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Caroline's Guide to Managing Life

I wrote this for a friend on Facebook, but I'm copying it here to point to in future.

I organise time, not lists. I think of everything I'm trying to do in life all at once so that I myself, family, friends, fandom and work are all in this together.

First, identify the day's and week's pre-organised "lumps" of commitment - that take 90 or more consecutive minutes. Never more than 3 in a day, and 2 is better. These can be meetings, lunches, training, fitness classes, theatre/concert/film trips, days out (of the office or from home). Or they can be significant tasks (write Minutes, plan project, draft document, reconcile accounts, prune cornus, cook celebration dinner). Relaxation doesn't count unless it's timed or a special effort involving more than 90 consecutive minutes.

Try to leave at least three days of your week clear of lumps. If you have a discrete working week then make sure you have non-lumpy days in both the working and other bits of the week. Everyday stuff fits round the lumps in lumpy days. You should try and spend half an hour with your inbox on lumpy days and identify the quick things that you must or can do the same day round your lumps, but don't sweat it if you can't - those things will wait. Laundry, daily shopping and cooking usually fit round lumps, so do non-urgent emails and accounting and many other tasks. So will social media, in moderation.

On one of days without lumps stay away from the computer and organised activities. It doesn't matter what you do - see friends, make something, take some exercise. But don't look at your inbox, work towards commitments, or do anything pre-panned. Don't let anyone put a lump into that day unless it's dire emergency.

On the other days without lumps make plans, catch up with your inbox, communicate, schedule the following week/month/year, progress elephant tasks, and think about managing change so that next week you have fewer lumps and less communication. You can make lists on non-lumpy days, to work through around the lumps.

Remember that life can always throw lumps in your way at no notice and be flexible. Your non-lumpy days are your contingency.

Eventually you will be in control of a very nice life.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
eledonecirrhosa
15th Mar, 2017 12:47 (UTC)
That sounds like a very sound way to organise your life. Thanks!
coth
16th Mar, 2017 14:10 (UTC)
Arrived at after many years of overcommitment, eternal to do lists, making myself sick from worry and overwork, and not having any fun.

I still have eternal to do lists, but the levels of commitment are manageable and my health is good. And I get to have fun. A vast improvement all round.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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