19 September, 2011

Monday's Mission: Scheduling

This a follow-up post to the one last Monday on time management. I know at least of few of you have kept time logs for the past week, or at least for a few days. By this time you know where your time is being spent, you can identify those time 'wasters' easily enough and you can also recognize the sections of time you spend on necessary tasks and chores. From here the hard part begins, sorting out what needs to be done from what you want to accomplish and fitting it into a schedule on a daily basis. Pictured here is a daily schedule format sheet, this is the exact page that I use; every day! You can download this page here, or find one elsewhere that will work for you. The page itself isn't as important as writing the schedule and making it happen! This is where a habit starts to form. I begin my schedule the night before, with broad strokes; I add details in the morning and take great delight in crossing them out, each and every one, when they're done. For me, the cross-outs symbolize accomplishment. I keep the sheets stacked on a clipboard and at the end of every day the top sheet is crumpled up and tossed away. Is every sheet completely crossed off every day? No. Sometimes a task or two might remain, they're the first things that go on tomorrow's sheet! I follow my task plan according to the times assigned down the left side of the sheet. Since you've done time logs, you have a good idea how many hours to assign to a given task. Once and a while I will miscalculate how long it's going to take me to get a specific chore accomplished and that will throw the schedule off. That's when tasks may accumulate and have to be moved to the next day. Either that, or, more than likely, it's an unexpected event that will occur and disrupt what you have scheduled; that happens too. Be kind to yourself with flexibility, don't stress over moving chores from one day to the next, or even the day after that. Life happens! Now, those places where you spent wasted hours last week with little or nothing to show for it, perhaps it was on the computer, maybe it was watching TV; remove them, not only from your schedule but also from your line of vision! These are the distractions that will be your undoing, they're your personal time gobblers. Fight back! Lock up your laptop or unplug your cable, this is the toughest part of all; but, it's not forever, and it will help you establish productive structure to your day. You'll be able to reintroduce these things again soon, in moderation, just try as hard as you can to stick to your schedule and don't honor the enemy by giving them a place in your line-up. If you really want to get organized it takes discipline; this distraction eliminating step will jump start your engine and you'll be on the road to all those places you've wanted to go in no time, with fuel to spare! Next week we'll take a look prioritizing and realistic goal setting (remember your stated objective?), but for now your goal is to schedule your days, one at a time; allow yourself some flexible breathing space too. You're doing great... you're on your way!

Life is Good!

"Planning is bringing the future into the present
so that you can do something about it now." ~Alan Lakein

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Salem Stitcher said...

For the days I did keep the journal, it was amazing how much more I got done. Now THIS week should be very interesting!

quiltkeemosabe said...

I agree with Salem Stitcher. The days I really kept track of what I was doing, I got much more done! It was almost scarey! I'm ready for this week now! Thank you for your coaching!

Janet O. said...

Thanks for the link to that schedule page. I am a list maker (the night before) and when I was in college the counseling office had a page similar to this that was available free. I used them constantly. Now I just use a tablet and make a rough version, but this is what I really want. Your advice is very sound--maybe we need to rename you Mrs. Goodcounsel. : )

Becky G said...

What I found quite interesting is that my tracking sort of fell apart at the same time each day... Late afternoon. This is useful info highlighting a trouble zone.
Also, being new to blogging, I have been sacrificing too much time on the altar of my curiosity.
This week-end's time gobbler was ALL those Hop To It square in a square's! They are like an addictive computer game... " oh, just this one more row of chain piecing... Maybe just cut a few more of those little setting squares & I can finish that section."
Your insights are most helpful & timely! Thanks!

Nane said...

I love to cross off items on my list, but I do it weekly not daily...and if I have to get up as early as you I will never make it. But thanks for the link, even though I use Outlook and my phone for a lot of lists etc...I still love a paper one in front of me.

LuAnn said...

This is a great topic. I've printed the page. I've had several people ask how I get so much done, and I don't know. I'm sure not organized. I do think it helps to write things down even if it is just a rough list, but I like the idea of keeping track of the time, too.