Here we are- It’s March 1st already. And I’m thinking about time, mostly all the time. I also read an obituary in the paper for the man who performed a life-saving surgery on me nine years ago. So now more than ever I am sensing a whole new urgency to each day to get what I can from each day, not just merely get through the day.
I’ve written in the past about the Pareto Principle when it comes to your top customer engagement over time.
The 80/20 law applies to time management too. Only 20 percent of daily tasks are critical. I must admit I constantly need to avoid confusing activity of “doing just to be doing ” with true progress.
So I’ll look at my daily list and select the top three items I must accomplish that day. The rest must take a back seat to the daily plan.
I’d like to delegate or get an assistant. Since most of us voiceover artists work solo, there is nobody to assign work to. If possible, hire a cleaning service, or an assistant to take care of data entry or filing to lighten the workload. I’m paying my daughter to help out with both.
With gas prices on the rise, I now drive now judiciously and route myself on errands and appointments, and do make all my stops in one trip.
Make a list!
I look at mine daily. Some tasks are bigger, longer term projects that will take a chunk of time. Break the biggies into smaller bits and use a timer and dedicate a specific amount of time to it, say ten minutes then work another ten if you want or need to, and another, and it might get done! It’s called Parkinson’s Law. In other words, the work will fill into the time allowed for it. It’s a great way to eliminate inertia by defining a clear deadline for the task at hand. And work on whatever is most urgent, first. I like to take on the biggest “hairiest bullfrog of all tasks” first!
To Multitask, or not? I’m now convinced multitasking erodes focus and doesn’t add efficiency. I’ve read about a number of credible studies that say multitasking can actually impair our IQ. So focus and get more done, quickly.
Go for the golden time
I am clearly a morning person. My biorhythms are set to awaken my body around sunrise. Generally I can sustain my energy pretty evenly throughout the work day, but truly feel my most productive hours are in the morning to early afternoon. I feel I can best devote my concentration In my own prime time window. This is when I’ll schedule many of my recording sessions. And also shortly after lunch, because I can’t work when my stomach is growling.
Rest and recover
When I have a lot of booth work, like long form narration or audiobooks, I’ll dedicate a maximum of 90 minutes at a time, broken into 30 minute intervals, in which I’ll get up and move my body, walk around the house or yard, grab some water and clear my head. At the end of that 90 minutes, I’ll stop that project and move on to something else, to get a mental break. I find I truly need to recover, and turn off the computer, and read a book, exercise, eat, or rest. I am learning it’s not heroic or cool to have a relentless schedule, if I am left tired, stressed and getting run-down and have to crash.
At the end of the day, I’ll do what I’ll call “bookending”. I’ll revisit my daily task list, update it and add things that came in today that will be dealt with tomorrow.