The last two months I have organized my schedule in a totally different way than I did for the last 4.5 years. The reason for that? I wanted to be more productive in order to keep up with all those things that I have to do in a weekly basis: University lectures & projects, blogging for pestaola.gr, working on my bachelor thesis project and of course spending some quality time with friends and family.
The truth is that there is a great change in my way of living but nothing has really changed. Ok, that sounds impossible and weird. Let me explain what I mean. By following a strict program, there is plenty of free time to do all those lazy things that I did before but without having to worry about deadlines. How did I manage to do that? Small, simple, steps.
1) Changed my web browser’s homepage to google.com/calendar. And I activated the Google Tasks add on. So, whenever I open Chrome, I know exactly what I have to do and when I have to do it. When I have 20 days -let’s say- to complete a project, I see it every day and I can do a little thing per day. That way, the project is usually completed a couple of days before and stress free. It never comes that last day with me running mad and trying to finish a 20days project in a day or so.
2) Rearranged my feeds. In Google Reader I kept only those subscriptions that are really interesting and have something to offer. In Facebook, lists helped me sort out the people I really want to follow. In Twitter, I have some saved searches in echofon to find the latest info on whatever I care about. That way, only crucial information reach me and I know that there is no chance to lose something that I find interesting in an enormous pile of useless information.
3) Turn off whatever may get you distracted. Distractions don’t only force you to spend more time doing the same thing, but they also lower the quality of the outcome. Yes, it is really interesting catching up with a friend on MSN Messenger but trying to concentrate back again is difficult and you may not succeed. The flow of your thoughts is never exactly the same. Too many times in the past, I have started writing a blog post, I left an unfinished sentence because of an interesting tweet and when I came back to the post, I didn’t remember what exactly I wanted to write.
4) I don’t need to be at a certain place in order to work. Blogging and coding need only one laptop and a decent Internet connection. Nowadays, most of the cafeterias have free WiFi. I think you get my point.. Working out of home has many advantages. I can simply stare at the road, at people around me and see every minute something different. This, never happens at my place. I know exactly what I ‘ll see out of my window. And that is not very creative.
What I didn’t mention above is the will you need in order to follow these steps. That is probably the most difficult of all. I tried to follow some of these steps a couple of years ago. They never actually worked because I didn’t want them to. So, before trying to do any of the above, be sure that you really want to be more productive, otherwise you will just lose time trying to rearrange your feeds and organise your Google Calendar..