching day. Use time in between classes for library research or reading, or grading.
Friday: Drive back to St. Louis. Do no work at all except light reading if needed.
Saturday: Read, catch up on any other tasks.

So most of the work gets done between Sunday night and Thursday around 5:15. The week is front-loaded with work, much on the same principle as getting up early to get a head start on the day. Evenings are mostly free except on Monday. Almost all work for classes is done in the office between Monday afternoon / evening and Thursday. Writing will be done on Wednesdays and the weekends I don't go back to St Louis. Occasionally in the evening. I am working on a book, but I'm thinking I want to write only one or two chapters during the semester. One could be started on Wednesdays and finished during spring break. The other could be started right after that and done by the end of the semester.

The general principles of time design are pre-planning (use the time right before the work week), front-loading (doing as much as possible early in the day, early in the week, compression (doing as much as possible during normal work hours), and leaving space (at the ends of the day / week in reserve for when you really need it, rather than planning on working around the clock).

2 comments:

Easy French Food said...

Thanks. I find those principles useful -copied them into my journal.

Andrew Shields said...

I wonder what you think of that schedule now, as you now emphasize writing every day (Seinfeld chain).