As I continue to work on my book 1 and my other daily responsibilities as a father, husband, editor, podcaster and writer, there’s nothing quite like a bit of a lifestyle shakeup that results in a change of my workflow strategy. Nothing quite like it at all.
In recent weeks, I’ve gone from a ton of projects to a manageable amount of projects, and I’ve also made a change in how I map out not only my days, but my weeks. It’s what I call “time chunking”, and everybody does it to some degree.
I used to chunk my time on a daily basis, setting aside certain chunks of the day for projects or tasks, depending the time I had at my disposal. For example, on Fridays (when we have had no child care), I don’t do much “heavy lifting” at all. I stick to simple tasks that require little to no mental energy to complete, such as email and organizing what I’ve captured in Asana.
Lately I have chunked my time in a different manner, mainly as a result of my new role at Stepcase Lifehack and now that I’ve got a book in the works. I am now chunking by day of the week, rather than by hours within a day of the week. I have dedicated certain days to certain projects and tasks, allowing me to keep that much further ahead of (or on top of) all that I’ve got on my plate. In fact. by switching to this method of time chunking, I was able to see what projects I had room for in my life better than ever before. This allowed me to make the decisions to stop working on those projects with more confidence, since my time chunking process had “shown” me what I had time for and what I didn’t.
Also, by time chunking my week rather than my day, I have room for more flexibility. I can play with the hours in a day now, whereas I couldn’t before. And yes, I work from home…but I know that a lot of people who don’t work from home can time chunk in the same manner – or at least use a combination of daily and weekly time chunking – so that they can make better use of their work week. I know this because I did it back when I worked in an office environment, and even when I worked in retail management.
Here’s how I structure my week now (I’ve listed the primary focus items for each day):
- Sunday: Personal work (Vardy.me, The Front Nine, Mikes on Mics, etc.)2
- Monday: Correspondence, meetings, follow-up, reviewing of products/services, etc.
- Tuesday: Lifehack work
- Wednesday: Correspondence, meetings, follow-up, reviewing of products/services, etc.
- Thursday: Miscellaneous work projects (ghost clients, workshop/webinar and talk development, etc.)
I am currently doing some work on Fridays and Saturdays when the need arises, but my new time chunking strategy has allowed for that need to drop more and more with each passing week. Also, while I do have the focus of each day assigned to a primary set of projects or tasks, Lifehack work happens in some form or another each and every day. Tuesday is just my heavy lifting day for the site.
Time chunking – and fine tuning the practice – allows me to work with optimum productivity. It’s worth trying in some form or another because it removes a decision from the process of doing: what to do and when to do it.
Photo credit: Nick Olejniczak (CC BY-NC 2.0)
1 Which reminds me, I need to send an update out to my book project newsletter subscribers. Still. I’ll get on that this Sunday…naturally.
2 Yep, I start my week on a Sunday.