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Weblog Entry

Time Management

January 29, 2003

Expounding on a cliche, Jeremy Wright wrote an article for A List Apart last year detailing his strategy for time management: The Pickle Jar Theory.

Lately I’ve had to reconsider my own time management, and come up with a way of getting through the day without cracking under the stress. I jump back and forth between large, make–or–break projects that take ultimate priority, and menial, every–day tasks that distract from everything else but still need to get done.

What I’ve found myself doing is falling into the trap of stressing when I have 8 things on the go at once, without pausing to consider that 6 of those 8 things are two hour jobs at best, and I can have them all done by week’s end.

Taking a breather and prioritizing helps. But my best method of coping is this: 25% to 35% of my day is spent addressing odd jobs, the rest on bigger projects.

If I spend my entire day on the big ones, the little guys keep piling up and stress me even more. If I spend the whole day catching up on the little ones with the thought that I’ll work on the larger projects the next day, my plan is inevitably crushed when I get a whole new slew of little jobs immediately after I finish.

This is my method. For better or worse, it seems to be working. The little jobs seem trivial when dealt with in small chunks, and the big ones are more manageable if progress continues daily.

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