Coffee heat rising

Time Management Revisited

Over at Wealth Informatics, proprietor Suba has posted a great article on her struggle to manage time and work. This, it develops, is a function of procrastination. Suba is a fine artist of procrastination, and what she describes as going on in her self-employed worklife is exactly what’s going on here. She kept track of how she was spending her work hours, much as a lawyer filling out time sheets would do. The result was enlightening. A huge amount of time was absorbed with e-mail, cruising the Web, writing comments on other people’s sites, and participating in social media. More was taken up by unproductive breaks that devolved into TV watching.

If someone were to hover over my shoulder, they’d find the same thing happening here. I don’t watch TV much, especially not doing the day (on the broadcast spectrum there’s just flat nothing to see). But I do pass unholy amounts of time on e-mail, reading websites, and adding comments to news reports and bloggers’ posts. Most of this is an absolute waste. And I’ve got a bad feeling that the sense that I’m working way too hard is aggravated by the fact that I’m not working very productively. Yes, I spend a lot of time in front of the computer. But…to what avail? How much am I really getting done?

Suba has come up with three interesting strategies to deal with this issue:

1. Ditch the “to-do” list and create a “NOT-to-do” list, designed to deflect the time-suckers.
2. Physically leave the house to do work. Suba has taken to going to a library to work.
3. Use an add-on such as LeechBlock, StayFocused, or Nanny for Chrome to block time-wasting sites during work hours.

LOL! I’d have to register an awful lot of sites to to make those blockers work!

The idea of going someplace else for actual work, however, is a great one. As I noted last week in a comment on someone else’s site (where, I no longer recall…tellingly!), the advantage of going to an office is that you don’t have all the work that needs to be done around a house nagging at you.

When I’m in my self-employed mode (I’ve swung back and forth between wage slavery and self-employment all my adult life), a fair amount of each weekday is taken up with household chores: water plants, clean the pool & balance the water, take a swipe at cleaning the bathrooms, notice that I can’t stand the dust on the furniture so wipe that down, run to the grocery store, get gas on the way home, throw a load of laundry in the washer, fix a toilet, wash the dog…every one of those antics takes up a chunk of time. To make up for it, I work later at night and over the weekends. The advantage of being at an employer’s office is that it forces you to focus your attention on the work at hand.

Those of us who work out of our home offices might spend a lot less time “working” if all we did was work.

Speaking of the self-employed and those who wish they were, our PF blogging friends have been active of late.

At Dollars and Deadlines, Kelly describes a simple marketing strategy that we all can and should do regularly.

The Financial Blogger has a nice post on building a money-making blog, with some fresh ideas that go well beyond the usual pabulum on this well-worn subject.

At Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, Crystal and Mr. BFS have found something real to absorb their time: a brand-new, very swell home! The excitement knows no bounds.

While we’re on the subject of housing, over at Musings of an Abstract Aucklander, eemusings has an entertaining history of her life in renting.

Revanche has two posts describing her strategy for promotion and a pay increase, which, after an amazing amount of effort and stress, worked.

Evan reflects on his five-year tenure at his job—a sixth of his lifetime! Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near…

At I Pick Up Pennies, Abigail frets about the cost of having the in-laws occupying their backyard studio. This is likely to be a challenge facing thousands of youngish Americans, as the Baby Boomers age and discover that between the cost of Medicare and the rising cost of living, too little is left from Social Security and savings to support them without help from the kids.

Those of us who don’t yet have to move in with our sons and daughters might take a look at Boomer and Echo’s post on turning 50. Best way to stay out of the kids’ backyard is to plan ahead. Way ahead.

At Money Crush, Jackie grumbles about the implied jealousy (and laziness) of the “wish I could do that” set.

And speaking of self-employment, have you ever heard of a financial dominatrix? Ab. So. Lute. Ly. Amazing! Once again I was born forty years too soon…

Nicole and Maggie, over at Grumpy Rumblings of the Untenured, are talking about cutting back on blogging. And at Not of General Interest, Undine notes that quite a few other academic bloggers have had the same idea.

At Free from Broke, Miranda holds forth on the recent flap over HR departments and prospective employers asking people for access to their Facebook sites. That falls into the “wonders never cease” category.

Money Beagle posted a thoughtful piece on the way some seemingly expensive costs are offset by various side benefits of the expensive service or thing.

Frugal Scholar asks if you can bargain on furniture. If Blogger would let me comment on FS’s site without having to sign up to create a Blogger blog, I’d have commented that you certainly can. Many furniture stores will come down on the price if you ask nicely. I once got a Stickley table that was already on sale simply by asking the salesperson if he could do any better. At Crate & Barrel, about which FS wonders, sales staff don’t seem to be empowered to give discounts; however, they will tell you if they know a piece will go on sale in the near future, and one person there offered to call me and let me know when a coveted item was scheduled to go on sale.

Time to go sing. Have a happy weekend—what’s left of it.

5 thoughts on “Time Management Revisited”

  1. I recently read (NYT? WSJ?) that a lot of bloggers/self-employed peeps use hotel lobbies. They buy a cup of coffee and work. The hotels like it–as long as the people fit their image–adds buzz to the place.

    Thanks for the info on the sofa…

  2. There are definitely days I find it difficult getting things done working at home. Some days my creative time is sucked up by what’s going on in the house such that by the time I have a block of time to myself I’m pretty much done.

    Thanks for the mention too!

  3. I need to be able to block Bejeweled Blitz! I just keep saying to myself one more minute one more minute since each game is only 1 min long lol

  4. I agree with the point about going outside of the home office to get work done. As much as I’d rather stay home, the possibilities for distraction are much greater here than at the real office. Dirty dishes, watering plants, folding laundry, etc. I can still goof around online at work, but when I get up for a break, there aren’t as many projects to suck me in for half an hour and waste the day away.

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