Less Time Calls for Greater Efficiency

Two days ago I wrote about how I'm going into work earlier in the morning and working shorter hours. Instead of 40 hours a week, I'm now working 16, and instead of going in at 8 a.m. I'm going in at 7. While I'm happy about the transition to a new schedule (I was interning before and am now a paid employee) it's already presenting some challenges that I didn't expect. Chief among them is how little time I have to actually get production work done. As a case in point, here's how I spent my day yesterday:

  • 7:00 - 8:00 Caught up on the news, identified possible leads (F.A.A. stalemate, gravel mining along the Willamette, and new rules for birth control and health insurance)
  • 8:00 - 8:10 Looked through comments for today's show on standardized testing and military families, prepared focus sheets for the rest of the staff.
  • 8:10 - 8:15 Met with the Think Out Loud staff, technical director, and announcer to go over details of today's show.
  • 8:15 - 8:30 Made more calls on segments I'm working ahead on.
  • 8:30 - 9:00 Wrote and edited tweets and Facebook posts for today's show.
  • 9:00 - 10:00 The show! Facilitated TOL's online conversation and prepared comments for Dave to read on the air.
  • 10:00 - 10:30 Post show recap meeting. Brief look to the days ahead (including Ken Burns), assignments, etc.
  • 10:30 - 11:00 Issued a correction on a show I produced last week, sent out some emails on a segment I'm working on.

By my count, that schedule leaves a shade over an hour and a half per day to actually produce shows. I'd estimate that it usually takes me six to eight hours to produce 20 minutes of radio, so at this rate I should be able to produce one 20 minute segment per week. One thing working against me is that my working time will be split up into little blocks through the week. I'll have to learn to get to work and focus quickly rather than just easing myself into it. The upside of this is that since my work time will be spread out it'll give guests and sources more time to get back to me.

Obviously I'm just going to have to get used to the fact that since I less time to work on stuff I'm inevitably going to get less done. I think that part of my aversion to recognizing that is that I really value being a part of the Think Out Loud team and contributing to our common goals. Working less than everyone else makes me feel like I'm a slacker, when really there's only so much that I can do.

I talked to Sarah, my supervisor, about this yesterday, and the upshot of the conversation was that all of the other little things I was doing were valuable too, so I shouldn't be worried about it. And anyway, if she wants me to assign me to do less Twitter, blog, and Facebook stuff during the day so that I can do more production work, she's free to do so. As it stands, though, I'm happy with my schedule. I just need to figure out how to get the most out of it. I'll keep you posted on that front.