CS and the City Sean Lynch

Unstructured days

Week 2 and I've been completely unsuccessful in hitting all four of my targets every day. My best is three, but median is two of four.

Exercise Talk Write Code
5/6 - Wed Yep
5/7 - Thu Yep Yep
5/8 - Fri Yep Yep
5/9 - Sat
5/10 - Sun Yep Yep
5/11 - Mon Yep
5/12 - Tue

I blame this on poor time management.

I've spent the last few years as a slave to my calendar. PM roles tend to involve an embarassing number of meetings. Though good PMs will stay constantly vigilant for useless ones, some amount remains.

My first week was heavily calendared as well, but mostly with hour long coffees, obstensibly to reach my "Talk" goals. Turns out that coffees aren't progressing me toward my goals and they are costing a lot in time (including transit) and money (including transit).

  • They're too easy too set up
  • They move around too easily
  • They're even harder to keep structured and valuable (particularly for both people)

I've only had one day so far that ended up being completely free, but only after a few things canceled and rescheduled. And I ended up wasting it by heading home and then cooking, which triggered couch sitting and distractions. Despite the newly found free time, I wasn't able to pull out of the productivity nose dive.

What I need to fix:

  • I'm not making progress on exercise and reflection goals each day. I need to schedule time for them
  • I also haven't spent any time in other startup offices because its hard to find large chunks of time
  • Avoid rescheduling meetings impacting the rest of my day
  • Neee a predetermined fallback plan when things get canceled
  • Keep the time of day I feel most productive (9am-12pm or so) free for productivity

I'm taking as a given that I won't be able to abandon my calendar. So instead, I'm proposing a default structure for my day:

8am - 12pm

  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Code/write


  • Lunch
  • (Transition time)

1pm - 6pm

  • Hang out in an office space
  • Code/write

3pm - 6pm (Optional)

  • Coffees and meetings

6pm onward

  • Hanging out with girlfriend, friends
  • Code
  • Read

On the surface, it seems really natural and attainable. It also appears to be a schedule I could put into place for my day-to-day as a PM. So it's somewhat surprising I haven't run into other people preaching a more structured default day model. I'm interested to see how it works in practice!