Units of Time

“I find that the key is to think of a day in units of time — each unit consisting of no more than 30 minutes.”

Hugh Grant, About A Boy

When you’re a freelancer, managing your time isn’t just an essential thing. It’s nearly everything. 

This week, I’m swapping out my Getting Things Done (GTD) approach to task management for a sort of algorithmic “time blocking.” 

Using Google Calendar Goals, I’m filling my calendar with specific commitments to do the things that are most important to me. That way, when something new pops up, I can be honest with myself about whether I have the time to do it.

What sort of goals, you ask? Things like: exercising, playing with my kids, responding to emails, working out, reading, blogging, cleaning, etc.

The essential stuff — stuff with hard deadlines or start times — goes on the calendar as traditional appointments, and the goals schedule around them.

The constrained time slots have the added benefit of forcing creativity and focus. If you only have an hour scheduled to write a blog post, you can’t/won’t waste all day on it!

My, uh, more significant goals are to tackle one thing at a time, stay on schedule, and remain faithful to my priorities. 

I’m lucky to have near-total control over my schedule, which is part of what makes this approach viable for me. But, I can imagine how a similar approach to scheduling would work in a campaign or startup environment. When your schedule is consistently overfull it’s time to hire — or cut back.