Category Archives: Life

Confessions Of A Time Management Addict

I love time management. I love learning about new ways of getting more out of the time you have, and I love trying these systems.

While I don’t always stick to them, I do think it’s good to have a few tricks up your sleeve for when things require a certain type of approach. Here are a few that I use and the circumstances in which I use them.

Here are a few that I use and the circumstances in which I use them.

Pomodoro Technique

No, this isn’t a type of passata receipt used only in tomato season, it is the time management system that works when you are having trouble concentrating, or have a huge, single task ahead of you. Works for writing, studying and even cleaning. Any task that will do your head in if you work on it for a long period of time requires this approach. It’s a brain trainer . So how to do it?

So, how do you get cooking with this tomato clock?

  • Choose a task to be accomplished
  • Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer, use your phone or an online countdown)
  • Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
  • Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
  • Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break

Kanban Board

(*Play from .32 secs so you don’t have to listen to crap at the start. you’re welcome.)

This process works really when you have multiple things to do during the day. It was developed for Toyota line-workers to signal the steps in their manufacturing process. This is an easy, one glance system that allows you to see what needs to be done and when and reduces time wasting. I used this last week when I had over 30 tasks to do and was feeling overwhelmed. While it looked someone basic, as I didn’t use a board, I used a large sheet of A3 paper and some sticky notes, I got through it all! It’s kind of addictive to move your task from To Do, then Doing, then finally to Done.

So, how do you use this magic board?

  • Get a board of a large sheet of paper
  • Write down all your tasks on sticky notes
  • Put them in the To Do list column
  • Work on each task and move to each column accordingly

Bullet Journal

This one is for everyday use. It creates a boundary for your day, so you don’t overbook and you can keep track of your life.  For those who know me well, they know I am a huge and loud advocate of the bullet journal. So what is it?

A bullet journal is just a notebook that accommodates a huge variety of planning schemes. You can create calendars and to-do lists, and you can also use it as a diary, a brainstorming notepad, and more. If you’ve ever bought a planner, but didn’t love the design of the pre-printed pages, the bullet journal is your opportunity to make a planner that fits the way your brain works.

The video that launched the bullet journal craze describes a set of conventions that many, but not all, bullet journalers stick to. You create an index to help you find things, a few pages that help you plan the year, and a two-page spread for important dates and tasks for each month. (Many bullet journalers also do a spread for each week.) Then, you write down each day’s plans and events in the form of bulleted lists — hence the name.

I love my Bullet Journal as it’s personal. I can make it what I want and I can pick it up and use it as I nee.  I’m a list maker and I love pens and stationery, so it satisfies both parts of me.

And that’s it for now. I know there are lots of apps but I am a simple soul and these all work for me.

 

 

 

 

 

The Stoic’s Guide to 2017

Starting a New Year is filled with anticipatory anxiety. Who will die this year?  Will I lose the weight this year? Will I find the perfect lover? Will I clear out the junk drawer?

So many expectations and yet so many surprises come and smash us in the face year after year and we’re in shock. This wasn’t on the “To-Do list,” we moan. Of course, it wasn’t on any list, no one writes down:

  • Bury Dad
  • Find lump
  • Attempt suicide
  • Have car crash
  • Get robbed.

I find standard goal setting is futile in an uncertain world. My 2016 was better because I had no idea what my year would look like, instead, I just worked hard on myself and stayed open to opportunities,  and I certainly didn’t have any presumptions about what the year was supposed to bring me.  I am not #blessed, as some like to write on Instagram. As though they were chosen above all other to have such bliss enter their life. I am not blessed. And for the record neither are you.

I have experienced two years of drama, and every time another blow came, I just shook it off and kept going. Not because I am so amazing but because I didn’t have a choice.

So, if I have learned anything from my two years of cataclysm and calamity, it is simply that you cannot predict an outcome, you can only control your role in the process and nothing more.

This week, I spoke to a friend whose child is undergoing serious and potentially life ending treatment for cancer.

“Stoicism wins the day. You can control your part of the process in your son’s life but nothing more. Stay centered and process driven. 🏹🏆”

Now here is my list on how to set goals like a Stoic and be a process driven machine.

  1. Write down what you want to do.
  2. Assess the current state of your situation.
  3. Where are your weaknesses?
  4. Where do you need to improve?
  5. What can you do to turn the weaknesses into strengths?
  6. How will your life have to change?
  7. What will you do when people question or even mock you?
  8. And finally, how will achieving this goal push you towards being the person you want to be?

Let’s look at this in relation to  a real goal.

Perhaps your goal is to have a book published.

If you are setting stoic goals, the goal would be not to be published but instead, the noble goal of bringing you closer to your fated self.  To write something that you are proud of,  that you hope will help people or bring enjoyment to others.

To write something that is the result of you pushing yourself to become a better writer with each draft, to assess your writing, and your process and see where it can improve.

Take a writing course, read more, make more time to do both of these, so perhaps you have to give up watching television two nights of the week. Will your loved ones support you in this? Will they step up to help you reach the goals of becoming a focused, principled, learned writer?

Get it?

And will this bring you to the initial, naive goal of being published? Who knows? If the Fates allow, but that’s not the point, is it? The point is- make the goal noble, make the process stringent, and change your life to support this. The rest is up to destiny, and after the clusterfuck of 2016 we have learned that life turns on a dime and the best we can do is just make progress however we can, with harm to none and the hope that we will be closer to our true selves by the end of 2017.

Peace to you and may 2017 bring you to your best self.

 

Kate

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