“If you get into that productivity trap, there’s always going to be more work to do, you know?” the writer and artist Austin Kleon told Eddie Shleyner for verygoodcopy.com. “Like, you can always make more. I think that’s why I’m a time-based worker. I try to go at my work like a banker. I just have hours. I show up to the office and whatever gets done gets done.” This short blog post resonated with me as I’ve been trying really hard the past couple of months to adopt a time-based method of working—i.e. setting specific “office hours” for the various things I need to get done throughout the week rather than mindlessly working on whatever strikes my fancy at a given time—which isn’t so easy when you work for yourself, have a lot of people that you communicate with throughout the day, and could feasibly be working on something at all times. The reality of work, regardless of your field, is that there’s almost always more that you could work on, but that doesn’t mean that you should (or need) to work on it. At the beginning of the week, I block off chunks of time on my calendar for when I’ll be coaching workouts, writing training schedules, working on the newsletter, recording or editing the podcast, doing research, making phone calls, replying to emails, etc. I try to stick to those hours as best I can—and the hours vary depending on the day and the week—and while it wasn’t the easiest adjustment to make, this new way of doing things has kept me more organized, helped me to prioritize what’s important in and outside of work, allowed me to do better work, and, most importantly, kept me sane.
From the morning shakeout issue #184.