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Time shift to get more done

The idea of time shifting isn’t new, though it’s often only thought about in terms of recording TV shows on a DVR to watch later. According to Wikipedia, time shifting is “the recording of programming to a storage medium to be viewed or listened to at a time more convenient to the consumer.

In terms of watching TV, it’s brilliant! I watch a good number of shows during the year, and it’s nice to not have to worry about what day/time they come on. When I have time to sit down at watch, they’re waiting for me.  The same idea can make your work life more productive.

Cleaning up after the storm

Last Thursday evening, our area was hit with some hard storms.  We were fortunate to have minor damage at our house, though our yard was a big mess and we lost power for about 22 hours.  My plan was to do my normal work on Friday, then work on cleaning up the yard on Saturday.

However, work was far from “normal” on Friday due to the power outage.  While I’m thankful to have a Verizon mifi and a nice laptop to work on while the power is out, it’s a far cry from the speedy Comcast internet and the nice setup in my office (not to mention the air conditioning!).  I realized that I had two choices:

  1. Struggle through my work on Friday, then work on the yard Saturday and catch up with the remaining GreenMellen tasks later.
  2. Stop trying to work on Friday and just concentrate on the yard instead, freeing up my Saturday to work on GreenMellen tasks.

I went with option #2 and it worked well.  By Friday night we had a clean yard and the power came back up, so I was able to get a lot done from my computer on Saturday.

The Atlanta Braves

To make the weekend a bit more complicated, I knew that the coming Tuesday would be an off day — my daughter’s chorus would be singing the National Anthem at the Braves game, so we’d be there all day.  In preparation for that, I spent a good chunk of the day on Sunday getting ahead on work so that missing a full day Tuesday wouldn’t be as hard.

braves-chorus

Time shifting depends a lot on your boss

I’ll admit that being your own boss (or co-boss?) makes it much easier to do this kind of time shifting.  While we certainly work most weekdays from 8-5ish in order to be available when our clients need us most, it’s a different story when you report to someone else and need to literally be there every day.

However, there are still things you can do to time shift at your job and be more productive:

Slow internet: Back when I worked at a church, the internet would experience major slowdowns quite often.  Being the web guy on staff obviously required a lot of time online, but when the connection got that slow it would make my job take 10x longer (uploading files, etc).  Rather than struggle through it, I’d use that time to get other work done (talk to staff members about their areas of the site, work up blog draft posts, etc), then dig back into the site when I could knock things out quickly.

Family time: I attend a good number of evening Meetups around town, so if I’m going to be gone in the evening I make an effort to end my workday a bit early and get in some family time before I need to leave that evening.

Batch process: We manage a few hundred WordPress sites, so there is almost always a need to update a plugin somewhere.  Rather than hunting them down, or dealing with them when I come across them, I take care of them all at once a few times a week.  The combination of InfiniteWP and keeping up with a ton of tech blogs (to make sure there isn’t a more pressing need to update a particular plugin) makes that possible.

Bottom line

If there is an outside force (power outage, slow internet, etc) that is making some aspect of your work take longer than normal, use that time on something else and the end result will be many more items checked off on your to-do list!

What are some of your favorite time shifting tricks?

About the Author

Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

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