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What if I don’t have time to explain to you – oh never mind here I will do it….
I would not say it is a newsflash that I have room to grow in the time management department. Moving from an instructional position in 2009 to instructional support position in technology was a shift in a multitude of ways. I will share the results of the suggested Time Management quiz later in this post.
I heard an interview on National Public Radio (NPR) today For Working Moms, Key to Balance May Lie In Elusive Leisure Time by Brigid Schulte. The interviewee really researched time/stress management as it applies to working mothers. It had me primed to explore this topic. She also points out schooling has not brought itself up to speed with the way we live our lives. I wonder if her students were in an online class how she might respond?
How Am I Managing Successfully?
As far as tools to manage time I have a couple of go to applications, which cross my devices and have helped me organize.
First, Dropbox. Dropbox can be a free service (2G), you can even get more room for referring/sharing with people, but I am personally all-in at the $99/year level (100G), as I recognize this as an invaluable asset for the type of mobile, data/media demanding job I have. I have it on my Mac at home, work MacBook, work laptop, phone. I share large files which would not go through email with people. Installed on my machines it even can keep a folders of all my screen captures. Big deal you say? Well, yes it is! If I want to show a Mac and PC version of something I used to have to screenshot, save as, copy to Dropbox (pre-Dropbox I would email it to myself – YUCK). Now Dropbox picks the screenshot up for me, and all I have to do is turn to my other computer and find the screenshot in my Dropbox. I use to organize more than my work; all my mobile pictures are saved to a folder in my Dropbox and it makes it easier for me to keep my photo-a-day blog of my kids up to date as well.
Second, Evernote. I still have a physical memory, and writing out things like a grocery list is more about cementing the list into my temporary memory than reading the list again in a few days. However, with my job transition the technical details were often abstract to me and I was not able to sustain my handwritten note-taking in a successful manner, not that I didn’t try for a couple years. After coming back from maternity leave I could see the volume and detail of notes I was taking was not practical to maintain in handwritten form. I transcribed only the current projects I was working on, and pitched the rest of the folders full of handwritten notes in them. Best thing I ever did. I can now take notes and send them immediately to peers not in the meeting with me. Evernote also save screenshots, web clips. I am still using the free version and know there is much more to learn, but I am entirely pleased with what Evernote has done for me so far.
Another new facet to my present job was that my job was never defined; it was however constantly being reinvented by my boss. This made it very difficult to ever achieve mastery. I needed to develop, and am still striving to develop, some strategies to manage his expectations for my time and efforts. Forbes has some great strategies for saying no to the boss.
The Covey Time Management Grid is a great exercise my boss introduced to us. I did not find the product as important as the stepping through the process of organizing tasks.
And one to grow on? I am investigating some mobile apps for as needed time management interventions. I am liking FocusBooster, which breaks task down in to appealing chunks of time with an online timer. Maybe Toggl, but I was not very successful with BaseCamp so am not sure if moving the tracking of time to a mobile would matter; but if it works for you this review mind come in handy.
I think my FocusBooster/Pomodoro philosophy must be taking hold, check out my updates to this blog.
If you care to, please share in my current view of my time management results: