Archive for the 'Time Management' Category

Blogging, Time Management

Waking up

A coworker stopped me the other day: “You have been busy,” he said, “you haven’t been blogging.”

A quick look through the history of my blogging will show a lot of varation in frequency of posts and a general slow-down in recent years (only some of which I can attribute to Twitter), but it’s still true: I have been busy, and I haven’t been blogging because of it.

Not long after I started the new job, we started in on a professional services engagement with an identity management architect, to help validate (and correct if necessary) the direction we were going and to help lay the foundation for future work. What we’re doing is huge, and we want to make sure we’re doing it right. The next couple months were unrelenting weeks of nothing but day-long meetings and preparation for those meetings. I take issue with the methodology — it’s fair to say that a death march is just plain wrong — but it’s over now. More or less.

And I am exhausted.

I spent the latter part of 2006 writing a book. It didn’t work out for various reasons, but at the beginning of 2007 I looked up and realized that I had been nose-down for months, doing very little else with my free time except writing, and I had no idea what had been going on. It was disconcerting. Disorienting.

That’s how I felt at the end of this project, like I was just waking up from a long, fitful sleep. I had spent so long with such a rigidly controlled schedule that I wasn’t sure how to organize my time. It’s taken a while to sort that out, but of course it’s not like I’m lacking in any way for work to do, so I feel like I’m getting in a decent rhythm again.

Just in time for the Republican National Convention to come to town and disrupt everything.

Design, Time Management

Piler. No question.

Anne Zelenka asks: are you a filer or a piler?

As I’ve gotten better at using search and as search has itself gotten better, I find myself relying less and less on folders or on Gmail’s labels. Filing just takes too much thought and work without a payoff later for me. Besides, it seems a holdover from our physical desktops.

My desktop is feeling Gmail’s impact. After almost three years of dumping email into an heaped archive, knowing that I’ll find it later, I’ve noticed that I’ve taken the same approach to my physical filing system. At least at work, I no longer obsess over carefully putting project documents into the correct folder. Nope. Everything just gets added to a pile on my desk. Granted, the pile is separated into several stacks, but there’s no organization to them. Some things still get sorted. Documents relevant to annual performance reviews. At home, I still have special folders for taxes and such. But they don’t touch my daily life.

It works. I can find what I need quickly enough, and I feel better not spending time in needless sorting. I’ve spent a lot of my life engaged in devising careful taxonomies that I end up never using. This carried more stress than I cared to admit.

So what do I think about the new Google Docs interface? I don’t mind the folders, but I won’t use them. I preferred labels, even though I don’t use them either.

I do miss the less-used documents being hidden when I first log in. Now I see docs that I’d rather not be reminded of every day. Chapters of an abandoned book. Proposals for projects that went nowhere. I want to be able to get those when I need them, but I prefer that they be hidden otherwise.