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time management books/help?

I'm interested in learning how to manage my time better. It used to not matter so much, because I was one of those freaky coders who just hacked all day and all night anyway. It worked out pretty well when I was young. Now I'm old and have a girlfriend, and need to go to the gym, and stuff like that, so I need to change my habits.  I thought it would be as simple as getting a calendar and not fucking around as much, but so far it isn't working so well. I need a conceptual framework.

I'm loathe to visit the "business/self help" section of barnes and noble, but maybe I should? Anyone got any suggestions on books? Websites? Something software specific would be useful.

ontime
Sunday, December 15, 2002

Task list: write a task list first thing each morning of what you intend to do that day. The more you break down the tasks the better. It helps me to focus and gives me a small feeling of satisfaction as I mark each task somplete. You may work from a longer task list but looking at it during the day is often discouraging. Oh yes and don't forget to reward yourself with small treats for completed tasks. Plain chocolate hobnobs, yum.

John Ridout
Sunday, December 15, 2002

You might even go as far as getting a shareware scheduling app.  Hmmm...  Painless Schedule jumps to mind.

www.uil.net

Brad Siemens
Sunday, December 15, 2002

Just like quitting drugs or alcohol, there is no secret here (contrary to what self-help books might tell you).  There's nothing you can learn from a book that you don't know already.

To manage your time better, just exercise some planning, scheduling, and self-discipline.

.
Sunday, December 15, 2002

LMFAO

Where I'd leave my boot straps?

Brad Siemens
Sunday, December 15, 2002

Get this book: _Getting Things Done_ by David Allen.

I was not a naturally organized person. However, this book gave me a system that really works. The important work gets done, bills get paid, papers are never lost, and best of all, you feel relaxed, because you know that nothing is being dropped on the floor.

He has a web site too: http://www.davidco.com

Love my ptouch labeler
Sunday, December 15, 2002

Heh. YEah, I realize there is no magic bullet. However, I was mostly just looking for suggestions on reading material on "systems" that work for other people. This last link looks kind of promising.

semi related note:
I used to be a compulsive chainsmoker. I smoked nearly two packs a day! I tried quitting a number of times, always failing. Then I read something somewhere that said a radical change of environment would help. I've spent my life in gloomy crowded northeastern (and european) cities, so I moved to sunny Florida for three months. Never had a desire to smoke in florida, and haven't smoked since! (two years ) Anyway, how this relates to organizational skills, I'm not sure. Maybe I need to join the military? ;-)

ontime
Sunday, December 15, 2002

I'd like to endorse "ptouch" who said:

*****

Get this book: _Getting Things Done_ by David Allen.

I was not a naturally organized person. However, this book gave me a system that really works. The important work gets done, bills get paid, papers are never lost, and best of all, you feel relaxed, because you know that nothing is being dropped on the floor.

He has a web site too: http://www.davidco.com

*****

I've been using David's system for more than a year, and not only am I getting more done, but I have a lot less stress.

--
http://www.braithwaite-lee.com/

Reginald Braithwaite-Lee
Monday, December 16, 2002

_The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People_ by Stephen Covey.  I was unsure about this one when I picked it up recently, but found it to be fantastic.  It provides a powerful framework.

_Time Management from the Inside Out_ by Julie Morgenstern (ISBN 0805064699).  Lots of good, practical advice here.  Morgenstern started out as a Mom who spent two hours assembling everything she needed to take her child out on a walk, at which point she decided to make a clean break of it and organize herself.

A few suggestions:

* Put together a list of the areas in your life that you want to improve:  As a boyfriend, as an employee, programming, hobbies, etc.
* Once a week, use that list to make a list of things you can do *this week* to improve in those areas.
* Pencil in time on your calendar for each thing you identified in the previous steps.  Some of these things may be daily, some weekly; whatever.
* Don't be scared of your schedule.  Feel free to push things around.  Personally, I never follow my schedule exactly; real life's too complex.  Re-adjust it as you find yourself unable to find time for things.
* At work, keep a Programmer's Notebook (see http://c2.com/cgi/wiki/wiki?ProgrammersNotebook ).  This has worked fabulously for me.

See also:

http://c2.com/cgi/wiki/wiki?TimeManagement
http://c2.com/cgi/wiki/wiki?SevenHabitsOfHighlyEffectivePeople

Brent P. Newhall
Monday, December 16, 2002

1. Stay away from Slashdot.
2. Stay away from JoS.
3. Stay away from email.

In that order (1=highest priority).  Problem solved.

anything else you need to know?

Nat Ersoz
Monday, December 16, 2002

I second Brent's endorsement of Seven Habits.  The author talks about three different types of time management systems commonly used today, and then a fourth which is better because it is more flexible (since life always has curve-balls for us).  It has really helped me.

Scot
Monday, December 16, 2002

Plan, Prioritize, Execute.  Don't make it more complicated than it is.  I've never understood why time management is a multi-million dollar industry.

Brian
Monday, December 16, 2002

i've never really been into slashdot, and mail isn't a problem. JoS is a mild issue, but only has been for a couple weeks. ;-)

without giving out too many details about my life, i'm MUCH busier than what I initially described. certainly commonsense helps, but I feel like i'm being sensible and still having to catch up at 4 in the morning far too often.

anyway, that davidco thing looks alright, i downloaded the audio book and will be listening to it at the gym. thanks for the tip!

ontime
Monday, December 16, 2002

Plan, Program, Execute. Don't make it more complicated than it is. I've never understood why software is a multi- million dollar industry.

Not Brian
Monday, December 16, 2002

ontime says that s/he is extremely busy.

Perhaps that's the problem?  Perhaps you're overcommitted?

Brent P. Newhall
Monday, December 16, 2002

i definitely am overcomitted. ;-) however , my dad's a doctor and he laughs at what i think is an exhausting workload.

and to a degree, he's right. he does a lot more than me,and is 28 years olderthan i am! 

ontime
Monday, December 16, 2002

Okay, ontime, I have some concrete advice.  This may be painful, but...

Pay absolutely no attention to your Dad's workload.  He can do more than you?  Good for him.  Does that mean you should do as much as he?  No.  Absolutely not.

Some people are just naturally organized and incredibly productive.  Great!  But when they laugh at those who aren't, that only hurts those who aren't as productive.  You cannot make someone more productive by laughing at them and just telling them to be more productive.  The rest of the world needs specific advice about how to be more productive, with time management books and such.

Brent P. Newhall
Thursday, December 19, 2002

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