A few people have asked me how I manage my time. Specifically, they wanted to know how I could upload lesson handouts regularly, blog, tweet, hold down a full-time job and still find time to watch Arsenal’s Premier League games live on the tele.
So here is an answer – 10 Tips:
Time Management 101 for webmasters, bloggers, tweeters, teachers (and Arsenal supporters) – Part 1
1. Ask for help
I’m surrounded by the friendliest and most helpful people in the world. They are called teachers. They never seem to tire of helping. I frequently post a tweet on Twitter that says: “Will start making news lesson in 30 mins. Suggestions for topics?” The replies I get save me about two hours a week looking for stories. I’m so grateful for this help.
2. Wear a shirt with a pocket
For several decades I have been filling my shirt pockets with little notes to myself - ideas, things not to forget, whether my wife told me to buy milk or bread on the way home. This saves me at least an hour every week wracking my brains for those great ideas. Add to that another hour for having to get changed and go back to buy the milk I forgot to buy (or bread). Warning: Make sure you remove small notes from shirt pocket before putting into washing machine.
3. E-mail yourself
For several years I have been e-mailing myself. It’s not because of a lack of friends. No… the e-mails are digital notes in shirt pockets. This is especially great when the pencil technology breaks. This usually saves me time because I have got into the habit of immediately actioning the messages when I next open my mail. Great for preventing procrastination.
I joined the wonderful Dropbox.com a while back and have never looked back. Now this is a timesaver. The number of hours I’ve spent looking for my Flash-memory-USB thing that I lost, I could have spent making seven new sites. I haven’t needed a Flash since joining DropBox. In fact, I’m not sure I know where it is.I work on three different computers at work and home (Apple and PC) and putting everything in my DropBox does actually save me hours every week transferring files from work to home / Apple to PC. And it’s really difficult to lose a DropBox.
5. Don’t sit down… yet
Whatever it is you do when you get home from work, school, a restaurant, don’t do it…. yet. Spend ten minutes doing a few things on your mental to-do list. And then do whatever it is you do when you get home from work, school, a restaurant. I’ve got into the habit of doing this and it really does get things done.
6. Follow Confucius and Nike
I think it was Confucius who said “A thousand mile journey starts with a single step.” And it was Nike who said “Just Do It”. I love and pretty much live by both of these adages. No matter how huge a project looks, it’s not…. really. Just… start it. A little bit each day and then hey presto you have a thousand-page website. This has saved me about a decade in time. Had I not just done it or not taken that first step, I would be still mulling things over now things that I started ten years ago.
7. Really hot drinks.
Every time you sit at the computer, take a really hot drink with you. It means you have to sit at the computer until the really hot drink cools down and you can drink it. This is the perfect time to do a few of those things you often put off. For me, this means writing birthday cards, paying bills online, tidying your desk area, sorting out photos, etc.
8. Watch only Arsenal’s live games.
This is a real timesaver. Instead of wasting my time watching Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, I only watch Arsenal. Two reasons for this: (a) because Arsenal are better to look at than the other teams and (b) it releases at least 4 hours a week for you to sit at your desk with a piping hot drink. I guess it doesn’t have to be Arsenal… Could be the Shanghai Hamsters or the Sao Paolo Gogetems.
9. Tab management
Save the links you open often as a tabbed group in your browser – I open 10 websites with one click and then start typing in passwords as each site opens. I put the most important sites at the beginning of the group. The most important one is the mail account I use for my e-book – I always check that first in case I need to upload the book, which can take place while I check the other sites. You can turn this into an orchestrated art from. If you really want to, that is.
10. Design a Twitter application
Twitter is fantastic. I love it. Digital equivalent of sliced bread. But, if you invented an app that only gave you access to Twitter for three minutes an hour…
Part 1 of my Time Management techniques means a saving of a decade here and four hours there and trips to get milk elsewhere. Usually the convenience store.
Tune in next post for more tips. And, not to be missed… Time Management tips that could get you into really hot water.