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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Schedule Every Hour

The advantage of scheduling every hour is that you get to see exactly where the time goes. It might seem excessively restrictive, but you can schedule leisure and relaxation too, schedule yourself in such a way that you are not working during a certain hour. You could schedule an hour for listening to music. I'm going to start doing this beginning Monday morning, since I've felt a little unmoored since the semester ended. I've gotten a lot done, but I'd like to be even more savvy about my use of time.

This is not just about getting more done, but about freeing time to do other things that you might enjoy doing. Scheduling seems to restrict time, but it actually frees it up quite a bit and eliminates guilt about not always working. This technique will also help you do things you've been forgetting to do, exercise and meditation if you're anything like me.

Hour-long blocks are useful, because they make for handy units of measurement in which a significant amount of music-listening or house-cleaning can be done. Whenever practical and possible, try to do something for at least an hour and avoid multitasking as much as you can when you first start using this technique.


Professor Zero said...

I believe in this but there are two activities that throw me off.

1. Home repairs and dealing with workers. You just have to give up and go with flow; if not all you get is frustration.

2. Dealing with hordes of students who have major academic problems. I always underestimate the amount of time this will take and the amount of recovery time I will need. There has *got* to be some way of quantifying this and cordoning it off.

The most useful time management technique I ever learned was from these Italian graduate students, physicists, in my dorm when I was a freshman. They scheduled 24 straight hours every week for the dolce far niente. 24 straight unscheduled hours in which they might just do laundry and things like that, but did not allow themselves to work. This meant they were not tempted by the dolce far niente the rest of the time.

Clarissa said...

I'm brilliant at organizing dolce far niente for myself (it's the Ukrainian roots). However, it never prevents me from being tempted by it the rest of the time.

profacero said...

I'm a lot less compulsive than a lot of Americans, it seems, and when I try to "schedule every hour" like this I feel frantic -- it's too much like being in Disneyland, now this ride, now that one. I then find that most of my energy is going toward dealing with the claustrophobia, so I can't concentrate on what I'm supposed to be doing.

Back when I lived somewhere I enjoyed and had friends, though, and wasn't teaching so much basic Spanish (I would rather do just about anything than teach foreign languages, and this is why I am trying to leave academia again), I was a lot more scheduled than I am now. It was: 9-10 study Arabic or whatever language I was on, or else revise yesterday's writing; 10-12 prepare class, teach, have lunch, do office hours; 2-5 seminar or research or meetings or combination of these last two; 5-8 work out, cook, eat; 8-11 write.

Then weekends became work optional. I don't work Friday night, at least not on anything but creative writing, so that meant there were 3 hours of writing to do sometime Saturday and/or Sunday, and if anything else had come up in any of my other 3-hour blocs during the week (e.g. the 2-5 or 8-11 one) I might replace that, too.

Dolce far niente, well yes one can always do that but when I'm interested in my work and not working in an unpleasant environment I don't have to force it -- it's part of my daily adventures!