Current personal organization practices, part 3

A continuation on part 1 and part 2.

Summary of changes:

  • Different schedule
  • Different highlighting of current day
  • Greater emphasis on prioritized activities
  • Removed Comparison sheet, retained only weekly comparisons

First, I have simply updated my schedule of activities. This let me work on the mechanism for changing schedules without breaking historical data. I also categorized all activities and made them collapsible (Basics always stays collapsed since there’s no data in there anyway), but haven’t done any subtotaling yet. I will have to play around with it and see whether it adds any value before I clutter up the screen with more numbers.

Second, I just tweaked the day highlighting a bit. I thought that the bright yellow was too bright and overly conspicuous. The current combination of borders and subtle shading may not be ideal, but it’s better, or at the very least less glaring.

Third, I not only highlighted the high priority tasks in a more pleasing hue, but gave a more demanding shade of orange to the “next task” indicators. Minor detail: made it so that the “next task” indicator has priority over the “current day” indicator. In hindsight, I should have done it with conditional formatting, will change that next. Also, I’m not sure if the two different shades of blue are counterproductive or not. Do they seem to indicate two different meanings? I may choose to consolidate the colors after some hands-on experience with it.

Finally, the big change. Remaking my weekly schedule gave me a good opportunity to examine the current system and find points of failure. My reflection revealed that I was too focused on daily tracking and not enough on getting work done. Comparison sheet, I hardly knew ye. I know, I just introduced it in the last post and it took some coding effort to make it work, but it’s not a great idea and had to be abandoned. The redesigned tool places a greater emphasis on choosing from the work I need to do and getting it done, and a lesser emphasis on what I failed to do on which days.

Negatives: I felt that comparisons of particular days added no value. the purpose of the red numbers is to give direction for my next actions, not to give historical evidence for my failures. Such records are counter to the flexibility we need to move things day-to-day while still getting the same work done in the period of a week.

Positives: I could have reduced the entire tracking system to just weekly summaries, but I don’t want to stop listing daily activities. It helps plan my day and balance work across the week. I’ll continue refining the relationship between the concepts of daily and weekly.

Comparison and tracking duties are relegated to a new column named “comparison” beside the weekly summaries. It compares the weekly work done against the weekly work planned, and is exactly the same as the weekly summaries from my obsolete little adventure in covering the screen with red numbers. This “comparison” column gives me the tracking I need at more comfortable, lower level of granularity, gets rid of the Sheet of Accusation, simplifies the coding of all the functions (no cross-sheet referencing shenanigans here), and gives me immediate direction for the next activity. It’s better in every way.

Why should I be punished for not doing things on a predetermined date when the whole point of this system is flexibility? This is a good change that can only encourage better decision-making and more positive attitudes.

A minor modification: the “Catch-up activity” feature was removed. That was a clunky way of achieving flexibility considering these recent changes.

I have some ideas for the next few improvements. There are items that I struggle to do enough of, and there are some that I struggle to not do too much of. I don’t study enough, and I “relax” and use Internet too much. Might try to devise some way to change the “reach this quota” system into a “Stay under limit” one of them without altering the underlying data.

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One thought on “Current personal organization practices, part 3

  1. Pingback: Newest system | Thoughts From Whence

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