Sometimes people ask how I have time to work, be with my family, play games, and write blog entries.
The answer is not in *Getting Things Done* (what we really need is a book called *Getting More Done*), but it is one of the oldest tricks from management literature - I first saw it in Drucker in a book he wrote decades ago, and it's been in plenty of other books as well. I think it's just plain common sense, although I rarely see people do it, and some people have told me it's just plain crazy.
Anyhow, here it is. Managing time is a lot like optimizing code or tightening a budget. (Or even dieting, if you do it the good old fashioned calorie-counting way.) First you profile; then you cut or tighten the bottlenecks.
To profile my time, I have a lined paper broken into fifteen-minute blocks, and sometimes I'll update it when I switch tasks, and sometimes I'll update it retroactively with my best guess for how the previous n hours were spent. Although I used to just profile the work day, lately I've been profiling my whole twenty-four hour days, because doing the startup thing I find myself working on the evenings and weekends, so its valuable data. I don't profile every day - I only start profiling when I find myself wondering, "Where did my time go? How come I didn't get anything done this week?" Don't we all wonder that from time to time? Well, when I find myself wondering, I start gathering data to get the answer.
I'll usually collect data for about a month or so and then stop. Sometimes I'll put the data into a spreadsheet and sometimes I'll just eyeball it.
In my latest round of time-profiling, the biggest chunk of time went to sleep. Spending time with Cathy and/or Sofi was the next biggest chunk, although much smaller than sleep. Coding was a big chunk, but not as big as I would have liked - ideally I'd arrange things so I get more time for this. Reading and writing e-mail was a big chunk. Actually playing games was a big chunk. Blogging, interestingly, was barely on the radar - I spend about an hour every week or three writing a blog entry, which strikes me as a worthwhile investment.