November 03, 2013

My most effective time to get things done

My most effective time to get things done
Beyond the fact that I hold a backlog including all those tasks I need to do, I do need to get them done in the most effective and efficient way. With all other things I need to consider and plan I also need to pay attention to the timing of those tasks. After all, there are tasks that are bounded by time. For instance, what good it will do to brush my teeth and then eat a good meal just before going to bed and not the other way around? 

As part of the agile method and especially when implementing scrum, we are used to stop at the end of every sprint (iteration), look ahead and plan our coming sprint tasks. This is also a good opportunity to take a look at those tasks timing and reflect over the best time to execute them. There may be a verity of reasons to execute tasks in a specific time frame or another, after all each of us holds different goals, tasks and time considerations.

As in any new techniques, we don’t have to start using it if we have no problem executing our tasks. It really aims to those tasks that needs a special timing consideration such as :  an outstanding bunch of tasks; Tasks that require a special concentration; Tasks that holds dependencies to other tasks; Tasks that holds progress from other activities and many more…

All you have to do is:

  • Look ahead and identify those most effective time frames (according to the task time, urgency, needs, time frame limitations, priority…)

Ask yourself, what are my best weekdays to perform those tasks? What is my best time of day to perform those tasks?
It may happen that in each week there are different time and week days to perform the same tasks.
For example:
Maybe you are a morning/night person? So there are types of tasks that demand a high level of concentration that you want to perform at this time frame only.
Will it be easier to address emails at the beginning of my working day or at the end of it? Maybe both? Or maybe if I just take few thin slices of time during the day to cover the accumulating amount of emails and messages will be the best timing for this task? (BTW , the last one is my favorite)
There are tasks that weekdays and day time will enforce our timing, such as…the best time to work with my sun over his final class assignment will be the weekend.  Or , the best time to walk the dog is in the morning, otherwise…

  • The next step will be to Create visibility to those most effective hours.A task board with special time zones may be great, or tasks divided according to weekdays and more…
  • Act accordingly.
  • Make sure to retrospect over the effective and efficient of the performance of those tasks according to the time frame set. If needed, change it.
  • And as always, don’t forget to have fun.

Lets take a look at few examples I have gathered:

A father that marks Wednesdays in his calendar as the best days to spend some time with his kids. Obvious, right!?
Keep in mind that this visualization not only acts as a good reminder but also creates a level of commitment to this type of task.

The clock- the clock creates a good understanding over the time we may or may not perform a specific task. These can be used for homework tasks, play hours and more….

The following table presents a time frame where I produce the most value during the day. Therefore, I will target my tasks to these hours.
It may be that my type of work is such that I would prefer doing the ”paper work” early in the morning, and the coaching stuff, meeting and face to face communication later on intothe day when other people are around.

The following is a chart showing Light and Time of Day. What's the best time of day to go painting outdoors?

When is the right time to publish one of my blog posts?
On Sunday when no one from my American readers is on the web, or on Friday when no one of my Israeli readers is on the web?


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