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A new timesheet template

A new season starts: I need a new model of timesheets. I’m always interested to improve my work and to be more productive. I also want to remain zen, flexible and reachable.

This new timesheet (you can download it here ) adds a “Learned” section, a “Resume” section and habits enforcing checkboxes.

I tried a hand-drawn version for 2 months. I didn’t want to design a nice sheet and not using it. I was inspired by the casual draft drawn by John Stepper for the 30 days challenges. After two months of battle-proving it, I’m ready to formalize my new system. Here are some of the features:

Habit enforcing.

You remember I had two “30 days challenges” I copied from John Stepper. Now habits are stacking up one on top of the other. It’s no more time to try but to be on a long perspective. After 30 days meditation practice in July and a failed 30 days challenge on August, I want to add them all. Notice also the “Kneaver Moment”: that’s the time where I add stuff in my Kneaver and weed, rearrange stuff in it.

The “planned” section

This is common. It’s where I place the big tasks, the boulders, of my day. It’s not in the habits or in the things I would do without discipline. It is for the least pleasant ones. Tasks I love to do come in filling the holes naturally.

The “Resume” section

Very important for me is the new “resume” column. Whenever I’m interrupted, I need a place to leave a marker to remember from where I should restart. It must be fast, almost instinctive. It can be resumed an hour later or days after depending on the interruption. Simply remembering the task is not enough and it could not be yet in my general task list.

The “learned”┬ásection

This is new. By adding a special section for what I learned, I allow a post action evaluation of my days. I need to learn, a lot, all the day. For marketing, I need to learn about practices and market. For KM and L&D I’m a greenhorn. I need to verify before I write. Finally for coding it’s 1/3 of learning. Nowadays we use libraries and services more than we code. Whenever a new need appears or an incident occurs, I will first spent time searching and learning. It could take up to two hours for a single line of code. Was it worth it? Could I have done without? I need a memory of the time it took to learn it. I need to apply deferred judgment to evaluate the value of the time spent learning. I have the option of doing myself and code for 2 hours or learn about a new component, a new service for 2 hours and code it in 1 minute. The later is better because the long-term cost of ownership is lower.

Time:

I didn’t place numbers. It allows a flexible day and invites for more comments. I don’t write time spent precisely. I’m often multitasking so time spent is not very significant.

Previous iteration was very strict on time, I could follow it only during a few weeks

Previous iteration was very strict on time, I could follow it only during a few weeks

Quality column:

I will color the day when I review days or weeks productivity. It can be days after. A color for “on the money” (marketing, writing and promoting), a color for “background work”, a color for user visible enhancements. At the end of the month, I can have an instant view of how it went by looking at color patterns. If days are of a single color for weeks it’s not good. If there is a dominant color is not good either. It should be a balance of good patches of colors spread across the week.

I count from the time I open my eyes to the time I stop. I have a continuous note taking habit. Digital notes will carry the time and can be viewed as a long journal. I wrote a small app that collects automatically what I’m on. Every month I run another small app analyze this log. I’m not monitoring on a daily basis. When I compare my coloring and my tracking I can fine tune my rules of thumb. For example I always thought that I was working 16h a day, it’s wrong: I hardly work more than 9 hours ­čÖé

An older iteration of my planning, more GTD inspired

An older iteration of my planning, more GTD inspired

Conclusion

With this new model, I expect to do a better usage of my time. Avoid long days spent on a single task, be more variate in my work done. Avoid doing things at the least favorable time of day. This is how I discovered that writing late don’t work well for me.

With this post you are also discovering a prototype of my new style for posts: 800 words maximum, 5 minutes reading, a short video, one point only, practical takeaways for all, with insights from my own experience as a doer and lifelong self-directed learner. My goal is to write them in one hour no more, but almost daily.