Thursday, September 2, 2010

Time Management

I haven't completely figured out the time management rhythm to this job yet. Every job has one. In my last job as a tech manager, I figured out to manage my inbox and task list so I could address 5-minute issues between meetings, but save my longer, more complicated tasks for mornings and evenings when I was less likely to be interrupted.

This job has tasks that are easier to do with long uninterrupted stretches. Well, at least the way I'm choosing to do the job. Write blog entries. Put together packs of pictures to sell. Plan more photo shoots. Send follow-up mails.

(Off-topic bunny trail: I'm so far behind on follow-up notes right now that I'm attempting to convince myself that it's actually BETTER to send a follow-up a few days later. After the glow has worn off, when they might be ready to call again. It's smarter strategically, right? Right? Please? Someone needs to pat me on the head and tell me condescendingly, "You just keep believing that, Chance.").

Those longer tasks make sense to do while I'm logged in for calls, because I have long uninterrupted stretches sometimes. Hours go by without a call, almost every day. If I only did those tasks when I wasn't logged in, I would miss probably an hour / day of log-in time, and that feels like an unacceptable loss.

But here's the trixie part: I can't predict when the uninterrupted hours will be. Will this particular break be 3 minutes or 3 hours? So I'm reluctant to get started on "big" projects if then I'll just have to restart them later, especially if they're the type of work that depends on me keeping my place in a list. It's so much more satisfying to just rip through the whole list at once than to back-track and trace where I was.

Sooooo. I haven't figured it out yet. I'm a horrible multi-tasker: my attention goes full-bore on whatever I'm doing, so if I don't manage my tasks, I end up following endless unproductive bunny trails. After our first home photo shoot, it took a week to get new pictures up on my listing, and I still haven't put them together into picture packages yet. Which is silly, because that's good hearty passive revenue I'm passing up there.

Then there's other stuff to remember, too. Like eating (I still forget sometimes) and drinking (boo dehydration). Thankfully, It's been a few days since I answered the phone, recognized the caller, realized it was going to be a long call, and simultaneously became conscious that I needed to pee. Yay for progress on that front. Seriously.

I'm trying to truly believe that it's okay to rest for 15 minutes after a long call. That anybody who was waiting for me will continue to wait, or that if they don't, it'll all work out fine in the big picture. I've started a little after-call checklist in priority order, until I have it memorized, and I try to look at it every time I hang up:
1. bathroom / food / drink / should you go to sleep now?
2. notes about the call
3. thank people for new feedback, respond to blog comments
4. other maintenance: track that money's getting deposited, follow up mails after calls
5. new stuff: blog entries, picture packs, etc etc etc.

Notice: nowhere on the list is: browse other women's listing in utter fascination for hours on end. Maybe someday I'll actually pay attention to my little list, instead of just having it.

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