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Effective Scheduling: Planning to Make the Best Use of Your Time

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https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_07.htm

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Effective Scheduling: Planning to Make the Best Use of Your Time
Planning to Make the Best Use of Your Time It's the end of another busy working day and, even though you came into the office early and left late, you don't feel as if you've accomplished anything significant. It's all too easy for this to happen.

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The Importance of Scheduling

Scheduling is the art of planning your activities so that you can achieve your goals and priorities in the time you have available. It helps you:

  • Understand what you ca...

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How to Schedule Your Time

Set a regular time to do your scheduling.

Decide on a scheduling tool to use to organize your time. You can use pen and paper or choose an app.

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Identify Available Time

Start by establishing the time you want to make available for your work.

How much time you spend at work should reflect the design of your job and your personal goals in life.

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Schedule Essential Actions

Block in the actions you absolutely must do. These will often be the things you are assessed against.

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Schedule High-Priority Activities

Schedule in high-priority and urgent activities, as well as essential maintenance tasks that cannot be delegated or avoided.

Try to arrange the high-priority tasks for the times of day...

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Schedule Contingency Time

Schedule some extra time to cope with contingencies and emergencies.

Some interruptions will be hard to predict, but leaving some open space in your schedule gives you the flexibility ...

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Schedule Discretionary Time

The space you have left in your planner is "discretionary time". Use it to deliver your priorities and achieve your goals.

  • Review your prioritized To-Do List and personal goals.

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Analyze Your Activities

If you have little discretionary time available, question whether all of the tasks you've entered are necessary. Some tasks can be delegated or tackled in a more time-efficient way.

If...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Make planning a habit

Make planning a habit

Some mornings we feel motivated to create a to-do list, but that is often the exception. We need to get things done, even when we feel disengaged.

Start by setting the alarm for you...

Align your to-do list with goals

  1. Break down your big goals into daily tasks. You can't add "Get in shape" to your daily to-do list, but you can add "spend 30 minutes on my bike."
  2. Consider your week as a whole. You likely have multiple goals. Some goals benefit from daily activity, while working towards others a few times a week can create momentum.
  3. Add your have-to-do tasks last. We often fill our to-do lists with have-to-do tasks that crowd the whole day. Adding it last forces you to fit your have-to-do tasks around your goal tasks.

Have one daily priority

Many of us start our mornings with dozens of things we need to get done, but later realize that we haven't crossed any of them off our lists. We did get stuff done, but none of the things we planned.

A balm against hectic days that pass without progress is to choose a single activity to prioritize and protect in your calendar. If you struggle to select your top priority, ask yourself, when you look back on your day, what do you want the highlight to be? That's your priority.

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The Pressure Of Time

Most leaders have familiar approaches to managing time: setting goals, planning, delegating, tracking commitments, and creating to-do lists. While these approaches do help in self-organization, the...

Sustainable Productivity

Instead of increasing the number of productive hours, we can focus on getting the right things done in a timely way. We also need to restore and balance ourselves, our colleagues, family and environment, instead of a neurotic or pathological focus on deadlines.

Find out what's truly important to us and use the finite resource of time wisely.

Phantom Workload

Phantom workload looks like real work but results in massive unproductivity and even conflict in an organization. The pressure to meet unrealistic expectations causes a vicious cycle of further workload.

Leaders need to take a hard look at what is being avoided or not addressed. Facing difficult tasks that were 'swept under the carpet' earlier strengthens them further to make hard decisions and face difficult people and situations.

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There isn’t enough time

Complaining that you don’t have enough time is not getting to the root problem. It may be that you’re lousy at time management. Admit to yourself that there is enough time -- you just don’t know how t...

A one size fits all solution

Instead of relying on a tool with all the bells and whistles, find out where you’re struggling and what’s essential for you. 

For example, if scheduling is taking you away from product development, then you could use a scheduling tool that uses machine learning to automate most of your scheduling needs. If you’re wasting too much time on email, then consider using a tool to help tame your inbox.

Less anxiety

Time management is only useful when you’re aware of your limitations and don't let the system dictate your entire life. 

In other words, when you don’t tread lightly (especially at first), time management can add more stress to your life.

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