Monday, October 02, 2006

Greening the Office: Paperless Time Management

Every day, I thank whatever gods there be for the whiteboard that sits next to me in the office. I have two of them: one larger metal one that doubles as a magnet board and another clear square one that's held to the top of it by magnets. Since I've started getting busier (almost TOO busy in fact; I guess this marketing stuff is working for me!), I have ended up using it every day to keep track of what I need to do.

Here's the thing: when you're busy, the to-do list is your friend. Your Very Good Friend. Lists of any kind, really, are your friend, because you are always getting information that you can't deal with right away. But one of the things that always kind of irritates me is the paper generated by my various lists—between my personal journal, to-do lists, quick notes to myself, business journals, etc. I must have been going through about a few dozen extra pieces of paper a month. Not that much when you think of it in terms of all the paper ever, but still—such things add up. And, adding to the craziness, having a bunch of little pieces of paper floating around is really not that fun for someone who isn't naturally hyper-organized.

So, in the interest of saving a bit of paper, and keeping things in one place, I developed my new system. Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) goes into my iCal, along with categories for each thing I've got to do that day. The smaller whiteboard is for the current day's tasks, and the area underneath it is for a bit of advance planning—I'll put the activities for the next two days there. The current day's appointments with times go at the top of the smaller white board, with all the activities that need to be done that day but don't have a specific time frame are listed underneath. As tasks are completed, they get erased off the board. As the day finishes, the smaller board is erased and the next day's appointments and tasks are listed on the smaller board.

Doing things this way, I've managed to keep my head above water during an insanely busy time, and I get to remind myself that I am, in fact, actually productive—I literally erase parts of the pile as I go.

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