At the point that I no longer had a daily responsibility to up to six children at a time, and I started working a job that allowed more freedom to do project work uninterrupted, I started moving toward actually working eight hours on list items each day, rather than setting out a list to mimic eight hours as closely as possible. But since my goal is to be accountable to the list, I need a way to be accountable to it without misestimating (what a weird looking word) too much more or less than eight hours. What I thought was to prioritize stuff so that after eight hours of work, if I don’t get to less important things then no big deal.
As a point of the organizing project, I plan to finish backing up all of my CDs to mp3. I also intend to listen through the mp3s I have for a quality check, and organize my music collection onto the second hard drive and properly back it up. I also intend to get back in the habit of listening to about one CD length worth of new music (or at least new to me) each week. I will do this probably using Pandora, You Tube, and Playlist. I’m just stating all this so you understand the way they fall into the priority on my list. They get a higher priority only because I will listen to them as I write and as I do other work where music can be used as background.
During the Eight Hours of Project Work
1. Choose CDs and mp3s to listen to as I write
2. Write 500 words for daily blog
3. Write 500 words for column #1
4. Write 500 words for column #2
5. Write 500 words for column #3
6. Write 500 words for novel or book project
7. Write 500 words for novel or short story project
8. Write 500 words for journaling, or novel or script project
9. Choose new or new to me music to listen to while doing computer work
10. Check in with newsgroup and email accounts (tend to archive projects)
11. Tend to posting to blog, editing drafts, scheduled posts, and ATW.com work
12. Work on organization of computer files and streamlining backups
13. Music: instrument practice, song composition, recording, lyric writing
14. Any video work for ATW or other projects or promotion of ATW
15. Organization project for stuff
16. Editing of daily writing
Beyond the Eight Hours
Household chores, bill paying and other errands, planning, note taking, social time with family and friends, check in with social network sites, TV/movie watching, video game playing, and etc. until I think of anything else important.
Actually planning and note taking is more of an ongoing activity, but my hope is that I have all my planning and notes prepared before I start on the eight hours, so I put it here.
The List above is a starting point. I may change priorities as I go along. I will list more specific activities each day signifying where I am on each List item.
A quick note about 13: I really wanted to prioritize music creation higher, and give it more items on the list, but with the organization project taking up a large part of my year, I had to cut somewhere. My three main goals for the year are: writing six pages a day, the group goal of posting to the daily blog each day, and the organization project. These aren’t my only three goals, but I had to choose priorities to keep myself from trying to do too much
Goals for the year, including but perhaps not limited to: write six pages a day, maintain daily blog, organize all of my stuff, listen to more music that I haven’t heard before than I did this year, publish book(s), complete Season Two and Season Three, figure out what to do about Season Zero (aka Sniffles (sniff)), write and record new music and shoot accompanying videos, teach my teenagers to drive, Net Runner, Net Runner, Net Runner, Magic, Net Runner, Net Runner VE, Cyberpunk, watch a movie or two TV episodes each day, read more Stephen King, post to newsgroup four or more times a week, accountability partnering with Nathan, and eBay. And probably etcetera (what a weird looking word).
A note about eBay: No, it’s not represented on the To Do List. The problem with eBay is that it could easily take up eight hours all on its own. My intent is to really treat it like my part time job, provided I don’t get a part time job. On my days off from the guard job, I can use the same hours I would be at my guard job to work on eBay, and perhaps a couple of nights I can work the hours I would be delivering pizza. It’ll be an unfortunate balancing act between To Do List and full time job and part time job no matter how I look at it, whether the part time job is delivering, eBay, or something else. I haven’t picked a date yet, but I would like to be paying my bills on my own by some time in the year. I’ve cut my expenses back almost as far as they can go, so it is going to require an increase in income more so than a decrease in expenses, unless my dad does sell the house, at which point I’d probably stay with him for awhile, which would lower my expenses considerably.
If I spend a full eight hours on all the list stuff, and get about a half hour in on each item, then I’ll consider myself to be on task and achieving my 2011 goal of a perfect year To Do List work (my true priority, but somewhat hollow without other priorities). As I realize that eight hours each and every day is glitchy at best, I am allowing that I can work more than eight hours some days and less than eight hours other days, as long as I can claim 56 hours of List work each week and keep up with the 16 items of priority (list priority as opposed to goal priority).
January, March, May, July, August, October, and December – 248 hours
April, June, September, and November – 240 hours
February – 224 hours
Each Ten-Weeks – 560 hours*
* checkpoints not cumulative. Just as a means of making sure that I don’t get really behind, I should make sure that I’m current for eight hours a day at each of these times. The eight hours a day will equal (365×8) 2920 hours for the entirety of 2011.
So I am very thought out on what my goals are and how to measure the completion of the goals. The real work will be keeping up with it though, and a good accountability partner will be a significant help. And a great scapegoat… I keed!