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Getting the Most out of Your Day

March 8th, 2011 by eTutor

Two weeks ago I wrote a bit about some of the places I work from – today I’ll talk a bit about the schedule that I work from and how it relates to how our students work with e-Tutor.

One of the best things about working from a home office is having the ability to match my energy level with different tasks and projects that I have to accomplish throughout the day.

Getting Things DoneHow I approach my work is influenced by David Allen’s Getting Things Done, a productivity system built on creating lists of small tasks that can be reviewed on the fly.  It allows me to choose what I want to work on next, just as e-Tutor allows students to choose what to learn next.

My choices depend on how much time and energy I have at a given moment, rather than on a preset schedule or regiment.  Similarly, e-Tutor students make choices throughout their day: “How many lesson modules should I complete?” and “What lesson modules should I work on next?”  It’s empowering making a choice about what’s next.

With that said, my schedule isn’t 100% “go with the flow”.  Many of my responsibilities need to be handled regularly, not just when I feel like it.  To be sure that I keep up with my work, I’ve got daily and weekly checklists that I consult several times a day.

Over time I’ve figured out the best times of the day to accomplish things:

  • Early mornings (as early as 4:00am, generally until 8:00am): For me, this is the most important time of day.  I’m an early riser, and have the most focus in the early morning.  My wife and daughter are still asleep, so these early hours are the most productive of my day.  These hours set the table for the rest of my day: I review and respond to e-mails, check on things that need my input, and set at least two goals for the day.  My goal is to have a solid idea of what needs to happen that day.
  • Late mornings (generally 9:30am – lunch): I try to accomplish one significant goal for my day before lunch.  Often times this is for something that requires a fair amount of brain power, including writing a blog post, solving a particular problem, or something else along those lines.
  • Afternoons (lunch – ?): I try to accomplish the second goal for the day shortly after lunch, and spend the rest of the time working on chores or other lightweight tasks.  Things that are time consuming but don’t require too much thought generally get done in the afternoon.  I still have energy, but usually not as much focus as the mornings.

We encourage our students to set a schedule of their own – we leave it up to our students and their parents to determine whether it should be a set schedule, a flexible schedule like mine, or some other system altogether.  Striking a balance between moving onto the next lesson module versus understanding the material thoroughly is a very personal thing for individual students.  Set your own pace – that’s what e-Tutor is all about.

A few things to keep in mind when you set your schedule:

  • Try to get your hardest work done when you have the most energy.
  • Keep your schedule flexible so you can “go with the flow” a bit.
  • Have a system to be sure that you’re still on track.

Do you have helpful scheduling tips for the rest of the  Tell us about them in the comments.

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    Great work .

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