The summer is the season for organisation. It feels wonderful to have time and space to read and write. I also have been working on implementing strategies (yes this is a war) for the coming chaos of the Autumn term.
I have subscribed to Evernote Premium, which has been great for research diaries, notes and general sanity. I have been using Asana to make lists and track tasks. Equally fabulous. It feels good to know what is going on each day especially when a PhD project is so long.
However, my greatest achievement is the construction of a time management board. not online, not on my phone, in real life. Compared to the other tools above, this took a lot longer to conceptualise and create, but it has sincerely helped me to keep track of time and make sure that I am concentrating on what is important to me.
To make this you will need:
- foam squares
- sticky magnets
- permanent marker (for marking up whiteboard into a grid)
- a magnetic whiteboard
- Dymo Tape
- a friend
- bangin’ tunes
- a radiator for collecting them as you go
- Measure the whiteboard and work out how much time you want to plan. I chose 9am – 11pm as I wanted to cover most of my conscious hours. Let’s face it, before 9am doesn’t really count as consciousness now does it…
- Do maths to work out how many squares you need to draw on the whiteboard. This was hard for me, but maybe that is because I study the Humanities. Check it and double check it.
- Then you can play with the foam, since you’ll know the size of the pieces. Mine are 5cm by 2.5cm big.
- Cut out foam in different colours to make “time / activity” tiles. Choose angry colours for things you hate / HAVE to do. Choose happy colours for nice things. I made my PhD tiles a happy colour as there is going to be a lot of them. Categories can include things like read, chores, meeting, scoial time, PhD, admin, etc. I made two for bath ‘cos a girl can dream.
- DYMO time. This is where a friend is good so you don’t get RSI from stamping out thousands of tiny letters. Type out names for the activities and stick them on the foam.
- Magnet time. Stick magnets on the back of the tiles. I bought some great self-adhesive ones on Amazon which work really well for me since the foam is not too heavy. I am not sure if it would hold up wooden tiles for example, but with the foam it is supremo.
- Collect the tiles together on a radiator (for fun)
- It’s hard to know how many tiles to make for each activity, but try to be optimistic / idealistic at first. I went back and had to make more admin tiles, but to start out think about what you want your planner to look like.
- Feel glorious everyday and stay conscious of your time.