Managing my time

We all work differently.  I agree with Steve that sharing the way we work can help others.  I am in a role which requires me to be involved with 3-6 large (over 2,000 hours) IT projects at any time.  I generally work on the projects to the point that things become repeatable and I can step back.  For example one project presently moving over 10,000 users to 2 new servers for email is now well into migration phase, my involvement is a 30 minute catch up call each week.  Another project where a customer is planning an upgrade and is in design phase – in terms of infrastructure, software and designing the project processes I’m heavily involved with but will again step back when processes are repeateable and the project has bedded down into a “steady state”.  So with 3-6 of these going on at any time and also assisting others with technology roadmaps I find time management crucial.  I don’t find one methodology helps and need to use several although the general bias is towards using the GTD Methods.

Lotus Notes is my mail repository for what needs doing.  I employ the following folder structure in my email account:

  • 0 Tickle (with folders 0,1,2,3 each with subfolders from 1-9,10-19,20-29 and 30-31 respectively).
  • 1 Next Action 
  • 3 Closed

Emails in the tickle folders are for action on that day of the month.  Next action is emails that I need to action (or list in my GTD Database).  And closed is obvious.  I don’t worry about waiting or project.  I do have other folders for reference relating to account names.  I don’t store data for each project as this becomes an unwieldly complicated folder structure.  I have one other folder for Team and one for Personal relating to team and personal activities.

I don’t use Notes tasks.  Just don’t like them.  Never have.

I use my calendar for meetings and appointments and keep it up to date even of the invitee hasn’t used Notes.

So at the moment I have tickle folders and these are the only hint in my mail file of things needing to be done on a certain date.  To make my time management work properly I need a method for  capturing next actions and listing them.  For this I use the free GTD for Notes database.  This is a functional database, not something that has been designed to be pretty.  However it works for me.  I don’t use all the in-built GTD methodology but some of it.  I have master tasks (again as with my email folder these are account names).  Under here I store tasks.  Each task has next actions, whether I’m waiting for someone.  I also store due dates here.

I haven’t found the prefect time management system yet.  My “half GTD half Stu’s own way” approach helps me.  Oh and after my last post ….. switching off email and only going to email or rss feeds at intervals during the day.


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