It wasn’t easy to figure out, but I’ve had to get better at time management this year. With the majority of clients and film projects having financing, connections or origins in Europe or Asia, my work has become anything but the 9-5 gig. In fact, some of my regular clients are in Los Angeles once a year, if that. This was unthinkable in the days before the net. Midnight or early morning Skype calls are not an exceptional event, they have become the rule. Ditto for taking breaks at what would typically are daytime working hours in LA.
One standard time management practice that I’ve adopted to be able to work as a lawyer, producer, writer, director (really), dog catcher (not really) and player for Manchester United (I wish), and which I will share with you to ridicule, adopt, and/or ignore at your convenience … is to simply compartmentalize each task that you work on throughout the day.
I call the theory “building time walls,” which I explain ad naseum in my book about passing the bar exam.
The concept is the complete opposite of multi-tasking.
So, for example, if I’m working on your contract for two hours – my iPhone is off, I’m not taking calls from anybody (exception – make sure your family can reach you in an emergency). For two hours, I’m figuratively checked out of the virtual real world, I’m not checking Facebook, not reading CNN, my wi-fi computer may even be turned off.
After the task is over, I take a break. During which time, I may check email, phone and/or temporarily become the most fucking annoying person on Facebook in the Western hemisphere. Then, I go back into work mode, onto task #2. Which may be working on a script, for example, for an hour. Same approach. Nothing else is going on during that time.
My non-work time gets the same status. For example – if my break in a day is watching an Italy vs. Belgium soccer game with my wife (today), the time walls go up. I’m not half-working and watching a soccer game. Or vice versa.
The end result, for me, at least, is higher personal productivity and better quality. And, more fun and less ‘should be working guilt’. This theory enables you to study and pass the bar exam and have a great summer at the same time. I wrote my plan out, it morphed into a book how to do it.
This is how I am able to multitask in my career, without actually multitasking. Cheers.