How to Find the Time Part I: Get on the Go

Time Management. Image credit: lucida.deviantart.com

You really want to start your own project, and you have all the skills and knowledge to do it. You even wrote down your ideas, discussed them with a friend or two, and it all looks promising — but how do you find the time?

There is more time available than you think. Let me share a few ideas where to find it. It will be a series of three posts. Today’s main idea is…

Use your smartphone more

I’m not suggesting this for the core project work, but you can do so much on the phone to save time later:

  • read the relevant blogs (you should subscribe and read the field news and blogs, for knowledge and inspiration)
  • make plans, notes and drafts
  • review mail and todos
  • make relevant calls

You can use it any time, everywhere:

  • on a train, at the airport
  • in a long waiting line
  • waiting for an appointment
  • in a few odd minutes during your lunch break
  • any time you get a good idea

This may not sound like much, but try this for a few weeks and you will be amazed. In addition to getting more time, it also teaches you brevity and focus, which will help you a lot. This will also remind you about your project several times a day, which is a huge motivation booster.

A few things to avoid if you want to be productive

Don’t get sucked into random blogs, social and email updates. Stay focused.

  • set up filters and categories
  • put a time limit on your relaxed general surfing
  • schedule your main goals first

I also recommend you to turn off or carefully filter the push notifications. Your attention focus at any moment should be defined by you, not by some random external events.

Tools to use on your phone

There are only three essential tools I recommend, in addition to the normal core apps each smartphone has:

  • RSS newsfeed reader. I use Google Reader, which will be discontinued soon. I heard Feedly is getting popular, but I haven’t tried it yet.
  • Evernote or other synchronized notes
  • Wunderlist or another synchronized todo list

Don’t get too busy evaluating dozens of the available apps. They should save you time, not consume it. Stick with what works for you.

If you can pack a tablet, or if you are really comfortable with your phone, you can also read books or write short documents on the go.

You will be especially efficient if you plan ahead. Think when you will have longer and shorter intervals, when you will have good or bad network, and plan accordingly. And remember to pack a good book for a long trip.

How do you use mobile technology for your project?

Please share your mobile productivity techniques with the Five-Hour Projects community in the comments.

  • what apps do you use and recommend?
  • what type of work you do on the go?
  • how do you get the most productivity out of your mobile tech use?

The most interesting comments will be promoted into the post body with credits.

In the next part, I will share three different approaches to finding the time for your project. Stay tuned to the RSS newsfeed or email.

Update: You can find part II here: How to Find the Time Part II: The Three Ways

This post was written by Valentyn Danylchuk, the editor of Five-Hour Projects. You can also publish guest posts here, suggest projects to write about, or get interviewed – contact val@fivehourprojects.com

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