The Tickler File System – Tickled to Find I Already Use It

The Tickler File System is a proven concept used throughout the years and reintroduced every once in a while to help people manage their time without forgetting important tasks. A recent popular reinterpretation is by David Allen in his 2002 book Getting Things Done.

The Tickler File System in a nutshell:

  1. Obtain 43 file folders and label 31 of them for each day of the month. Label the additional 12 folders for each month of the year.
  2. Place a reminder of each task you need to complete within the current month in the appropriate daily folder. For example, if you need to follow-up on a phone bill on the 15th of the month place the bill in folder 15. You can use anything you like as the physical reminder, for example, note cards, bills, business cards, etc.
  3. Place items that require follow-up in the future in the corresponding month folder.
  4. Every day check the appropriate folder for tasks that you need to complete that day.
  5. At the start of a new month, take all the items from that month’s folder and distribute them among the appropriate daily folders.

The main ideas are to:

  • keep track of things that you need to do each day and in the future.
  • have a physical reminder that you can see every day.
  • allow you to organize your day by looking at all the tasks that must be done that day.

Today you can use electronic tickler files if you don’t have the space for the physical file folder system or if you just prefer the electronic system and reminders. A great example is Google Calendar. Create a new calendar in Google and assign daily tasks to the appropriate day with reminders. Check the calendar every day for the tasks to complete and organize your time appropriately. Continue reading “The Tickler File System – Tickled to Find I Already Use It”

Freelance Writing, Starting a Freelance Writing Business, Uncategorized

The Pomodoro Technique and Me – Juicing the Tomato

The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo to help people keep on task and to identify, handle, and learn from distractions. Cirillo called each work session a pomodoro (Spanish for tomato) because he used a tomato-shaped timer to time each work session.

The Pomodoro Technique in a nutshell:

  1. Task -Select a task and set a timer for a 25-minute work session (pomodoro). During the pomodoro, work completely on the task without stopping to attend to distractions. If a distraction comes up (email, phone calls, Skype message, etc.), write it down and take care of it during a break or use a task later in the day to deal with it.
  2. Break – When the timer goes off, make a checkmark on a piece of paper and take a five-minute break. Get up and move around. The idea is to prevent burnout and the feeling of continually rushing to get things done. Move your body and give your mind a break too.
  3. Task – After the break, start another pomodoro. Continue with the previous task or start something new.
  4. Break – After four pomodoros, take a longer break of 30 minutes or so. Make sure you get up and move your body. For example, after four sessions in the morning, take a lunch break or small walk.

The main ideas are to:

  • break your work into manageable chunks to motive you to start and avoid being overwhelmed.
  • make yourself take breaks to avoid burnout and bring down stress levels.
  • identify your distractions and learn how to manage them.

Using The Pomodoro Technique, you can go back and count the checkmarks to see how much time it took to do each task. This will really help in estimating how much time new tasks will take. You can also see where you are wasting time and becoming distracted. Continue reading “The Pomodoro Technique and Me – Juicing the Tomato”

Starting a Freelance Writing Business

Ticklish Tomato Swiss Cheese Frogs or How To Manage Your Time

Setting up a freelance writing business is fun, scary, and nerve-wracking all at the same time. I love the business part of it – filling out paperwork to register the business, getting a new bank account for the business, thinking about a logo, creating a website.

The hard part is actually sitting down to write – a universal writer’s dilemma. I am actually lucky enough to really have the time to write, but there is definitely too much screwing around going on in this home office. By the time I look for writing gigs on various job boards, check my email, catch up on Facebook, read a few articles about becoming a better writer or freelance business person, the day is half over.

Discipline is the answer. I know that. The thing is – I don’t really have any. I need to set a schedule for myself and stick to it. HA – if it was only that easy! Just when I get into the groove of things it’s lunchtime, and then time for a walk. I need the food, I need the fresh air, what I really need is to start earlier so I can actually get something done before noon. I tell myself I will sit down as soon as I get home from the walk and write, but then it is – you know – afternoon!

Fortunately, there are many time-management methods that hopefully can help me. I found many, many methods, but let’s narrow it down to four:

How did I pick them? Well, just like choosing a bottle of wine because it has a cool label, I picked each method because I thought the name sounded cool!

THE PLAN – My plan is to try each method for one day next week and then pick the one that worked best for me.

There has to be something to this time-management thing because this blog post started out as a stream of consciousness post and has turned into a plan to keep me writing for every day next week!