Wasting Time

The other day, my magical friend Trevor tweeted about an article he was reading. I clicked over and found this: Best Buy smashes the clock. I glanced over it, more because he was interested in it than anything else, until I got to this part:

People at all levels stop doing any activity that is a waste of their time, the customer’s time, or the company’s money.

Now, I reread that a couple of times, and then I remembered what I had posted about never being still, and I then I reread that sentence again, and I realized that if I better corralled my “work” I would have more time to just be.

For instance: sitting here, waiting and hoping for work to show up is not work. Looking two or three times a day is sufficient.

Same with email: I doubt the president is going to email me for my opinion before he launches the nukes, so I don’t need to be available by email at all times either. I can open it up and delete that spam three times a day, reply to my two real emails and close it again.

And tabs: I had been leaving tabs open until I “got a chance to read them”. Done with that, too.

So here is my new plan: In the morning, I open the email, and go through it deleting, deleting, deleting, and dealing with anything that needs a reply NOW, and then closing Thunderbird. I check my message boards, and then I start working my Google calendar. The calendar holds internet and non internet stuff, but I want to knock out as much internet stuff as I can before lunch.

After lunch: school, then finish up internet. Finished means that the only tab I have open is my Google calendar and that my inbox has nothing from today in it. Eventually, it will mean that my inbox is empty, but I still have some stuff in there from before; 28 actionable items, in fact. This entails opening Thunderbird again, of course, and deleting a ton more junk to get to the few real emails.

When I am done I move away from the computer. This is the most important part! (If I am here, I will be “busy”, which we both know usually isn’t true, but it sounds good, right?) And I don’t come back until the first bedtime at 8pm or later, depending on what is going on here at home. At that time, I can read feeds, make sure there’s nothing left on the calendar, and check email and message boards again, too.

I still need to figure out when I want to clean and read the Bible, but I am betting those things will fall into place pretty quickly.

Oh, I forgot the goal report: We’re not going to talk about my weight this week, since i forgot to weigh this morning when I got up (oops) but I can happily report that I moved 10 books this week, in the form of reviews on my knitting blog.

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2 thoughts on “Wasting Time

  1. That sounds like you are getting more to the “Inbox Zero” approach created over at 43 folders(http://www.43folders.com/43-folders-series-inbox-zero).

    I work very similarly. I start my day hitting the inbox and then about 20 minute of putting my todo list together for the first half of the day. If it doesn’t flesh out for enough stuff to do in that time I allot some time for news / blog reading.

    Then I hit lunch and come back and start the process over again. Sometimes tasks will take longer. I tend to break those up between the morning and the afternoon. If I try to focus on one big task for too long I find I get frustrated and it ends up taking longer than if I break it up into to time periods.

    You’ve GOT to set aside some time during the day for you however. It’s a controversial thought that you set time aside to browse the internet or read news at work. However, especially as a developer and technologist, I find that most of my greatest ideas come from exploring some new piece of technology or code that I’ve read about during those times. In some cases I even find solutions to problem tasks that I have.

  2. I have that time set aside in the afternoon/evening. That time I talked about moving away from the computer I plan to spend reading/playing with kids, crafting, etc–the stuff that gets sucked out of my life when i sit at my desk 16 hours a day.

    As far as surfing the net and getting ideas, that’s why I leave the calendar open all the time. When I get an idea, I put the link and a note to myself as a task (which is how I remembered to generate this post today 🙂 )

    I had read the inbox zero series and got a lot out of it, and then I read a few more pieces out of my feeds that really made the whole idea gel for me– get it done, and then stop and do something else, and if that something else happens to be fun for you/me, so much the better!

    Since your comment happens to be the one piece of email I needed to deal with right away this time, and I’ve done that, it’s time to get up and do something else now.

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