How I get things done

I spent a good amount of time this spring and summer working on myself with the help of a therapist. With someone to help keep me accountable, I explored time management and anxiety management with the help of several methods: time batching to the Ivy Lee method.

Time Batching

I found time batching to be particularly useful for small tasks that I can fit into a set (or close to a set) amount of time.

Ivy Lee Method

The core concept I took away from the Ivy Lee method is to focus on the most important thing first, while taking food/water breaks as needed. Take care of yourself.

The point is to avoid context switching. I like that.


A thing that is also very important is to assess whether you need to attend every meeting that is requested of you.

Some are actually a priority, and you should attend those.
Many meetings are informational for your role, but not mandatory. If you didn't setup the meeting, does the meeting have an agenda?
Are you directly involved or supporting any of the topics? Perhaps you don't have to attend.

Often you can ask for a recording or meeting minutes, and that will suffice for what you need.

I'm not saying that you should avoid all meetings; there are likely some that you truly need to attend. Whether it is representing your team, your role, or just required meetings.

You should keep in mind what your highest priority deliverable is. Don't let trivial or frivolous meetings interrupt your momentum.

Also, limit the amount of time you have Outlook/email, Slack/chat, and other programs open. Consider turning off notifications for Slack. If your job demands a certain level of responsiveness to these tools, then by all means respond right away and have them accessible.

Try it out for a week.

I like to plan around a few hour chunks and block off the time in my calendar a few days in advance. I'll make the appointment (using a calendar's terminology) tentative at first, then move it to busy once the time approaches.

See what meetings you really need to go to.

Perhaps there are some weekly meetings you don't have to be at.

It's ultimately your call to make, but prioritize giving yourself time to things done without the constraint of an obligation to treat everything with an equal absolute priority.

Everything isn't on fire, you'll know if it is

It's quite a refreshing reminder that everything is not the highest priority thing all the time.

When things do come up, take a breath, think about how urgen you need to respond, and choose accordingly.

They will follow up if it's critical.

It often isn't as critical as you think it is.

Think of times you went on vacation.

Did things continue on without you?

Did your peers pick up the slack while you were gone?

Doing the last low priority ticket and attending every meeting isn't always the best thing for you, your team, or your career.
Bugs are important to fix, but consider the highest impact and/or highest priorty task. Set aside some (mental and literal) time, and see what you are able to get done.

It's ultimately your call to make.

I have found these methods and tweaks helpful and empowering. They help me checking with what I should be working towards, and set me up to not distract myself.

I hope they help you. Give them a try.

For those that prefer a video, I found this video, by "A Life Engineered" to be on a similar theme.