What is Master the Art of Scheduling?
“Where are you on the schedule?” Develop the ability to predict the amount of time as a sequence of key tasks that a project should take. And yet we all work with software developers who hate the pressure of committing to a schedule because to complete work usually takes “as long as it takes.” But you can’t effectively run a business without the confidence to work toward a schedule.
When you recognize the value of time management skills, you become the overseer of your life, with your schedule as your command center. Many people think that creating a schedule is as easy as jotting down the time and activity on a piece of paper. However, scheduling is so much more than that.
A well-planned schedule of everyday tasks is more than just a reminder of what needs to be done. It also allows you to make time for important tasks that are in line with your goals. It makes you become aware of how you spend your time each day. It helps you to recognize areas that need adjustments so that you can achieve balance between your personal life and your profession. So how should you schedule your time each day? What are the tools you need to become a “master scheduler?” Here are the strategies to learn:
Gather Your Scheduling Tools
In general, you would need three essential scheduling tools, and these are:
A daily planner,
A weekly planner, and
A monthly planner
The daily planner helps to keep you on the right track each day. It enables you to concentrate on exactly what tasks need to be done and how much time you have for each.
The weekly planner serves as your overview of the events planned out for that week as well as the tasks that you need to accomplish. It helps you get to see what is ahead of you, because focusing only on the everyday tasks might cause you to forget about what is in store for tomorrow, or the day after that.
Now, you might think that you do not need a monthly planner if you have a weekly one. However, it always helps to have all the dates of the month laid out on a single page. This will enable you to see the important dates of that month and plan your week and days around them.
However, it is possible to keep a monthly planner without the weekly planner. Just make sure that there is enough space for you to jot down your weekly tasks on the monthly planner.
There are plenty of planners whether digital or printed out there, so choose your layout carefully. Most of the time, you will find that many planners already have daily, weekly, and monthly sections. This is helpful, especially if you want to carry your planner around. Take care not to purchase more than one type of planner, because you would only end up feeling confused as to which one you should write your next set of tasks.
One suggestion on how to organize your different planners is that you should have a portable daily planner, and a desktop or wall-mounted weekly and/or monthly planner. This is because you will likely need to check your daily planner constantly throughout the day, while you only need to jot things down and review your weekly/monthly planner once a week. A large monthly planner is helpful as well, because you will want to see everything at a single glance.
Once you have your scheduling tools, the next step is to create a scheduling routine.
Create a Scheduling Routine
Do you take time at the end of each day to plan for the following day? If you do not, then now is the best time to build this habit. A master scheduler should set aside a time each day to plan for tomorrow, each week for the week ahead, and each month to review everything and plan for the next month.
In most cases, it will only take ten to twenty minutes to plan for the following day and thirty minutes to plan for the week and month ahead. However, the time you would invest in planning will save you from many problems in the future.
After you have set a fixed “scheduling” time, you should then establish a routine on how to schedule your time. Here are the recommended steps:
- Time-block non-negotiable appointments
Certain parts of the day may be out of your control; such as board meetings or dentist appointments. You should secure them all first, otherwise you might end up with overlapping appointments.
It must be emphasized that you should also time-block the hours when you will be sleeping. Have to establish a fixed sleeping schedule to stay healthy and sharp the following day. Do not rob yourself of sleeping hours by cramming on certain tasks. Instead, focus on planning your day carefully so that you will have time to accomplish them all.
- Schedule your Important Tasks
At this point, you would be able to see the times lots during the day when you do not have anything scheduled yet. If so, then you can refer to your list of priorities to allocate the different tasks into your day, week, or month.
For example, if your most important task for the day is to write a thousand words for your personal book project, and if you do not have anything scheduled between seven and ten a.m., then you can block this task within this time.
- Schedule your Urgent Tasks
After you have secured the times lots for your important tasks, you should then move on to blocking in the urgent ones. It helps to use a different colored-pen or highlighter to separate the important from the urgent.
Do not forget to factor in breaks and an allowance in time for emergencies. In other words, you should never time-block one task after another without at least ten minutes of contingency time. This way, you will not be behind schedule in the next task when there was an unexpected extension in the task before it.
Here is an example:
- Important Task —- 7:00 am to 9:00 am
- Contingency Time —- 9:00 am to 9:15 am
- Urgent Task —- 9:15 am to 11:30 am
- Review your schedule and make adjustments if necessary
Once you have your entire day planned out, you can go back and assess your schedule as a whole. If you notice that you have spread yourself too thin, consider delegating certain tasks to others, rescheduling them, or canceling them altogether. Once you are satisfied with your schedule, the only thing left to do is to take action.
As with any other skill, it takes constant practice to become better at scheduling and managing your time well. Nevertheless, it takes more than just scheduling and planning to do a great job every day without feeling burned out. That is because you also need to develop an efficient system. Read the post How to Make Establish an Efficient System? to learn more about that.