Tacey shares his time management techniques

Brendan is SCA’s National Head of Production and today he shares with us his techniques for time management in his very busy week.

Whether you’re in production or another department in radio, you might just find something useful in what he does.

Of course, feel free to share your techniques in the comment section below.

Over to BT.…..

Let me precede this article with a quick note about our Network Production team. I feel very fortunate to be working with undoubtedly the best production team in the world.

While we have amazing technical talent in our team, I’m referring to traits that go far deeper than just that. Our team works with each other and always for each other. There is not one person working in our team at any level that is there just for themselves. Yes we all need to look after #1 first and foremost, but that doesn’t mean you shut out everyone around you.

Everyone on our team looks out for each other and will do anything to help a fellow prod bod in need in any corner of the country. I’m seeing this on a level that I have never seen before as our internal connections continue to grow. This paradigm within our team assist in achieving the below.

For me, good time management is about 2 things.

1.  always work under the assumption that another request or task is moments away from dropping into your inbox

2.  look at the time in your day like a game of Tetris

These 2 points go hand in hand.

Point 1

If you work under this assumption you will always be prepared and able to handle the new tasks that constantly come in with little or no stress. On occasion it can boil over, but I could count on one hand the times in a year that happens and it tends to coincide with when there is a lot going on in my life outside of work as well. The effect is compounded. I do my best to separate the 2, but now and again the perception can be far greater than the reality when ‘It’s On’ both in and out of work.

This mindset keeps me focussed on a task at any given time, and should nothing new drop into the inbox while doing a current task or by the end of it (very rare) then it’s a bonus.

You could then do 1 of 2 things with that time. Take it as the bonus and enjoy the breather, go and have a chat around the building, take a walk, coffee, or take that time and play Tetris with it.
Point 2

Play Tetris with your time. Tetris being the old arcade game where various shaped and coloured blocks fall from the top of the screen and before it hits the bottom, you have to decide which way to orientate it and then let it slot into the other stacked shapes at the bottom of the screen, cancelling out any lines that are completely filled from left to right.

Look at your tasks as though each one is a block from Tetris. Even chunk down your tasks so instead of it being 1 big job, break it into 3 or 4 pieces – 3 or 4 Tetris blocks. So if you get to the end of one task, and you have no pressing new task, look at a future job (which could be 1 day out or a week out or more) and take a chunk of that future task and slot it into that bonus time you now have.

This way, instead of leaving that entire new task till the next day or week when it’s due and trying to do it in one solid hit, if you fill any of those bonus moments with these chunks you will eventually cancel out another ‘Tetris Line’ or task….or bunch of tasks.

In doing this, some days you don’t feel like you achieve much because you haven’t scratched much off the to do list, but then all of a sudden a day or 2 later you feel like you are absolutely killing it and you are the King of your world.

I look at my days and weeks like this. So by having the mindset on a daily basis, I get to complete the weeks tasks in a very timely manner with room to move on unexpected and additional tasks that drop in.

In the past I would always work on each project from start to finish, regardless how long it took me. In doing this I would scrutinise everything too much, sweating for too long over minor details or edits, playing them over and over and over.

Now, when a job comes in, I might make a start and lay the foundation of the promo or package (Tetris block 1), then the next day, slot in another key piece or two (another Tetris block), then say on day 3 slot in the VO that I’ve just recorded for the promo because the voice session was 3 days after receiving the original request for the task (the final Tetris block).

This way, I find that doing the overall task in chunks I don’t spend crazy amounts of time going over and over a piece. It usually turns out that on day 2 or 3 when I go back to the task I find that the work I have already done is absolutely fine (with little tweaks here and there). Being able to step away from a task and come back to it sometime later you tend to hear and see things in the task far more clearly and are able to adjust accordingly far quicker to create the end product in an overall shorter time than I might have if I sat down and worked on the task from start to finish.

Thanks to Brendan for sharing his time management techniques.

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