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Time Management for My Time Off

In 2000, my wife and I met and fell in love in Lofoten, a group of islands even further to the north from here. Later that year, I went to Oslo and lived with Kristin for 3 months. Kristin taught school then, just as she does now, so during the week I had the daytime to myself. That was the last time I had such an abundance of free time. Of course I don’t regret those 3 months in Oslo; but I did learn something about myself and free time: without time management, I get nothing done.

So you say, “It’s your year off, you dick! Why do you want to get anything done?” I have no defense. In 5 years, I want to look back at this time and say, “I’m glad I took advantage of all that free time and accomplished some meaningful things.” What are these meaningful things? They fall under 3 buckets:

1. Family
2. Personal
3. Professional

Spending time with the children requires no time management, except to set aside the time and be present. For personal and professional goals, I want to do things that I don’t have the time to do when I’m working full time. That takes time management, and project management. For time management, I put together the calendar below. Green is family, orange is personal, and blue is professional.

For project management, I’m using scrum, a methodology my last company Kalido used to develop software. I’m doing weekly sprints. At the beginning of each week, I do sprint planning to decide what personal and professional work I’ll do for the week. At the end of the week, I’ll conduct a sprint review to assess the work done and make process adjustment.

As for roles, I’m the scrum master, the product owner, and the team.

Starting tomorrow, I’m going with this schedule. I have no idea how this will work out. I’ll report back in a week.

  1. Carol Lidington #


    Your surroundings look idyllic. Your kids look happy. Your schedule looks way too structured (to me). Relax & enjoy!

    September 11, 2011
    • One thing I neglected to mention is that I have almost 25-30 hours of free time every week, because my wife is working and the kids are in school. And I’ll have this for a whole year! Sipping martinis while reading a book will get old very quickly.
      I do intend to allow a lot of flexibility; this schedule is just a guideline. When 11:30 strikes I won’t get up immediately to have lunch…

      September 12, 2011
  2. The Nothmost analytical mind of the year!
    That’s looks a decent Sprint-0 to me.

    September 12, 2011
    • Sprint 0? It’s spring 1! This is not a prototype anymore…

      September 12, 2011
  3. Lovan Chetty #

    You are going to have to develop multiple personalities as the product owner wants to get as much done as possible, the scrum master wants to do the least risky stuff and the team only wants to do the interesting stuff. You are going to have to set aside time to argue with yourself!

    September 15, 2011
    • Lovan, that’s actually very close to the truth.

      September 15, 2011
  4. Hi Winston,

    When I was reading your post, I was thinking I was going to comment by saying that you’re taking all the roles in a Scrum environment, but already said that near the end of the post.

    By the way Winston, you might want to check the Scrum Category on PM Hut, I’m currently publishing a lot of Scrum articles these days, this one is the latest: (I hope you’ll get the chance to read it).

    September 23, 2011
  5. Thanks for your comment. I’ll check out the your articles.

    September 27, 2011
  6. Definitely very important to have a schedule! As a freelancer I know just how vital it is to making the most of your day. Good luck!

    September 28, 2011
  7. #

    Great Blog and a great idea – well done!

    I’m loving that the housework only takes 30mins a day at most 😉

    January 10, 2012

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