The first step and also the last step in keeping track of how I spend my time is a physical planner from ink+volt. I sit down on Sundays and write out my goals for the week.
I check on my progress from last week. If its the end of the month, I set goals for the next month, after checking on my progress towards my yearly goals. I try to keep the big goals for the week to three or four, and then for each day I break those goals down into sub-tasks. For example, this week I am looking into some explanations for something I came across in my data while I was working on my dissertation. The first step is gather all of my notes and to put them into a coherent format that has some structure, so I know exactly what it is that I am doing. From there, I can set up next steps for the rest of the week that are going to include going back to the primary data files and examining them further. By the end of the week, I will hopefully have an answer to my question. But, maybe I won’t.
That’s just one of my goals.
I have some personal goals for the week, too. I am changing storage unit companies this month, and that is going to require some further planning, too. So, that’s the big goal. The little goals are going to involve pricing things out and so I can make informed decisions.
I also have tasks related to side projects that were put on hold while I finished my dissertation.
Finally, I do a little decorating. Adding a little color to my planner is something I enjoy. I really don’t do anything creative or fancy. I like to use washi tape and this is a perfect excuse for it. It also provides a way to see how well I am keeping up with the system (and, also, probably with my work) at a glance. You can see the white section where there isn’t any evidence of decorating. That’s because I didn’t decorate those weeks. I just tried to push through with my goals and minimal planning. I’m not sure that really served my needs very well.by