1 Everyday life; everyday tasks
We all have things that we need to do regularly as part of our everyday lives. These can include:
- doing the shopping; running the household finances
- fulfilling routine appointments, like the children’s football training
- less routine appointments, like visits to the dentist and hairdressers
- keeping up with family – local and further away
- checking personal email.
These things are all important, but can sometimes get on top of us. We can miss things like friends’ birthdays, or even dentist appointments. Keeping on top of our email lists can seem to take forever.
Activity 1 Everyday tasks; thinking about your own ‘taskscape’
A ‘taskscape’ is a made up word to describe all the things that you routinely do, like those listed above, some very frequently and others less so. Sometimes we are too busy doing everyday tasks to be able to see how we can do them better. This activity helps you take a fresh look at your taskscape and to start to think about areas you might want to do better.
In the audios below, Manuela, Michael and John talk about the routine things they do and which of these they find the most annoying or frustrating.
As you listen, make a note of some of the routine tasks that populate your everyday life in your Digital plan. The examples deal with home life but you may want to think about the tasks you routinely do as part of work or study.
Then add some details about:
- how you manage your everyday tasks at the moment
- what tools you use (e.g. pen and paper, scrawled lists, project management software at work, shared calendars, spreadsheets)
- which tasks take longer
- which tasks you do less well than other people
- which tasks get in the way of other things you’d like to do with your time?
Transcript: Manuela talks about her routine
What do I do routinely each week? Well, I guess I check the school website a lot. I'm a bit obsessive about it now because I missed an important date in the children's school calendar a few years back. It was World Book Day and they were all supposed to go dressed up as their favourite character. Thank goodness my friend phoned me the night before to ask if I had an eye patch for Captain Hook. If she hadn't, I would have missed it completely and the kids would have been mortified. They love dressing up.
As a single parent, I budget very carefully and I'm always going online to check my bank balance.
We have a big family calendar in the kitchen where I make notes of everyone's social engagements. This has been more important as the children get older. Their lives are starting to be filled up with parties, after school clubs, scouts and swimming. Sometimes, it's hard getting them to all these places and I have to coordinate with friends about who is picking up and dropping off and so on. A group of us parents share the responsibility to make it easier for all of us. But one girl always forgets. It's maddening!
Transcript: Michael talks about his routine
I sometimes go to the BBC Sport’s pages on the computer if I get time at the weekend, just to get updates on the footy scores. But usually, I just read the paper on a Sunday or watch Sport Scene on a Saturday night.
The radio gives you updates on the mid-week scores, but Margaret complains if it’s all sports news in the morning because she likes the Radio 2 breakfast show.
She does all the household budgeting, but I often think I should get involved a bit more, not leave it all to her. Then I might have a better idea of where all the money goes every month.
James shows me some sites where I can find free courses, so I search those, ever hopeful, you know. I do like FutureLearn and Coursera.
Transcript: John talks about his routine
When I’m not working, I spend a lot of time checking out the BBC Good Food website, following top chefs’ blogs and finding out about music, both in my town and new online stuff.
Being a chef means my shift patterns change every few days. Sometimes, I get my work times wrong and that really annoys everyone, including me. If I turn up a few hours earlier than I need to, I could still be in bed.
I use Facebook for cheffy things and music. Most of the bands I follow have a Facebook page with a list of events that I can share. I’ve ended up organising a few good nights out that way, through Facebook chat.
Select ‘Reveal feedback’ when you are ready.
Your own responses to the activity will be relate to your own situation. The notes below are observations relevant to Manuela, Michael and John.
Manuela talks a lot about organising her children and the family budgets. She didn’t mention her hobbies to do with the Formula One racing so I think she feels in control of those. Maybe her desire to run the household better stems from her awareness that these things can get chaotic and that collaborating with children and friends in order to get to appointments and social events takes time and can sometimes go wrong. Manuela might find that mobile banking provides her with better tools for managing the household budgets, like downloading monthly accounts in a spreadsheet format; or that tools for collaboration with other parents might ease the organisational burden of lift sharing to the teenage commitments.
Currently Michael’s attitude to his information use and gathering is a bit haphazard. He doesn’t really seek out information, rather he lets it come to him. He watches Sports Scene on a Saturday, reads the match reports in the Sunday papers or listens to the mid-week radio when his wife, Margaret, lets him turn over from Radio 2.
Michael’s admission that he thinks he should get involved a bit more with the household budgets is interesting; he realises that if he got more involved he’d know more about what’s going on. It reflects his approach to gathering his information. In order to feel more in control he needs to get himself organised.
John’s interest in cookery has encouraged him online, together with his love of music. So much music is shared online these days and events are advertised through bands’ Facebook pages. His lack of time management could be a problem though, and although he’s keen his employers might lose patience if he turns up to work too late too often. John might find time management tools useful and a better way of managing his online recipe lists could save him time whenever he wants to revisit a recipe.
You’ll revisit your own notes as you progress through the week’s activities.