Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Time Management via Google Calendar: A Week in the Life

In my last two posts, I explained a new time management approach that I've been using to try to corral my busy life and chaotic to-do list.  The approach combines scheduling Google calendar events instead of keeping a to-do list, with planning everything a week or two in advance.

I always used to plan my to-do list the night before, so it was pretty natural to start planning my week Sunday nights.  The webinar I originally watched claimed that it would only take 30 minutes each week, but with the complexity of my schedule I find that it takes more like an hour.  And then, of course, it's not "plan and done," since I find that I have to adjust my plans throughout the week and sometimes throughout the day when unexpected things come up.

This week, though, I planned out the week Saturday night.  I changed it because a whole bunch of our plans for the weekend changed, and it meant that some things got pushed back until later in the week.  I decided that while I was making those adjustments, I might as well plan the rest of the week too.

I mentioned already that I've been doing a hybrid approach where I have to-do list tasks, but I also schedule out the time to work on those things.  Maybe in time when I get through some of the tasks that have gotten stacked up, I'll start depending on the task feature less and the calendar blocking of time more.  But for now, I've found I still need those task reminders.

I'm also hoping that as time goes on, I'll get better at anticipating my time requirements when scheduling things.  For instance, I totally underestimated my need for down time on Sunday, and as a result I didn't get done all of what I had planned.  I also routinely underestimate the amount of time it will take me to do tasks or transition from one thing to another, although I'm already getting a little better now that I'm presented with a visual of my day with time blocked out for everything.

Of course, there are other times when I just need to allow myself some leeway to change the plan as needed.  I really struggled on Monday, partly because things didn't go as planned and partly because I struggled with motivation. I think it's important to give myself grace at times like that and remember that I'm only human.

I also really like that by changing the schedule in real time, I can look back at a day and see what I spent my time on.  It has been useful for determining hours spent on different things, and also helps me to see that it is not just that I'm not getting enough done - I can see for myself that I'm working on things, I just have too much to do!

Overall I think there are a lot of reasons to like this combined approach to scheduling and planning in advance, and I'm hoping it continues to work well for me.

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