Time management works

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Tobermory (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The weekend was hectic.

On Friday I spent much of the day completing electronic edits for a client job. I finished at about 6pm, sent it off, and by 7:45pm he’d paid me. This is excellent. After a busy week, though, I was quite tired, but at least I’d accomplished everything I’d set out to. Or almost everything.

Because I wanted to get that in before the deadline (Saturday), it meant I’d sacrificed my writing time. So first chance on Saturday I caught up a little on that, while the poet continued with a painting he’s started. I don’t often work at the weekends, but this was an exception.

I finally managed an hour of yoga, and B&Q called (for the third time), closing the complaint and offering to send us a gift card.

We also had a mad tidy-up session, which included changing the spare bed and clearing all the clutter from the spare room, as we were off to collect son #1 + g/f at 4pm. On the way home from collecting them, we stopped off at Yo Yo Noodle for tea, which is one of my favourite places but one they’d not even heard of.

When we got home and they’d settled in, we went for a walk up to the lake and back. Then off we went to the Gonzo Comedy Club in Holmfirth. This was our second time, but the first time they’d really been to a comedy show. We had a nice time, but one of the acts had a bit of a stumble from a not-very-well-highlighted step in the darkened room. Our table was right on this step and we’d already struggled to get in on that side. But in the dark, the poor chap didn’t see it, and he fell through the audience, taking 2 drinks with him, before landing heavily on the stage area.

I have to say he rescued the situation very well and turned the crowd right around, but it was at the sacrifice of his usual routine. So now we’d like to see him again to see what he should have done. We were very impressed with his attitude, but the club might like to address that hidden step issue.

By the time we’d got back and had a chat with a few drinks it was very, very late. But son #2 was up bright and early Sunday morning and walking the dog to the Co-op. Rufus, of course, had to shout to everyone that he was going for a walk, but he apparently calmed down by the time they reached the main road. The poet made us all a cooked breakfast, and then we took them home again. It was nice to have them with us and to meet his girlfriend for the first time.

Sunday afternoon we stopped off on the way home to buy a coffee table for the living room (aka an “occasional” table), and then we chilled for the rest of the day, even going to bed very, very early.

This morning I decided on my “one job I want to do today” thing and was at my desk at 9:30am again. First job was gig list work (after first “housework” chores of “empty dishwasher” and “fill washing machine”), and as the gig list didn’t take very long, I was able to start “daily competitions” earlier. Another time management tip I’m adopting is “start the next job as soon as you’ve finished the previous one”, rather than wait until the allocated time.

Then, because I also completed that job relatively early (despite catching up after the weekend), I was able to respond to a client query that came in over the weekend regarding the work I sent back to him on Friday. This was the one job I wanted to complete that wasn’t already on the list. But another was to stick to the list, which I seem to be doing.

My next job started bang on time, at 11am (“blog” 😉 ), and as it’s shorter than I thought it would be, I can see me having a cup of tea at 11:30am before starting the next job, “writing time (2 hours)” – hurrah! Then this afternoon I start the next client job – another 2 hours.

I have to say, the tips I’m reading in GET EVERYTHING DONE by Mark Forster are certainly working. And I’m trying to squeeze in either a whole chapter or at least half of one every day.

Right, there’s another job jobbed early. 😀 I can see I might be revisiting the schedule again once I’ve worked with it for a while.

How was your weekend?

So how am I doing? (*** list alert ***)

So on Tuesday I started a new time management routine, just to see if it worked or not. And so far, it seems to be. I’m getting more done and spending more time on things that matter and less time on things that don’t.

Let’s take today, for example. Here’s how today’s diary usually would have looked:

8:00 housework
9:00 BREAKFAST
10:00 daily competitions
11:00 blog
12:00 writing work
1:00 DINNER
2:00 study skills (edit book) (2 hours)
(2:30 dentist – boo!)
3:00 invoices, admin, pc mtce
5:00 housework
6:00 TEA

It’s still in hour-long segments and yesterday I found out I had a dentist appointment at 2:30 … yes, really. My own writing work only had one hour allocated to it, and the book that’s due to be finished today only had 2 hours allocated to it – which doesn’t allow for hiccups like power cuts or the internet falling over (as I have to submit via the job board), and I lost a day’s work on it Tuesday when lots of new furniture arrived. Also, I have no invoices to raise this week (boo!) and pc mtce can be done while I’m doing something else, as it’s backing up critical data and can be done in the background.

So I had a think, and prioritised a bit, and postponed the dentist to next Friday. And here’s how it looks now:

8:30 housework – washing (laundry)
9:00 BREAKFAST
9:30 daily competitions
10:00 blog
11:00 writing work (2 hours!)
1:00 DINNER
2:00 study skills (edit book) (3½ hours) PLUS pc mtce
5:30 TEA

Not only does my day start 30 minutes later, by the way. It also finishes 30 minutes earlier. Yet I’ve managed to schedule in 2 hours for my own writing work, which could be cut down to 1 hour if I feel the book needs more time – but at least I still have a writing session booked in – and the book job that’s due in today has 3½ hours allocated to it. If that job gets finished early, then I can do any outstanding admin (aka filing …) or housework. But it can also run over and the poet will sort tea if necessary.

Oh yes, and I didn’t get the rubber (eraser) out once this week, once I’d settled on the schedule.

With this new system, which I’m still testing, I’ve managed to give myself 2 hours of writing time every day next week*. Plus client work gets 2 hours every day Monday to Thursday*. AND I’ve managed to fit in an hour of study (aka personal development) on Wednesday and on Thursday. So there are 2 hours I wouldn’t normally be spending on my own work. Friday afternoon will consist of errands next week (dentist + hair appointment), otherwise I’d still have 2 hours of client time then too.

I have yet to see where yoga and dog walking will fit in, although walking the dog isn’t such a necessity these days as we have such a big garden. But I think we do need to fit it in somewhere, and not just at weekends and on holidays. And we do walk the dog to the lake after the poet has finished work whenever we feel like it.

The old first 30 minutes of the day (8:00 – 8:30) are the poet getting ready for work, so I’ve knocked that off my diary. I’m still having 60 minutes for dinner at the moment, because he comes home for his dinner now and he has 45 minutes. Maybe that’s where the dog walk will come in.

BUT I’m very pleased with it and, more importantly, I’ve been able to work on CATCH THE RAINBOW every day, which is a habit I really want to get into. And you can see what I have planned for today without me having to repeat it. 😉 (Although, I may swap the writing time and client time around to ensure I meet the deadline, but I’ll still have and take my writing time, even if it is only an hour.)

So, that aside, I still need to apply it to weekends as we have another very busy one coming up.

This evening, if we feel like it (the poet has tonsillitis threatening), we might go to see a band. Tomorrow, son #1 is bringing his girlfriend to meet us and we’re going to Holmfirth too, for something to eat and to take in a comedy show. Sunday morning there’s a farmers’ market in Wentworth, but that depends on what time we have to take son #1 + g/f back to the station.

I still have a very busy day, and so I’m going to clear orf now. Y’all have a good weekend. 😀

* Apart from Tuesday. I think I have a day off on Tuesday.

The Gonzo Comedy Club

On Saturday we went along to the Gonzo Comedy Club in Holmfirth – we like Holmfirth and have even been looking at property there. It was my first time ever to a live comedy show … well, apart from Freddie Starr at the Night Out in Birmingham … and the Barron Knights at the New Cresta in Solihull … and Freddie Starr (again) at the Metrodome in Barnsley … but apart from all of those …

A muso friend of mine, Ian Seaburn, is the host at the comedy club and we only saw the event by accident when he shared a newspaper story on Facebook. We didn’t have anything planned and we like something a bit different, plus we like to support our friends, and I know Ian from a goth band from Huddersfield, Rhombus. He’s not with them any more, but they all still keep in touch.

Our table was reserved for us …

comedy fest 2

… we couldn’t get any closer to the front …

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… and the 4 acts + host were right in our faces. But we had a great time.

Ian, the host, without a guitar or his customary dark make-up to hide behind, was a little nervous. But he did his job and kept it going.

First up was Kev Eadie, an energetic start to the show with a penchant for fruit. Then we saw Dean Moore, a smoggie (from Middlesbrough) who likes fruit a little less. The last act of the first half was Raj AC, whose famous parents may surprise you. Raj also sang a little song or two. (I thought the guitar was Ian’s when we got there.)

After a 20 minute break, fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe came Rachel Fairburn, all the way from Manchester. Rachel kept us satirically and darkly entertained for the next hour and even had free colouring books to hand out – of serial killers.

The atmosphere was friendly and cosy, all of the seats were filled, and we really did have a good time. If I had to say anything constructive, I’d like to have biographies of each act available or details of how I could find out more about them, although I did that anyway with the help of Google and Ian’s own links in order to write this post.

I’d also like proper packets of peanuts available from the bar instead of cordon-bleu-prepared-assorted-nuts. And more advertising. Two young ladies there saw a flyer in a local café, but I think they should also consider Diane’s Gig List … 😉

But apart from that, it was a good evening and I’m sure we’ll be going again.