Monday, 9 January 2012

My diary management

Hi! How's your new year going?

Mine is going well thank you! Especially now I am over the cold that slowed me down over my Christmas and New Year holiday. Hurrah!

So, last week I talked about how I have moved my to-do list over to workflowy (one week in and it's working out well so far!).

Today, I want to mention the progression of my diary management over the last couple of years and how I am working on perfecting that. I am also tracking where I spend my time, and I'll blog about that next. I am aiming for a super efficient 2012, and there's always room for improvement!

Up until Feb 2011 I kept track of my commitments with a traditional week-to-view diary. I had been using that type of diary for a good few years (always a silver WHSmith diary. It became a tradition every December to buy one). As the year went by the pages would become more dog eared, and I liked that. This year I haven't bought one, but I kind of feel I should just because I am so used to see it sitting in it's place on my desk!

However, as my work, commitments and areas of interest progressed I knew I needed to take it to the next level, which for me was Google Calendar.

This felt so clean! And I could account for time hour by hour. And all those hours to fill! Whooohooo!

I devised a multi coloured calendar. Each colour representing a different task; social, work, running, time off, blogging etc.

And this is what the result was. Ta da!! So many colours, so pretty! ;)

BUT after a couple of months of this type of diary management I could see it's flaws. 

Yes, I could account for every hour, but as you can see, some days involved jumping from task to task. And more often than not, the tasks took longer than the time I had allocated for it. And then I would have to jiggle things about and it became a bit much really. I also hadn't given myself any room for maneuver. 

So, I had a think and devised a new type of schedule which allowed longer for each task so I wasn't jumping about so much, plus I gave myself more room and flexibility by introducing Leeway Days! 

Leeways days are time I reserved in my diary and keep empty as I've learnt that something unexpected will come up each week, it could be an event, work, or perhaps I need more time to work on something. Or just have some time off! It's handy to have some time in reserve if something needs to be juggled about or re-scheduled. 

These leeway days have been a really beneficial addition. I highly recommend them. 

These first few months of this year are looking to be busy ones already, and I'm looking forward to them and seeing what 2012 brings. 

And if you are looking for some events to fill up your diary with, you won't go wrong with these social media get togethers in Birmingham:

Birmingham Girl Geeks
Saturday 21st January
A meet up for geeky girls and women in Birmingham. And men can come too! Just grab a girl and put your name down. You can come there with me if you want!

I'll be doing a short talk there about social media and the 4am Project. 

Wordpress Birmingham Meet Ups

Wednesday 11th Jan (and monthly thereafter)
WordPress Birmingham (UK) is a monthly meetup group based in Birmingham, UK (unsurprisingly), aimed at bringing together WordPress designers, developers and site owners.

And not forgetting of course......!

Birmingham Social Media Cafe
Friday 27th Jan (and every last Friday of the year)
The Birmingham Social Media Cafe is a place for people interested in social media to gather, get acquainted, chat, plot, scheme and share!

There we go!

How do you manage your diary? Any tips to share? :)

Say hello on twitter: @karenstrunks


Richard said...

Karen - interesting that you mention "leeway days". One of my goals for 2013 is to introduce more "margin" into my life. Gaps in my working days.

Simple things like not booking meetings up against one another ensure I've got time to think and digest after meetings, or work on ideas that I've been inspired to.

We all work such busy, packed hours nowadays. Making time to follow our noses is a good thing, I think!

Karen Strunks said...

Hi Richard,

I really recommend it! I used to jam everything back to back but it's too much. Plus there's no room for spontaneity. Already this year I'm glad of the leeway days I've reserved! :)

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