summer retreat: 6.6.11

June 6, 2011

day 8
today marks the beginning of week #2 of the virtual summer retreat, ushering in a new theme: time is life. because really, what else do we have? i’ve written about this before, but someitmes i’m so amazed at how we [myself included] can be somewhat haphazard in spending our most precious and irreplaceable resource.

in managing 80-hour work weeks as a matter of routine in residency, i became particularly interested in making the most of my [limited!] time. it occurred to me that — no matter how you slice it — everyone has the same 168 hours per week. feeling like i had ‘no time’ to do X, Y, or Z no longer seemed like a fair or valid construct — i had to address my responsibilities / time-spending choices as these were controllable variables, rather than the number of minutes to an hour or hours to a day.

while i didn’t love everything about laura vanderkam’s 168 hours: you have more time than you think above [see my review here], it helped to reinforce the concepts above. it also introduced me to the concept of the time audit.

a time audit is exactly what it sounds like — a written account of how one’s hours are spent, logged one increment [15-30 minutes] at a time. it sounds simple, but i was surprised how much valuable information i got out of my audit. several templates and tips are available: check out the resources below!

■ fancy GTD version here [free software]
■ from 168 hours
■ from productivity501

for today, in lieu of a traditional journal topic, i encourage you to get started on your own 168-hour time audit! this can be done after the fact, but the best and most accurate assessment of your time-spending habits will be done in real time throughout the day. feel free to use any of the templates above, or just mark off a section in the notebook you are using. also, if an entire week sounds daunting, think about doing 2 weekdays and 1 weekend day — enough to get somewhat of a picture without taking up too much of your [valuable] time.

✔ my favorite time management article is probably that on fixed-schedule productivity by superstar cal newport

✔ leo babauta’s simplified time-management system

zen habits list of 50 productivity blogs

it’s up to you when to get this in, but try for 5-10 minutes. and for a more structured experience, try one of the podcasts at meditation oasis [being a bit overwhelmed, i plan on checking out the ‘mini-break for work or study’ podcast today – just 9 minutes!]

i think the above is plenty for today, since getting used to the time auditing may take a little adjustment!

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