I promised to write this blog quite a while ago and am only now finding time, physical strength and brain space in my schedule to put it down on paper: how do I organise my time?
At the beginning of 2017, I became the primary bread winner in my family and my partner is looking after the domestic side of things. While I always seem to find my next contract, the end of 2016 saw me take every job offered for the first semester of 2017 because I was so afraid I would not be able to support my family if I didn’t. So I began 2017 with what turned out to be a commitment to 70 hours of work per week. The stupidity of saying yes so much is another story, and this blog is about how I manged to juggle all that work.
I put out a call on Twitter to ask how other casual academics organised their tasks and from all the feedback, I developed a revised version of the bullet journal. Anyone who likes ticking things off to-do-lists, this is for you. My organisation is now 90% analogue (weird, I know). I’ve also maintained the system all year so it’s working well. Here’s how it works:
Step 1: indulge your love of stationary
I chose a grid notebook that is small enough to fit neatly in my handbag. Apparently you can purchase journals designed for Bullet journalling but I quite like the grid because it allows for inserting tables I find essential for keeping track.
Step 2: setting up the journal
I have closely followed the organisational strategies recommended by Bullet Journal:
- insert page numbers
- use an index/contents page
- use a key to show task (.), event (o), notes (-), completion (x), migrating tasks to a later date (>), and
cancellation of task
I insert a calendar for each month (also put events into the calendar on my smartphone)
I have 4 different to do lists – 6 monthly, monthly, weekly and daily.I have a Gantt chart to show my works in progress. Each colour represents a different type of project: eg red are book chapters, green are journal articles, yellow are grants.
Step 3: indulge your love of striking things off To-Do lists
I spend a lot of time working out if I can strike things off the lists, or colour in my Gantt chart. I think this is part of the key to successfully maintaining the system for over 6 months now (when I was a teacher I lasted a few weeks and things just went on pieces of paper). Do you have a successful system for organising your tasks?