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

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 can realistically achieve with your time.
  • Add contingency time for "the unexpected."
  • Avoid taking on more than you can handle.
  • Work steadily toward your personal and career goals.
  • Achieve a good work-life balance.

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

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

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

mindtools.com

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Key Ideas

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 can realistically achieve with your time.
  • Add contingency time for "the unexpected."
  • Avoid taking on more than you can handle.
  • Work steadily toward your personal and career goals.
  • Achieve a good work-life balance.

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.

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.

Schedule Essential Actions

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

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 when you feel most productive.

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 you need to rearrange tasks and respond to important issues as they arise.

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.
  • Evaluate the time you need to achieve them.
  • Schedule them in.

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 you find that your discretionary time is still limited, then you may need to renegotiate your workload or ask for help.

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People who schedule fewer tasks get more done. It forces you to prioritize what’s most important.

Also, scheduling back-to-back items in your calendar doesn’t account for the unexpected. Emergencies will always pop up and if your calendar is packed too tightly, you won’t have the flexibility to handle a crisis without completely trashing your calendar for the foreseeable future.

Say “yes” to less

Instead of accepting every invite or request for help, be more selective so that you’re not spreading yourself too thin. 

The easiest way to do this is by only saying “yes” to the things that excite you or that serve a purpose.

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