Tick/Tock : My Experimental Produce / Consume Clock

For the last fours weeks I’ve been trying a new method for getting things done in the evenings. Very simply put on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I produce something. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday I consume something. Sunday is whatever I feel like or in some cases what needs to get done with my limited data set I’ve noticed I end up doing both.

On consume nights I read a book/paper/article, watch a show/movie, study a paper/article, play a video game, tease apart a puzzle, have a conversation, go out, etc.

On produce nights I write, code, build, continue a project, cleanup, do maintenance, or play with that thing I’ve had sitting around for years that I’ve been meaning to get to.

Consume nights have been very successful. I’m slowly getting caught up on my research, technical reading, and non-light reading. In the mean time while building a rhythm I’ve managed to finish two games, the last of the TV and light reading on my list for the year. My stress level has also been noticeably down. 

Produce nights have been a little rocky to start as I had a bit of cleanup and throwing out of various 1/2 completed projects that needed to happen before I could really get in the flow. Even so they’ve managed to net several blog posts (including this one), creating a security tool, and progress on various home projects. Now that I’m past the time debt stage I’m looking forward to getting a good rhythm going to get some more things out the door.

On very short reflection one of the things I really like about my tick tock model is that it forces me to hack off part of a project that can be done in an evening. At the same time I don’t burnout or get bored with creation or consumption. One of the biggest benefits so far has been hushing the “You should be working on that other thing” nag in that loves to find a way to crawl into the back of my brain when I’m trying to get started on a task.  

I also no longer feel like I’m pushing something off that needs to get done or something I want to do because whatever the thing I’m currently not doing is, is literally getting done tomorrow. One of the unplanned side effects has been that I’m getting more and more excited to do things. I’ve noticed when I stop my brain knows that thing I want to do is pushed out a bit and my mind begins to build anticipation to getting back to it. 

While I’m 11 months away from claiming victory with my new time management model, it has in less than a month created a positive feedback loop. That alone has helped me feel like I’m starting to get ahead instead of feeling eternally behind. My ACTD list getting more and more checked off is proof that it’s not just a feeling.

Like all good routines few survive contact with a travel schedule. This month is packed with trips so I’m hoping my experimental clock is tray table compatible.

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