Jun 14, 2022Liked by Oliver Quinlan

Another interesting piece Oliver. I always cringe when people are asked in meetings to provide an estimate about how long something will take or how much time they have spent on a particular task. I always feel like we over / under estimate such situations, especially if there is not a requirement to bill the hours.

Working in a role where I wear multiple hats, support, development and testing I really struggle to keep track of where my time goes. I wonder if the challenge is not only being aware, but also being in control of your time? I think this goes for both home and work.

I've read things like Cal Newport's piece on getting things done and tried things like batching emails and responses. The problem I have every time I try such strategies is to get others onboard.

I am left with a question, how much of time is a shared resource? As you suggest, maybe I need to have a go a logging my hours.

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Jun 15, 2022·edited Jun 15, 2022Author

Time as a shared resource - that's a really interesting mental model. Perhaps what I am suggesting is underpinned by accepting that and starting to talk about it and open up that negotiation with others about how time is used.

This can be so different in different contexts, such as different organisations, and it's often unsaid. In more hierarchical organisations other people can have much more control of your time than in more democratic ones, but it's rarely stated explicitly how much this is the case. At least in my experience. I've definitely experienced different contexts in terms of how much control I've had over my time. I have to say the more control I have the happier I seem to feel. Even if I am super busy, if I am in control of how that manifests then I much prefer it.

Thinking about it I am realising how much of the language we use about our time reinforces an individualistic way of thinking about it as a resource.

So often trying to work productively, efficiently, or even with some kind of work-life balance can be seen as an individual endeavour. Really interesting to see it as a community one.

Thanks for provoking my thoughts on this!

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Jun 5, 2022Liked by Oliver Quinlan

Have you got a camera in my study? Trying to utilise my time more efficiently has been the focs of most of it in recent days. It is more difficult when it is 'for yourself' & not directed by others I think.

I suspect I may take more time writing out the various lists that completing the tasks but I'll let you know!

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In a way I think it's easier when you are doing projects that you have complete ownership of, but in a way it's also harder as there's less structure from other people! I do a similar thing with projects outside of my day job - blocking time on the calendar etc and try to review how much spent on each.

Lots of these are more creative projects that could take as much time as I give them so I have tried allocating how much time I want to spend on them per week based on their value to me, and then stick to that and then whatever I have created has to be 'good enough'.

I've done that with this newsletter - I have one block of time each week to write, and another to edit and schedule a bit later. Interestingly the one post I put out that was 'good enough' but really didn't feel was as good as the previous ones has so far had the most traffic! Sometimes it's good to just stop being self critical and stick to time!

Do let me know how you approach this!

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