Getting Past Scheduling

Getting Past Scheduling

I revisit the topic of schedules every so often because schedules are evolving things. The reason why Zen to Done works for me is that it minimizes the importance of the calendar. I do most of this in my free time, using that term very loosely. I do get a scheduled hour and a half every Monday through Thursday, but the other days of the week are pretty much up in the air.

I could set scheduled times to do things on my days off, but I consider that unfair to the rest of the family. But I do try to take one of those nights off and stay up four hours past everyone else. I find that is about the perfect time for me to tackle a medium size workload and feel that I accomplished something when I was done.

Now I don't know if that's the right way to do it, but it's the way I've done it and it works for me. Our weekend activities as a family change and there is no way to account for most of these changes except like I said, picking at least one night to stay up late because we do go to bed about the same time every night here.

With that in mind a tradition planner doesn't work. But there are other reasons. I am really bad at estimating time. Really, really bad. I have yet to learn every twist and turn that some of these projects I take on can take. I actually used a calendar and text message reminder system for a while. It sucked. It just made me feel lazy. I would send myself way too many reminders in a day and eventually I started ignoring them. If I couldn't estimate the time on one project, how could I estimate 10 in a row. It was a mess.

So until I get better at this, out goes the calendar method except for the fact that I do my regular round of checking ROI of my affiliate sales, write a post that I may have already written the night before in longhand, find blogs to comment on and drag them to Flock's WebClipboard as I check Google Reader and go through my Entrecard Inbox. Since I to through this to do list every day before my day job, it was easy to add it as a habit, because I simply tacked it onto something I already had to do that was regularly scheduled.  And that may change with time, as I learn more things and can prioritize better.

As far as everything else goes, I put a few projects on a list that I want to complete and fluctuate the order based on a few different factors, which basically means I pick something and go with it. Sometimes I pick the most important thing and sometimes I pick the easiest depending on the time I have an where I'm at. And I grab whatever time I have available on the weekends. Many of the weekends I post here. Sometimes I don't.

I know certain things have to be attended to on a regular basis, like a more detailed review of all of my advertising campaigns, site upgrades, and linking campaigns. And some projects are totally new, like the theme for this site. Projects that kill more than one bird with a stone gets more weight. I needed a theme for this site and releasing it to the public would get links back to me, two birds. Some projects are simply research to see if something I think is possible to do actually is.

I was about to say that paying hosting and for domain name renewals might be scheduled but I have made those automatic.

And most of my posts get published around 7 am in the morning, except for the weekend posts like this one, which can be any time.

Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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