When I’m finished with this post, it will be the third article written today and right now it’s only 1:30pm. I honestly can’t remember a day when I’ve wrote as many quality articles in such a short amount of time. There are three things that I can attribute to my productivity today.
The first is that I’m using an awesome Mac application called Self Control (more on that later) and the second is that I’m not longer being pestered by Diggy on Skype (it’s actually the other way around). The third reason, and the most important, is that I actually set myself a timetable for today.
I had the idea to try a timetable around two days ago when I saw someone else write about the process. I wish I could remember the blog so I can link to them, but sadly I can’t. My timetable is quite similar to what we all had when we were in school, hence the “back to basics” in the title. I wasn’t sure how things would work out, but it has been incredibly useful.
Just to give you an idea of how I set out my timetable, here is what I have written down today:
10am – 11am: Write guest post for Daily Blog Tips
11am – 11.30am: Respond to all comments on PluginID (I did half) and ViperChill (I did all of them)
11.30am – Noon: Draft outline for Reality Switch eBook (a new eBook I’m working on)
12am – 12:30pm: Start on Guest Post for Search Engine People (I actually wrote 90% of it) and reply to all emails (done)
12:30pm – 1pm: Make lunch
1pm – 1:30pm: Skype call with Bud Hennekes
1:30pm – 2:30pm: Write timetables blog post for PluginID
I wrote this as soon as I woke up and vowed to stick to it. So far, it has been a total success.
If You Have All Day to Do Something, That’s How Long It Will Take
If I do not finish a task within the time I give for it, I’ll stop working on it and move on to the next item. I haven’t had to do this yet, but that is the plan anyway. I have had many days in the past where my only job for the day was to write an article about ‘X’ and that’s exactly how long it would take; all day.
The two guest posts I managed to write were both high quality and exceeded 1,000 words. I even had 20 minutes to spare after the first one so caught up with Google Reader and checked out Twitter. By giving myself just an hour to work on something, I naturally cut out all distractions and just get started.
I say naturally, but I also used a tool called Self Control (Mac). What this tool does is block you from certain websites for an amount of time allocated. If I block Twitter.com or Skype.com it will also block the Skype application and Tweetdeck. There is actually no way to turn it off and even if you restart your laptop it will still be running. So, whenever I have to write an article for an hour, I simply turn it on for 60 minutes and block all websites that would usually waste my time.
If anybody knows of a Windows alternative, please feel free to share it in the comments.
I’m fortunate enough (actually, I worked really hard for 2 years) to not have a day job so I know my structure won’t be suitable for everyone. However, I see no reason you can’t use this within your typical working day or after hours.
This is only my first day of using timetables, so I’m not sure how well things will continue to work out, but for some reason it feels really, really, fun. I know that might sound strange, but maybe you have to try it for yourself to understand. There are a few ideas I’ve had about continuing to use this in the future:
- New Timetable: I will create a new timetable every single day. I don’t like setting an hour to wake up on, so I will work with whatever hours I have
- I Will Not Extend Times: If I give myself an hour, that’s all I’ll give to the task unless I really need to extend it. If I still need to finish something, I’ll schedule it in at a later hour of the day
- I Won’t Plan a Whole Day: As many of you know, I’m travelling around Europe soon so will only be working for a few hours each day. Instead, I will plan a block of 3-4 hours to get things done which leaves me flexible to whatever life wants to throw at me
I would love to know what you think of this idea! Have you tried something like it before? Are you going to try it? Is it too ‘robotic’ for you?