Allotting personal time | Ryan Joy (atxryan) Allotting personal time | Web developer living and playing in Austin, Texas. Microsoft Developer Evangelist.
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Allotting personal time


January 7, 2010 by atxryan

Thanks to this post by Alex Jones, I was turned on to Project52 in which participants all strive to post at least 1 new blog post a week for 2010.  I’ve wanted to ramp up my long-form writing for a while now and I’m hoping this challenge provides that impetus. I’ve found that I’m much, much better at writing my thoughts in 140 characters or just passively sharing content I find interesting. I will almost surely fall off the wagon during this year – or would I be getting on the wagon? I’ve never understood that phrase – but it’s exciting to have so many others also attempting to write more.

This is the first post toward that goal…

I’m not the best at managing my own personal time. I frequently get started on a personal development project only to get distracted by something else. I want to get better at photography. I want to continue finding and cooking amazing recipes.

This is completely my own fault. I often end up churning away at work projects well after I get home. I subscribe to too many RSS feeds and I listen to too many podcasts. It’s ridiculous, actually, how much time is consumed by my voracious appetite to know everything there is to know about the here and now. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that I’m likely to have 15+ tabs open at any time holding articles that I’ve yet to read/digest/bookmark.

Thus, I resolve in 2010 to set aside more time each week that would allow me to pursue my goals in a structured manner.

So far I’m using my normal calendar and tasks app to allot blocks of time to certain activities. For instance, I’ve set up an hour block on Sundays to work on some project, web dev type of stuff, of my choice. This should help me finish those plugins or maintain my current sites in a more timely manner. I’ve also scheduled some time afterward, 30 minutes, to spend on personal finance issues.  I’ve got small little blocks like this scheduled throughout the week. In each block, I try to stay on task and move on to the next task when the time is up.

I’m not trying to get down on myself if I miss or change the objective of any time block. Instead, I just move it to another available spot during the week. If there’s none available, I lose that time but that’s not a loss from my current process.

It’s not perfect, but I’m hoping this pushes me in the right direction to better personal time management. What are your strategies?

  • Kathy Warren

    Great post, Ryan – I’m similarly struggling with personal time management amidst the tidal wave of learning and communications opportunities at any give moment. I’m also a two-time dead-beat blogger. Thanks to you and Alex I plan to check out Project 52. Happy New Year! kw

  • I’m glad I was able to introduce you to Project52 Ryan (and by extension Kathy :). It can be hard to balance the innate info-junkie tendencies against the desire to produce. I know I struggle with it daily. But at the same time, I think the proper balance will drive both – I want to learn more about topic X and once I do, I should take the time to write about it before I move on to topic Y, both to cement it in my brain and to provide notes should that cement fail and I need to refresh my knowledge. Additionally, sharing knowledge ensures a healthy ecosystem of information from which we all benefit.