In Be the Master, I wrote about how I manage my time both from an inventory/baseline perspective, as well as from tracking my usage. I use a specific device to do so, and I have some pretty specific outcomes that I try to create. I thought I’d share them.
First the device is a Timeflip. No, I’m not on commission. They’re like $50 each, although they’re on sale for $40 a lot. It’s basically a giant 12-sided die, and you level each side with some activity. For whatever you’re doing at any moment – email, Slack, writing, troubleshooting something, going to lunch, goofing off on Twitter, whatever – you flip the die so that activity is facing up. An app on your computer communicates with the device, tracking your time.
Now, look: I do not use this thing to punish myself for spending half an hour a day on Disney Parks fan sites. Instead, I use it to baseline my time. I know I spend half an hour a day goofing off, and I know about what time of day I typically do it. I know it’s because my brain needs a break, and I’m happy to give it to it. Over time, so long as that activity doesn’t increase substantially for a sustained period, I’m all good.
I also know that I can only write, productively, for about 5 hours a day. I know that I can clear out my emails in about an hour a day. You can imagine how useful a planning tool that is, right? I’m just measuring physical reality, not trying to hit some kind of goal.
They’ve got a TimeFlip 2 coming out. It lights up, and I want one. I’m really looking forward to something I can tell, “don’t let me crank out on email for more than an hour” and it’ll help stop me. I’ve got a lot going on; if an hour isn’t enough for email one day, then the rest has to wait so I can get on with other things.
Plus, I mean… it lights up.