My Daily Recurring Task Productivity System (for Adapting to Hospital Work and Evening Postgraduate Study)
November 7, 2023•626 words
Reading time: 4 min
So, I'm now a proper pharmacist. No longer a pharmacy student, no longer in training.
The new time, energy, and cognitive demands of a fast-paced hospital environment took quite the toll on me when I first took up the position.
I'd go home, eat, shower, head to bed, and then question where all of my time went.
But unfortunately, there are other priorities in my life that aren't sleep and work:
- I have to clean my home
- I have to get my groceries
- I have a relationship to maintain
- I want to work out and stay physically healthy
- I'm supposed to be doing postgraduate studies in the evening
- I should study any rare drugs and diseases I encountered in the morning
- I must complete my administrative / financial / miscellaneous duties
In the beginning, I'd stack most of these on the weekend day when I'm free (I work 6 days a week).
And then question, at the end of said weekend, where all of my time went. And some priorities would still be neglected.
But it's been a while now. And I've built a productivity system that fits my new time and energy availability, and gets everything done when needed.
The system accomplishes the following:
- There's minimal thinking and planning required in terms of choosing tasks, saving cognitive energy
- Everything that needs to be completed on a particular day is completed that day
- Everything that needs to be completed in a week will be completed by the end of the week
- Tasks are spaced out, such that there's no single day that is entirely chores and catch-up cram studying
- Tasks are automatically blocked on my calendar so I have an idea of the time requirement and available remaining free time that day
The system goes like this:
- All of my (above) responsibilities are linked to either a long-term goal, or some sort of important direction or priority in my life. This helps me clarify that those items are important to me, and are worth investing time in. (And worth defending against other encroaching time drainers.)
- In a task manager (I use Todoist), I make a "Goals" project. These long-term goals/directions/priorities are set up as primary tasks in that project.
- Under each primary task is 1 (or more) subtask(s) that help me reach that goal. These are set up to be recurring either daily, or every few days, or weekly. For example, study and working out are daily, while cleaning is every few days or weekly for different parts of my home.
- These recurring tasks are spaced out across the week to be more manageable and flexible.
- These are automatically time-blocked with an AI calendar (I use reclaim.ai).
This fits with my Direction > Goal > Task/Habit system, which ensures all of my tasks are linked with a specific priority of mine, and progress is made every day (or week).
I've slowly stacked more recurring tasks to cover all of my priorities/responsibilities across these couple of months as I became more efficient with them and freed up more time.
Now, most of my time and task choices are automatically chosen for me, and I just have to quickly do them and clear everything in my list, and I'm free for the rest of the day.
It's working to the point where I now work out on most days. And as evident from this post, I now have enough time and energy that I can slowly re-introduce writing! It's amazing.
That's a vast improvement from what I noted in my AI calendar post on July 12, 2023, where I wasn't able to exercise or do any writing.