A few days ago I wrote about doing all of my planning and journaling on paper. I’ve got my own format, and I use as much or as little notebook space in a day as I need. To be able to use that format consistently, I have a cheat sheet. The basic template is written on a piece of cardstock, which I use as a bookmark in the notebook. This is how I set about creating a Standard Operating Procedure card.
My schedule is broken down into time blocks. All of these are two hours each, except for an hour for lunch and an hour for dinner. Those blocks are my fixed and immutable times where I have to be working. The actual times don’t matter — there’s no magical formula where doing something in the morning is better than doing it in the afternoon, or certain tasks are done more efficiently at 9am than at 10am.
There are also categories of tasks that need to be accomplished. Writing, administrative tasks for Dancing Lights Press, errands to run, housework, and so on. These are groups of similar work, things that all happen in the same place, or tasks that have some sort of synergy so that it makes sense to bundle them together.
Creating a Standard Operating Procedure card gives me a template when I’m documenting my day. I write the day and date at the top of the page, and the time blocks down the left-hand side. Beneath the times I write the titles of the various blocks. I list the items in the block out to the right of the titles. I have plenty of space to take notes on things that come up during the day, how I solved problems so I can write documentation later, and tasks that I think of that can do on a list to be done at the right time.
During the current time block, I pick a category and work on those tasks. I don’t do anything but those tasks. If I’m writing from 8 to 10, then I’m writing and nothing else. If I have a lot of administrative tasks, like sending business emails, setting up a marketing campaign, or performing necessary accounting functions. I do those. I do as much as I can, and at the end of the time period I stop and switch to something else.