TMS Interview 003 -- A college Teacher Who Writes Science Fictions

Mammoth teaches at a college and is also a short story author, a technology author and translator. How does such a prolific writer manage his time?

  • What scenarios does your time management workflow apply to?

My daily life can be broken down into very clear blocks: creative work, school routines, and personal interest development. So far it looks like my time management workflow works in all of these blocks :)

  • What tools do you need for your time management workflow?

Tyme 2 on iMac; Forest on iPhone; Post-it Notes, RHODIA N18 GLOCKBOOK, Midori MD Notebook A5 GLOCKBOOK and Montblanc M fountain pen <-- These last ones are the ones I've been most satisfied with after testing a variety of paper and pens! It's a bit of personal taste, too.

  • Please briefly describe your time management workflow?

Roughly in these steps.

  1. Long-term projects: post-it notes with deadlines and broad phases, to be pasted on the wall and adjusted according to progress.
  2. At the end of each week: a simple plan for the next week, with reference to long-term projects and immediate goals, written in an A5 notebook.
  3. Every morning: brief review of the previous day, brief analysis in a PDCA cycle, written in an A5 notebook on. I tried Workflowy and Mubu before, but moved to paper and pen.
  4. Daily routine: Tyme 2 is used to keep track of time and expenses, Forest is used to make tomato clocks - I tried Pomotodo before, and later found the trees that Forest planted to be quite lovely as well.
  5. Switching work content essentially in two/four Pomodoro units, and intentionally interspersing different types of work. I take breaks when I find it difficult to concentrate.
  6. If I have any unexpected events, new ideas, information that needs to be verified, etc., I will make a few notes in your N18 notebook at any time for future reference.
  7. At weekends, I will review Tyme 2's logs, analyze the time wasted and the reasons for it, and write it in my weekend review.
  • How long have you been sticking with this workflow?

The earliest time logging started around 2006, having just finished reading Эта странная жизнь. Then I was influenced by some other time management methods, such as GTD and morning journaling. I tested and used a number of tools, but finally settled on the ones I have now. I have been using this current workflow since about 2012, but with a different toolset.

  • What are the advantages of this workflow?

I think there may be several advantages.

  1. This workflow is focus-oriented. What it records, in fact, is the level of focus expended in doing work of a different nature. Time is unmanageable, all we can manage is our own focus.
  2. Split long-term tasks systematically into each week to slow down procrastination. I tend to get caught up in the details, so I still often need jump out proactively and see the whole picture.
  3. Review often for daily improvement. Just like bookkeeping, the accounts are just data. From these data, insight needs to be extracted to guide decisions.
  • The biggest pain point in time management right now?

Not enough automation. Despite setting up shortcuts, it's a bit annoying to have to click and record at the start and end of each task. I tried some tools that automatically record the current active apps on the computer and can mark it uniformly after a while, but it's also troublesome.

  • The ideal time management workflow is? What kind of tools are needed?

I think the idea of GTD is a good one, especially the discussion about different altitude perspectives. But if GTD is strictly implemented, the collection alone would be enough of a problem.

The ideal time management tool should be universally computational, able to cross devices, respond quickly, track throughout the day, and automatically analyse.

  • Can you recommend a book on time management? The one that affected you the most.

Эта странная жизнь This book is really about the long-term practice, precise perception, and continuous improvement of one's energy management.

Mammoth’s workflow is comprehensive, which is the result of his constant adjustments. Of course, managing your focus, not just your time, is also very worthwhile.

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If you would like to share your time management insights, please answer a few questions below and email us at post (2) acacess.com and we'll edit and publish.

  • Please introduce yourself briefly.
  • What scenarios does your time management workflow apply to?
  • What tools do you need for your time management workflow?
  • Please briefly describe your time management workflow?
  • How long have you been sticking with this workflow?
  • The advantages of this workflow?
  • The biggest pain point in time management at the moment?
  • What is the ideal time management workflow? What tools are needed?
  • Can you recommend a book on time management? The one that affected you the most.
  • Can you recommend a friend to share her/his time management tips?