Thursday, May 15, 2008

Time Management

If you're at all like me, you probably have ever so infrequent period of inactivity surrounded by weeks and months of chaos. When you're the only one on your team, and you've got a dozen things to do, how do you manage your time effectively?

At one point in time, I had a spreadsheet printed out of things I had to do every day, and I checked them off as I went. Of course, if I checked them off and accomplished all the tasks, I didn't have time to do things the things that only pop up from time to time, or take care of the emergencies, so of course I juggled it a bit. This system definitely left some things to be desired. For one, I had to remember to check to see what I had to do next, and there was no way of alerting myself that the next task needed to be done.

I'm going to be investigating some different methods of creating reminders for myself and auto-alerts. I'll make a blog entry whenever I settle on one, or when I give up, whichever comes first.

Just as important as managing your time is tracking where you spend your time. It's much easier to occasionally evaluate where you spend your time. This allows you to concentrate your efforts as opposed to applying band-aid after band-aid, which only takes up your time and irritates you.

I use Gnome Time Tracker, which looks like this:

It allows me to create multiple activity categories, and then whenever I work on one specific category, I can add a "diary entry" of what I was working on, the most recent of which appears at the right. I use Ubuntu on my desktop, but your distribution should have it in their repositories, or it's available by source, of course.

What do you use to both manage and track your time?