Monday, September 13, 2010

Going with the flow

Think the flow chart may be working after all.

I had a very productive morning's work yesterday, and then, because, according to the flow chart, I had only one small thing to do for publicity the same day (the publicity blurb for Deansgate Waterstone's who are hosting the official Manchester launch for the reissue of The Birth Machine - see sidebar), I was able to take the afternoon off with a completely free conscience, and I properly relaxed for once. Previously, I think, I'd have felt compelled to get on with some of the many other publicity tasks ahead of me, as I'd have thought of them as piling up not yet done, rather than knowing that each one has its thought-out appointed time for completion. Either that, or I'd have forced myself to take time off but would have spent it worrying about the jobs not being done and failed to relax properly.

The really great thing about a flow chart is that it makes plain that there really is free time, and that you can take it in the knowledge that there will still be time to get everything done, and as a result you can relax properly when you do.

And I slept right through last night...

It's mad, really, that I haven't done this before, especially when one of my jobs once as a teacher was helping children to plan their study schedules...

Had a slightly curtailed writing morning today, though, as I went to distribute some posters for my Didsbury Arts Festival reading. Seems daft, I know, to take up writing time doing something I could wander around doing any other time, but I'm told the Library do their notice board once a week, on a Monday morning, so I had to get in there early today if I wanted my poster to be up the full fortnight. And Monday morning's really the best time of the week to go round the shops with posters, when the shopkeepers are just sitting there waiting for the week's custom to start, and happy to have any diversion.

So yesterday I'd say it was 5 to writing, 1 to publicity, and today 2 to writing and 5 to publicity (since I'm about to go out and do some more distribution).
Working out fine so far, on average.


Alice Turing said...

I'm intrigued by this flowchart idea, particularly as someone who has a horrendously busy life. I know what a flow chart is, but I don't know how it can be used to manage time and to-do lists? Is there somewhere I can go to find out, do you know?

Elizabeth Baines said...

Not sure. I devised my own, and it's really a kind of calender adapted to the flow chart notion. ie across the top are the dates, and I simply mark in the deadlines and then fill in all the tasks on my To Do lists by creating blocks of time in which they are to be completed, with arrows to the tasks they lead on to - composing the whole thing backwards from the deadlines and working out how long each task will take. It's good because I can see which tasks overlap and then can readjust if I don't think I'll have time to do them both at once.