I’ve been doing some research lately on time management to find some new ideas on how I can better organize my workflow. I have to confess that I’ve always been a bit reluctant to adhere to the advice offered in most books on the subject that is loosely categorized as time management, in which readers are browbeaten encouraged to cram activities into every precious waking moment of every day. I’m sure it works well in all kinds of professions, but it’s ill-suited when your product is creativity-based.
Nevertheless, there are some gems out there. One of the better books I’ve read on the subject is Dave Allen’s Getting Things Done. Granted, it still has elements of time-management absolutism, but there’s still plenty of good sense, too. GTD is heavy on prioritization, but with enough customize-ability to keep even a guy like me happy.
There’s a great summary of Allen’s key book posted at 43 folders that’s worth recapping:
Identify all the stuff in your life that isn’t in the right place (close all open loops);
Get rid of the stuff that isn’t yours or you don’t need right now;
Create a right place that you trust and that supports your working style and values (put a big star beside that one, if you write for a living);
Put your stuff in the right place, consistently;
Do your stuff in a way that honours your time, your energy, and the context of any given moment;
Rate and refactor mercilessly.
It’s a game plan of sorts. And so far, I have to say that it’s working rather well for me.