Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Budget Time with Time Block

How do we materialize our priority in our daily life? in the case of money people make budgets, in the case of time I think make routine time blocks would do it.

When we spend without budget and bookkeeping we usually end up wondering where the hell those money gone.Similarly, without allocating exclusive time to do something routinely I don't think we can feel sure we have already "walk our talk". When I say coding should occupy 80 percent of programmers time, then I would need to prepare an 80 percent of my working time to do just that with as minimum fragmentation as possible. For other responsibility I would then need to allocate another block to do them in batch thus minimize the overhead of context switching.

Here's an example of the time blocks :

  • 9:00 - 12:00. Code : the most critical tasks
  • 13:00 - 15:00 Code 2 : more explorative ones or continuing stuff from block 1
  • 15:00 - 17:00 Mails and anything else
It's like creating a program for Television. If you're a News Channel, you probably have large blocks allocated for live news, certain amount for some documentary and a little bit for anything else. If you are a Software QA staff you should spend most of your working time crashing the system all the time and left almost none to anything else (definitely not even a second for befriending the poor developer :) ).

This requires that our tasks be pooled into certain system based on the block/context e.g: GTD, so when we are in certain block we pick a task only from that pool. Anything come our way when we are in certain block should be pooled into this system to be done later on it's block comes.

Of course, like diet, this would require someone to be committed to it if he want to see some difference. But unlike diet, people won't get fat if they cross the line, at least not directly (you know : missed deadline -> stressed -> eat a lot -> gain more weight). However, if you commit in doing it other people will start to pickup your rythm and will adapt to it and it will make things easier by time.

Allocate exclusive time block should be natural if someone is sure about what he think is important. It won't always means easy but the gain is worth it : steady progress in the area that is important can become something more common and not something that come by occasionally.

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