Monday, June 16, 2008

Time Management: The Use of Systems

You may have noticed this before from my often-irregular posting schedule, but just in case you haven’t I thought I’d just come out and say it.

I am a very busy person.

Now, this is in no way an attempt at being conceited, I am merely saying that I, like many others, happen to be very busy. And at the very core of it, I believe that it is the fault of myself and myself alone. These past two weeks or so have been the best examples of this defect of mine, as you shall soon understand…

Two weeks. That's all. Two weeks and my whole summer, which was already packed with plans, went from an “I can do this, even if just barely” to an “Oh dear god what have I done to myself”. Now I won’t get into those things just yet, (I would like to save them for another post) but they were mentioned to propose a possible solution to this mess.

That solution is the use of a system that helps to keep me afloat. My Japanese teacher phrased it this way: “an individual cannot manage multiple projects. Instead, people set up and maintain systems that manage their projects for them.”

He does seem to have a rather significant argument there. The more I thought about it, the more I began to realize that those adept at being timely with their matters all seem to utilize organizational systems. And what is a system really except for a ritualized process?

After coming home, inspired, from my Japanese lesson, I began the creation of such a system. I’ve started organizing my blogging drafts and programming files into a more structured set of folders and files.

Here are some of the results:

Here’s the folder that houses my blog drafts, information about blogging, and my work with MOUSE. Once opened, the folder looks like this:

There are three more folders for posts that fall into these categories: completed, in progress, and plans and outlines for new unwritten ones.

I have a similar scheme for my programming files. Four folders that will hopefully take care of any of the major sets of data that I will need to work with. Anyways, the nice thing about all of this is that it allows for adjustments to be made quickly, without distraction. I’ll check with you guys in two or so weeks to discuss whether or not this arrangement works. (heres to keep my fingers cross...)

Quick shout-out to my friend Ben for editing this post. He really did a great job. Thanks a lot man.


  1. If im in the situation of the owner of this blog. I dont know how to post this kind of topic. he has a nice idea.

  2. i do the exact same thing for school! lol

  3. yea, this is a good idea. plus it seems to be working quite a bit.

    and to lexie - I'm a bit slow on the uptake. so sue me. (lol)

  4. You might want to use some kind of calendar system which sends you reminders, too. I use Yahoo calendar, but there are lots of choices.

    If you're doing extensive programming collaboration, you may also need to think about how to set up your source code files to handle changes. Professionals use complex server-based tools like CVS, but for a small projec like yours you might just want to have for each project a "trunk" folder with current development, and then copy it to a new branch folder each time you reach an important milestone. And you might want to use something like MacMerge (not being a mac user, I've never used it, but it looks good, and it's free) in the case where you and your programming partner change the same file on the same day (or if you just want to see what's changed in a file since the last milestone).

  5. @Oops

    One of the projects i would like to work on is a calendar reminder system, but for now i'm using iCal.

    And thanks for the advice. At first I thought I would have to do a lot of programming on my own but now it seems like i have a friend who's interested in joining me (to be detailed in another post soon) so it will do me well to come up with some kind of system. I think the others and I are going to have to sit down and discuss what we feel is the best move in all of this.

    thanks for all of your comments. You really are becoming a great help.

  6. You're welcome, Ryan. I like that you want to learn and to help others to learn, so it's my pleasure to offer a little advice and encouragement.