I had an unusually specific and concrete thought one morning last week. Unusual for me anyway seeing as it was morning which is when I tend to be at my most abstract.
I worked out that I’ve 20 poker chips of time to portion out each week at work. By my definition, a poker chip of time is “a proper hour” that takes place at a time when I am both awake and at my desk (not on blackberry or in transit where I can still work, but not properly).
I calculated the number of chips I had by listing all the predictable tasks I have each week that no one else will do and subtracting the time it typically takes to get those things done from my normal working week. And now I know I can say yes to 20 additional 1-hour commitments or forgo sleep – which anyone who knows me understands, is NEVER AN OPTION.
Since my job involves responding to an unpredictable # of urgent requests each day, this chip concept is a very easy way to help me make smarter “in the moment” decisions about what to say yes to and what it would be saner to hand off to someone else.
I might even apply the poker chip concept to other life areas where I have goals I am trying to reach – with writing projects or exercise challenges. But I am aware that if I am going to get this goofy it’s probably best not to own up to it.
The important thing to remember is not all chips are equal.
For example, one hour of my pre-noon time spent writing is just not the same quality as one hour of me after 5pm. The later it is in the day, the more likely I am somewhere being productive. Mornings and me are all a bit floaty and abstract. Light admin is all I can handle. Like making coffee.
Tomorrow back to chat about hard currency cash. Till then, Happy Friday.