How I do time management for productivity

The issue with time management

Time is a scarce commodity for most people and time management is hard. Besides work, kids and social lives we have all these other things that need different amount of management. You want to keep your children entertained. There are house chores. You have to plan the shopping. What’s left might not be that much time to actually do what you want to do for yourself.
You might be tempted to use time off as time spent scrolling through your phone. When the day is over you tell yourself that you would’ve done some writing if you had the time. You would have studied but you had to do x, y or z instead. I get it. Life is very hard. I was you six months ago. I thought that there was no point in doing anything since I was so pressed for time. Between working part time and being a twin parent full time I didn’t see the point of trying to start a blog, or a YouTube channel or even just be productive besides house work.
But when I read Atomic Habits something sort of clicked. I don’t have to start something and complete it at the same time, or even the same day. So I started different ways to use my time until I found a habit I could stay with.

Alt text: several old time pocket watches hanging in the air.

How I do time management

First I want to do what a lot of productivity people fail to do and mention that I have a partner that make a lot of my interests possible. I see to many posts and books were you feel the presence of the person who makes it all possible but she (because it’s mostly a she) fails to get a mention. My husband and I share the mental load of running a family and we have the same philosophy about how to live our lives. This means we both get our time to develop ourselves as people.
But what do I do then to develop as a person?

First I try to have a vague plan of what I want to accomplish during a week. I want to write at least one blog post and produce at least one YouTube video. This far in my career I don’t have a strict schedule for this. I post my blog posts and videos when they’re done. But to have anything to post I need to write. How do I get this done with a family, a house and a job?

The interstice time

I write down ideas in my obsidian vault as soon as they appear. They get their own note and a wip tag. I can do this even if I have a child or two on me at the time. The great thing about the Obsidian app is that I can pick it up, work in it a minute or two and if I need to do something else everything is still nicely saved and waiting for me the next time I have some time over. No need to worry about having time to save. Just turn the screen off and it’s good to go.
I have two natural bigger blocks of time during a day, I’ll get to those soon.
But outside of these blocks I spend my natural minutes alone (bathroom, waiting for the microwave, my kids being distracted by a tractor outside) searching for information and sources. A lot of the time I smush into Omnivore and deal with them later.

Bigger time blocks

My big blocks of time are nap time and a couple of hours between their bed time and my own. This is my usual time to finish my drafts and post to the blog, edit videos and do voice over. I usually use the first block for deeper research and writing. I’m more alert earlier in the day. This is were I open Omnivore at my desktop and go through my saved articles. Some stuff I read and then archive, some stuff I process into Obsidian. At night I do most of the editing and finishing up blog drafts to post. I do most of the filming and voice-over either at night or if my husband has time to take the girls a few hours.

Caveats

I’m aware that this post and my method is born out of privilege. Not everyone has someone there to help. Maybe you have a second job. Maybe you have children with special needs that requires more of your mental energy. I’m not trying to tell anyone that they just need to work harder to find some time for themselves. I dislike hearing this from productivity gurus on Youtube or people selling their book. Sometimes there’s just not enough hours in a day. Time management is easier if you actually have some time to sit down and really look at how you spend it.
What I am saying is that if you have the possibility to find time to do something creatively, or learn something new, you don’t have to have this imagined enormous block of time available. Find the interstice time and use it! You don’t need to check the news ten times a day. Write a sentence or two on a blog post, you’re going to go back and edit it later anyway. You don’t have to write one coherent post at a time. Throw some words in that bucket and sort it out later. You don’t need to scroll social media every time you pick up your phone. If you’re a student do some flashcards, I promise it can be more fun than Instagram. Make sure you have content to work with when you do find a bigger block of time to use.

To see one way I spend my time, got to my newest YouTube video. It’s not the video I’m the most happy with audio wise but it’s a testament to my time management. It’s recorded and produced during several short bursts.

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