Time Sliders for Weekly Planning

What’s the difference between what you think you have time for in a week and what you actually have time for? In this episode I describe a simple visual metaphor to help you plan for not just the ideal weeks, but also for those worst-case scenario weeks, and everything in between.

The Doug Neill Show: Episode #24

Recorded on June 5th, 2019

You can browse all episodes here.

How do you visualize your time?

0:37 –  3:25

The situation that led me to seek out a better way to understand my current (and potential future) regular time commitments. This episode is a bit of a follow-up to last week’s: Overlooked Opportunities.

Time sliders: how they work and why they’re useful.

3:25 – 15:41

A breakdown of the structure of this visual metaphor, along with examples and applications from my creative projects.

  • Step 1: Identify the different buckets that make up your creative work (the things you spend time on regularly). The four that I identified: weekly videos, weekly podcast episodes, long-term sketchnoting projects (like these courses), and long-term podcast-related projects (like a guide I’m working on!). 
  • Step 2: Identify how much time you spend on each of those buckets each week. Give each a minimum and maximum time.
  • Step 3: Sketch out a slider for each bucket, shade in the time range, and place a “moveable” button in the middle of that time range.
  • Consider the high-end and low-end scenarios. What’s your total time commitment if each bucket requires the maximum time? How much time is left over if each bucket takes the lowest amount of time?
  • I know I have about 20 hours of deep work available to me each week. That’s because I’ve been tracking my time since I published Hedgehog Mode & The Flywheel Effect (in which I share ideas from Jim Collins and his interview with Tim Ferriss).
  • Seeing the high ends and low ends of those time commitments can help you maintain time buffers in your work. That idea of buffers comes from Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism, which I summarized in this Verbal To Visual video.

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Thanks for listening, and talk with you again next week!

-Doug