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» My pickle jar - Excel and Dates

My pickle jar - Introduction

Notes on how I manage my time at work.

Time Management: The Pickle Jar Theory is a pretty good article about how to manage your time. I’d like to share some information about how I manage my pickle and eat it too :-)

For almost 3-4 years, I’ve been using a very easy to use system using Microsoft Excel 97. It has worked very well for me, because, maintaining the sheet takes less than 3 minutes per day. Using a single Excel sheet, I record a task’s date, starting and ending times, a short description about task, project code, type of task, for whom it is, was it planned or unplanned etc. Most of the time, before I do a task, I add it to the sheet. If an appointment comes up for the future, I add that too.

Formulas calculate other necessary date related information from these. Then some Python scripts automatically generate:

  1. An iCal file that is published to a web server.
  2. A daily status report that explains what I did yesterday, what I plan to do today, in HTML that is mailed to my manager.
  3. A CSV file in Outlook2000 format. This gets imported to Outlook2000 and updates the central Free/Busy server, using an AutoIT script.
  4. A CDF file that displays the current task and the future tasks for the day. This, with some Javascript, acts as my screen saver. So, if I’m away, people can see what I’ve planned to do for the day and where I will be, if they come to my desk, without checking #1 or #3.

Additionally, with some simple pivot tables, I generate my timesheet (format has changed over time), charts and matrices during performance reviews and detailed billing information when customer needs to get in-depth information.

Like any history data, this has helped me to look back and see when did I do that?

  1. Seems pretty funky.
    Maybe you can make a product out of it :-)

    Posted by: kamal on March 29, 2003 10:39 AM