Yet another note on (attempts at a) personal workflow

In a recent post about, ooh, three months back, I gave an overview of managing my personal workflow.

Basically, I’m not finding a self-management system like Personal Kanban to be of much use.

  • Tasks seem to be either ‘to-do’ or ‘done’; there is no ‘doing’ stage, so recording the progress states of items give no value & just creates overhead, especially as there’s no Kanban-style application for my Android phone. I’m finding Remember The Milk and Google Calendar to be more useful (just logging tasks in Google Calendar seems about the right level)
  • Over the last few years my life has become more stabilised, but also time-poor. I never seem to have the ’space’ to do things, but also never seem to have large gulfs of time in which I’m doing nothing. (Where does the time go? Age-old question, I know)
  • Repetitive tasks (literally those set up to repeat) in RTM seem to get done, whereas unique tasks – where one imagines the value is – generally don’t (perhaps they need further decomposition?).
  • Agile/Lean systems like Scrum/Kanban haven’t really taken off at work, being still largely plan-based rather than adaptive; so the expected driver/pressure on my personal life isn’t present.
  • In reverse, I’m also spending a lot of time just trying to catch up on personal tasks; recently had the idea of ‘personal slack’, where I reserve time for misc projects (not ‘goof off’ time) similarly to Google’s 20% time. Time to link to a book I’ve never read!
  • I’ve largely given up on Google Reader, I can never get through it. Don’t even get me started on social media like Twitter. How do other people do it? I guess most of them are “social media types” whose actual job is to camp on Twitter all day with a megaphone and soapbox to hand.
  • I’m picking up bad habits, in that overloading myself with multiple projects (Lose weight! Tone up! Learn to properly swim! Learn German! Oh, and do weekend programming too.)

So, it now seems to me the challenge is to add more productivity/value into the time spent, not just “do more” (insert well-worn Dilbert cartoon here).

I considered running a poll on “what to try next” but given this blog’s low readership, think the results would be embarrassingly disappointing :)

So, this leads me into various meta-organizational activities like goal setting & avoiding procrastination, but this is largely familiar ground & so delivers little 80%/20% value. After sleeping literally most of last Sunday for no apparent reason, I’m also fed up of needing 9 hours sleep a day, so training my body to use less sleep. Rising at 6:00am for a week to get more done in the morning… such as writing this blog post to encapsulate how things are right now.

Right now I feel terrible :) Just had a conversation with my housemate about the apparent futility of forcing my body to go against the grain; I’ve always needed a decent amount of sleep but when I get it, in the mornings I’m on better form than a lot of people I know. Also the feeling of staying in lots of nights to just get things done, but never seeming to get anywhere… even the idea of taking my holiday shower gel bottles to work for use in showering there after swimming seems like a huge revelatory idea, but that’s silly.

Three weeks later

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