For some time now, I’ve wanted to do more. I don’t want to necessarily spend more time working, but I do want to achieve more. As a self-employed publisher who works from home, my success is directly tied to my productivity. In today’s “challenging” economic climate I don’t want to leave performance on the table.
I also don’t want to work in the evenings. Evenings are family and game time!
In my quest for greater productivity, I recently moved to a three-notebook system.
I’ve only been using this system since the start of November, but I can report that, to date, it has been a great success! As I suspected, I was not using my work days efficiently.
One of the notebooks in my three-notebook system is wholly given over to time blocking. This is rapidly becoming an essential part of my workflow.
Every work day, as part of my powerdown routine, I plan the next day in half-hour increments. I take my job lists from the Reminders app as well as from my (blue) monthly planning notebook and make a day plan. This takes less than 15 minutes and it is time incredibly well spent.
Then during the workday, I push through my lists while using my plan as a guide. I also note down how I actually spend my time. How I actually spend my day never exactly tallies with how I planned to spend my day; there are always variations, large and small.
But, having a plan gives my day structure and something to aim at. It means I waste less time wondering what to do next or—even worse—deciding to do something at the wrong time. (I am far more creative and productive in the mornings; thus, it makes no sense to do admin tasks during the mornings.)
For example, consider these daily pages from my (white) time block planner. (I’ve covered up my Family list for obvious reasons.)
Mornings—with my focus on deep, creative work are better organised than the afternoons. I discovered a year or two ago how important mornings are to my overall productivity and have guarded them jealously ever since. But time blocking gives me an extra incentive and reminder to do so.
Glorious Victory is Mine
Based on a purely design and development perspective, I estimate time blocking in this fashion has increased my productivity by about 150%.
How do I know this?
I measure design through my word count. Luckily, it’s easy to track word counts across a variety of projects. For example, so far this month, I have written approximately 12,000 words without including my Citadel on the Wilderlands words. They add approximately another 7,000 words to the total. Given it’s the 17th of November and I don’t write at weekends, that’s more than good enough.
I measure development through books ready to be released. Every month, I develop and publish 12 - 15 books. I’ve already completed all December’s releases and have already moved onto January’s books. This puts me almost two weeks ahead of my normal development schedule.
The Final Word
I know my three-notebook system is yet young. I get that you shouldn’t take my word for it after only two weeks, but I am thrilled with the results thus far. Based on how time blocking is helping me achieve my goals, I will absolutely be continuing with it; the trivial amount of time invested in the system pays excellent dividends.
Creighton Broadhurst is the Publisher of Useful Items at Raging Swan Press. He lives on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity. He is not planning to voyage far.