I mentioned in How Heatmapping Your Productivity Can Make You More Productive that I thought most personal planners got time wrong and presented all blocks of times as being equal. Later that day, I was thinking about how to capture the rather inchoate ideas in A Special Theory of Relativity (it really is coming, but I’m having trouble making it coherent and short) and it dawned on me: we learned how to manage our time in preschool.
We learned time management by playing with shape sorters and learning to put the right shape in the right hole. If you all were anything like me, you tried to figure out how to put the square through the circle hole, even though you knew that wasn’t where it belonged. It belonged in the square hole. I’m sure you also figured out, like I did, that you could get the wrong shape through the wrong hole, but it took a lot more work.
The practical application of the Productivity Heatmap is much the same. It’s about using your own rhythms (the sorter) to determine which is the best time to do certain tasks (the blocks). Sure, you can do the wrong tasks at the wrong time, but it’s a lot harder.
I’ve now been toying with whether getting a shape sorter, limiting the number of blocks I get, and labeling the blocks with tasks (writing, networking, etc.) would be a useful metaphor and tool for my work planning. If nothing else, they foster creativity.
It’s strange how many lessons we learn as children, forget as adolescents, and then have to learn again as adults.
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You may want to look at Kanbans. They’re placeholders used by Toyota (and others), to manage the flow of work through a factory.
You can only keep so many of them queued up, and you can only add new ones when you’ve completed something.
Simple and effective.
Many people do not realise that sometimes to be too meticulous may leave little time to do everything required. It’s a sad journey. Good post for us all to think about.
Pollydot’s last blog post..Near the celandines by the bank …
Charles Gilkey says
@ Evelyn: Thanks for the heads-up re: the Kanbans. I’ve googled them and am taking a look. I love having different types of things like that around, even if I don’t regularly use them, because they get me thinking about stuff.
@ Pollydot: Thanks for the comment. I agree with you that part of the key to being productive is figuring out what you’re not going to do for the day. Glad you liked it.