Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My High-Tech Time-Management System

You're looking at it: a $14 wire-bound notebook from Staples. And thank heaven, my 2009 edition just arrived today. (It's my fault for procrastinating. I've limped along the past 13 days with free calendar pages I printed from the interwebs.)
I used to use the Franklin system, on which you could spend hundreds for a binder and another $40 for new pages each year. And although I still like to go to the mall store and fondle the buttery leather binders, I just couldn't justify the expense anymore. Probably nobody else can, either, because they have been seriously dropping their prices.
This cheap-o planner works just fine for me. I write my occasional appointments on the left side of the page and my to-do list on the right side. I use the "notes" lines at the bottom to record the hours I can charge against book projects, and then later I enter them into our Bookmaster system, where the costs are amortized over three years. (Don't get me started on what a painful transition it continues to be from our old publishing-management system to this one.)
Now, the elephant in this particular room is why am I not using some sort of electronic system to manage my time? I think the answer is pure stubbornness. I like being able to pick up a pen and check off tasks as I do them. My little book is portable and doesn't need batteries or wi-fi. It's kind of the same argument we use when we say traditional books aren't going away. It's a tactile experience that I am loathe to give up just yet. Besides, if I don't keep using a pen occasionally, I will forget how!
What time-management system do you use? Why do you like it?


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Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Ha, ha! I'm as low-tech as you are, Lori. I use a very similar planner. The only things I track electronically are editing projects, income, and expenses. But even there, I'm behind the times: I use Microsoft Excel instead of spreadsheet and accounting software. Drives my accountant buggy.

Lori Cates Hand said...

Makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one. I do track my freelance invoicing and income in a simple Excel spreadhseet. For expenses (which are pretty minimal for me), I just throw receipts in a file folder and add them up at the end of the year. Most years I don't end up having to pay quarterly taxes.

BookishCook said...

How do you feel about bookmaster? We made the switch from our old system to Acumen in 2007--what an ordeal! We're still working some kinks out. Mostly, the sales department likes the new system and the accounting department hates it.

Lori Cates Hand said...

Hi Bookish Cook!

I'll be frank: Not a fan of Bookmaster. I can't get sales reports as easily as I could with Cispub (and the accuracy of the ones I get is suspect), and there's just a lot more work involved with using it. Part of the problem might be in the implementation of it, but I have not seen one thing work correctly yet and it's been almost a year now. To be fair, I met the Bookmaster people at the London Book Fair last year and they were so nice and offered me champagne. But I am not loving working with the system.