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How Do You Plan Your Working Day?

Discussion in 'Researching & Planning your new business' started by MarkB, Jan 26, 2018.

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  1. MarkB

    MarkB Administrator Staff Member

    I would welcome the opinion of others as to how you plan your working day. I have tried many different methods such as splitting the day into one, two and three parts. Working for say two or three hours in each part and then giving myself a break. I have tried clock watching, one hour on one particular website, one hour with a customer, one hour doing admin, but that has not worked as yet. I have tried working early in the morning, working late at night and every hour in between.

    My preference would be to work in slots of 2 to 3 working periods during the day, or between two, three and four hours. Giving myself say for example an hour in between, one slot for customers, one slot for my websites and one slot for perhaps planning and ideas in the future. Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. Wills

    Wills Member

    Going back to the smartphone post I found not being tied to a desk is a much better way of working, depending on what you actually do for a career some people feel guilty if they aren’t actually at their place if work even if it’s in the spare room.

    Organisation my day is very fluid as I can be in the studio shooting photographs this is scheduled so I know the days and times, when on location I’m away from my desk so I developed a work method that worked and the benefits is I no long need a rigid routine.

    When I’m working on overseas clients jobs there is a time difference so I need flexibility and having a conference call in the conservatory with a coffee isn’t like work anymore.
     
    Businessman likes this.
  3. MarkB

    MarkB Administrator Staff Member

    I have an office in a business centre with a large wooden desk where I have my paperwork and computer. I am toying with the idea of getting a smaller desk for the corner which would just be for paperwork. So, when I need to work on the computer I go to one desk, and when I need to work on paperwork I go to the other and can remain focused on each task. Small tweaks make a difference in my view - like taking my dog for a walk during the middle of the day and returning to work refreshed and unwound.

    I know we are all different but I am very interested to learn how others manage their days to maximise efficiency. I used to fall into the trap of assuming more hours means more productivty which is certainly not always the case.
     
    Businessman likes this.
  4. Businessman

    Businessman Member

    I view my desktops (I have more than one) as anchor points and carrying a laptop as surrogate for that. I do have an email facility on my 'phone in case something urgent comes in, but otherwise, if I'm not at one of the computers I'm engaged in another task. The ability to 'compartmentalise' things is important to my way of working.

    - Psychologically, there is possibly some equivalence to what Mark's suggesting there.

    People are often surprised to find that spend around 40% of my time dealing with 'virtual paperwork' - i.e. writing up treatment, scripts, shooting schedule, audit material etc. Maybe 20% out talking to clients, 25% is spent sat at an edit suite and the rest - about 15% out in the field shooting.

    The 'guilt' thing is very common... Particularly among creatives.

    I'm not actually sure if I ever switch off from work. But then work,for me, is the progression of what started out as a hobby when I was eleven years old. I'm actually at the stage where I wonder if driving to an office is a waste of time and money; in all honesty, it's not really necessary - and just hasn't worked as a method of forcing me to separate work and home.

    One thing I have learned to do though is switch off the work's phones in the evenings and at weekends! I have a private mobile for emergencies and so as the family can get hold of me - but at 5pm on a Friday night the work mobile gets put on a stand on charge and I refuse to look at it 'till Monday morning.
     
  5. selfemployed

    selfemployed Super Moderator

    You might be able to switch the phone off or move away from the computer but if you are self employed, or own a company, does your brain ever real "knock-off"? Personally I find it difficult to switch my brain off from business.
     
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  6. Scott Kinnear

    Scott Kinnear Super Moderator Staff Member

    I used to, and perhaps still do (although its out of season just now for the Gardening), write out a plan for each day of the week and how much I can make if I hit my targets, and write at the bottom what reward I will buy myself if I fulfill my schedule. I don't mean a new car or holiday in Florida :) rather than get an Iceland curry on a Saturday I might buy a real one from the Chinese or Indian. Or I might go out for a pub tea. you have to make little rewards ;-)
     
  7. MarkB

    MarkB Administrator Staff Member

    This is not an idea I have ever heard of before but I think it is one which might work for me :)

    Not only do you have a reward in your sights but there must be a great sense of satisfaction when you reach each reward :) Setting out a weekly diary also appeals to me rather than having a set diary for every week which I find is impossible to keep to. Also, I think it would be useful to add some flexibility to your diary for unexpected things which come up.
     
  8. Tog Porter

    Tog Porter Ayrshire Web Design Staff Member

    As an earlier mentor once said to me: "obey the 6 ps rule: Proper Planning Prevents Perfectly Poor Performance"

    I use a page a day diary with timed tasks, but always leave space for unplanned issues. Flexibility is always required, because one phone call or e-mail can change everything. Fortunately for me, most of my work is done at home on the computer, so I can work to suit myself. (I was working between 1 and 4 am this morning for a USA client as a result of an e-mail for example)

    One thing I have noticed over the years though is that a task can take as long as I allow it. What I mean by that is that if I allow two hours for a task, it will take two hours, but if I allow three hours for the same task, it will take three hours. An aspect of human nature worth noting.

    This makes setting goals with time limits very important for me, as it helps me focus better on the project in hand and utilise my time more efficiently.
     
    Businessman likes this.
  9. selfemployed

    selfemployed Super Moderator

    When timing particular tasks, do you push yourself or do you leave more than enough time? I find I work better under pressure when my back is against the wall. It like the old saying about making decisions when you are dying for the loo - you will act on gut feeling rather considering all of the scenarios in way too much detail :)
     
  10. Tog Porter

    Tog Porter Ayrshire Web Design Staff Member

    I try to set realistic goal time frames without too much wiggle room. Putting a time limit on task completion definitely helps to keep focused, which is a result of the pressure a time limit creates, so i suppose I do work better under pressure too.

    I agree that too much detailed analysis and over thinking can be a way of wasting valuable time. I have learned to step outside the square and see a problem or task from several angles very quickly and once a decision is made on the correct path, just get on with it and move forward rather than constantly re-evaluating and re-starting.
     
  11. Businessman

    Businessman Member

    Hmmmm... I tend to differentiate between how I organise my working day (which is a personal thing) from how I organise a project - i.e. the production of a programme.

    The latter needs to be highly structured since it's the pulling-together of many diverse resources, virtually all of which are 'on a meter' and serious cost-drivers. To that end we uses a production management system derived from Prince-II principles - this also ties in to our T&Cs and contract base - so it does get pretty disciplined in terms of setting out objectives and allocating time to meet them.
     
  12. Needhelp

    Needhelp Member

    Sometimes I tend to go through the day with no real timetable or agenda (although I know the daily tasks I need to do) and to be honest it does make it very very easy to get distracted from what I am supposed to be doing. How do you combat distraction?
     
  13. Needhelp

    Needhelp Member

    It just hit me this afternoon, I have found the solution for me!

    If I do some work for a client, then some work for my business, then some for a client, etc etc - I feel I am achieving my goal of continued income flow from customers and adding to my own business interests. Perfect :)
     
    Businessman likes this.