Lots has been going on. I will tell you about it due course! However, my topic today is planning, organisation and motivation. The plan is mostly to share some resources that I have found.
I have a problem with planning. I am really good at making plans, but have difficulty sticking to them. Maybe it’s a result of overestimating what I can do, but then doing enough of it to satisfy whatever my targets were, by the *hard* deadline. Although I guess with all tasks, some sub-tasks are essential, and some are expendable if time constraints are reached. However, ensuring the highest quality of the final output requires some management and prioritisation of these sub-tasks.
Although I have had a paper-based calendar/diary for the past couple of years, when I got a new mobile phone with a better calendar application and interface than any phone I’d had before, I decided to move to using that instead (especially when I found a way to sync it over-the-air with a web calendar).
Through periods of heavy work, when deadlines are looming, I appear to accumulate many scraps of paper with to-do lists scrawled on them. Although my previous experience with electronic to-do applications, such as those on PDAs, has been disappointing to say the least, today I decided to have a bit of a hunt around for a web-based to-do list.
There’s plenty of comparison articles, if you search around yourself (though the two I’ve looked at are Do More: Online To Do Lists Compared and 25 To Do Lists to Stay Productive). Ta-da List looks pretty basic, and might be simple enough for me, though I’ve yet to experiment with how it handles multiple tasks and deadlines.
Orchestrate looks very swish, and has what I think is the most important of Web 2.0 features: a front page, guest-user demo. I find that with all of these web-based applications, I am wary of signing up for an account unless I know exactly what it does and meets my needs. Otherwise I’ll end up signing up for 10 different accounts, of which I’ll only ever use one (maybe more sites should implement OpenID?) It’s certainly an option for organising the many tasks I have on the go at once.
Finally, the online ceo introduced me to the fantastic idea of the Printable CEO. The idea here is that you get points for completing tasks that contribute to important business objectives, with the number of points relating to the importance of that objective. The points are then added up, for daily and weekly totals, allowing you to compete against your scores and maximise your output. Although a superb concept, I think it may be a little oriented towards running a business, as opposed to doing a PhD, though maybe I can adapt some of the ideas to suit my cause.
Well I think that’s more than enough of that. I will probably trial two or three of these, and then report back once I’ve chosen one. I’ll be back soon to document the hectic summer months that have just passed!