About halfway through Laura Vanderkam’s sharp new productivity guide, Tranquility by Tuesday, we’re introduced to Elizabeth, an education professor who, worried about her ticking tenure clock, came to Laura for time management advice.
Elizabeth was struggling to find time for her research. Her husband and two children had followed her to northern Long Island to be close to the university were Elizabeth taught. As a result, however, her husband now faced an hour-long commute into the city each day, leaving Elizabeth with the primary responsibility for taking care of the kids before and after school. This created tight constraints on her available work hours, and the time that did remain was all too easily devoured by the demands of the classroom and teaching assistant supervision.
Laura asked Elizabeth to come up with a set of fixed time slots she could dedicate to research, to help ensure progress would be made even during busy weeks (longtime readers might recognize this as a variation of the autopilot schedule strategy). Elizabeth came back with the following options: