Productivity Tip – Budget your time

Let’s say you are trying to get organized, you made a task list and prioritized it by importance, now what? You have several projects you have to work on, none of them is more impotent then the others, how can you make progress on all of them?

One way I already talked about is to track how much time we spend on each project and take corrective action when some work is left behind.

Another way is to plan ahead, decide before you start working how much time you are going to spend on each project, prepare a weekly time budget:

Day Project A Project B
Monday 2 hours 2 hours
Tuesday 2 hours 1 hour
Wednesday 3 hours  
Thursday 2 hours 3 hours
Friday 1 hours 3 hours

Now all that’s left is the hard part – sticking to the plan, here are important points you have to keep in mind:

  • Leave a lot of time for overhead, e-mails, phone calls, meals, bathroom breaks and other things that are not directly related to your projects, at first you will be surprised how little time you have to actually work.
  • After your daily budget for a project is finished don’t work on it anymore until you finished all your other plans for the day.
  • Unlike money unused time does not roll-over to the next day (unless you can time travel).
  • Use a timer to know when to switch project, yaTimer’s countdown timers can help you there.
  • And most important, especially at the beginning – at the end of every day look at how you spent your time today and adjust your budget for the rest of the week.
    That means that if you planned to work 8 hours today and you only got a total of 5 hours of work done you have to redo your budget so that every day totals to about 5 hours, and if you didn’t get to work on something today then you need to budget more time for it tomorrow (remember, you can’t just push time you “didn’t use” today to tomorrow, if you need to add 4 more hours to a task tomorrow those 4 hours have to come out of tomorrow’s budget for something else).

posted @ Tuesday, April 1, 2008 4:42 PM

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