Making Time

Yesterday, a colleague asked me where I find the time to blog, twitter, etc. This is something I get asked often, but the only answer I have is that I just make time. I put blogging, presentations, sasqag work, and other community stuff right alongside my core work on my todo list. I’m heavily driven by my todo list (I use the tasklist in outlook), and anything I think is important makes it onto the list. I don’t work exceptionally long hours – I just make time for what I think is important. I don’t work exceptionally long hours either – my home life and my work life sort of blend together (I take care of personal stuff during the work day, and work most mornings and evenings from home. I’d estimate that I typically work about 50 hours a week at the most (although that number is a bit higher now as I ramp up on my new job).

I suppose it also helps that I think about work a lot. In fact, I write most of my blog posts (including this one) in my head before I sit down to type them out. I use my commute (20 minutes) to think through blogs, papers, projects, and whatever else I’m doing that requires a bit of thought before execution.I don’t have a lot of dead time during my day, but I think that helps keep me sharp.

I have one other bit of related advice to share (something I should have included in my gravy train presentation). There is always enough time. I’ve talked to people around the world (mostly testers), and I’m surprised how many tell me that there is some cool thing they want to do…but they just don’t have enough time. “I’d like to learn a new language,,,but I don’t have time”, or “I’d like to look ahead and build a strategy for our team…but we’re just too busy with execution right now”. When people tell me this, I ask- “What would happen if you were sick for a day? So sick you couldn’t even get out of bed?” “Would you be able to “catch up?” Sometimes they try to convince me the world would end, but the conversation always ends with a statement like “it would be inconvenient, but we’d survive”. “Fine”, I say, “if this is important, block some time off of your calendar and make it happen”. You will never get off of the treadmill if you don’t make that time, and if you don’t get off the treadmill, you’re never going to make great things happen.

And everyone should get a chance to make great things happen.

ed. Adam Goucher pointed me to this article on making time. A fantastic read – thanks Adam.

2 Comments

  1. Posted March 10, 2010 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this post, Alan. I admit that I have asked that same question to other people before. After a while I came to realise that if something is worth doing, it’s worth planning for. I get most of my ideas when I’m on the move (running, commuting, walking) – doing something with them is something I really have to plan for. I would love some extra hours in a day, though!
    –Zeger

  2. Posted March 11, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    “i write most of my blog posts in my head” –> something i need to practice. Although most of my speech rehearsals happen while I am driving, i havent been able to get to a next level. I think of many ideas and thoughts while driving, and then forget later on. I have kept a postit and a pen to jot down when i think of new things while driving, but hasn’t been completely effective yet.

    thank you for the tips. I know I was one of those who asked you on how you would make your time for various activities 🙂

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