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NEW! - Keywords For This Page:   Time Management - Scheduling - Productivity

Scheduling Your Time More Effectively


Feel free to use this tip sheet / checklist as you tackle your own ""do-it-yourself"" organizing projects. If you would like to REPRINT or DISTRIBUTE this information, please click here for reprinting instructions.


AVOIDING THE MYTHS

  • it's not time management -- it's self management
  • you can't control time and you certainly can't manage it
  • you get just as much time as anyone else
  • you can only control yourself and what you do with that time
  • it's all about the daily choices you make

KEEP A TIME LOG

  • each block of time represents an investment opportunity
  • how you invest your time determines your future return
  • not every item on your schedule has to be done
  • the key to productivity is awareness of how you spend your time
  • what you do, how long it takes, and what benefit you get
  • create a log tracking your activities for a week

LAYING IT ON THE LINE

  • evaluate the time investment versus payoff for each activity
  • how much benefit or enjoyment are you getting from each activity?
  • keep high-payoff and enjoyable activities on your to-do list
  • ask yourself if low-payoff activities need to be done at all
  • if they do need to be done, do they have to be done by you?
  • if they need to be done by you, could they be simplified?

LEARNING TO USE A CALENDAR

  • can choose a daily or weekly calendar for appointments
  • give yourself at least one block per hour
  • each block should be big enough to write in any daily appointments
  • include all details (address, phone number, directions, etc.)
  • use the monthly or yearly pages for longer-term planning
  • use to plan ahead in larger blocks of time
  • be sure to transfer appointments to weekly calendar each month
  • keep your calendar with you at all times

PLAN AND SCHEDULE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN

  • spend an hour Sunday evening planning the coming week
  • transfer appointments from your monthly to weekly calendars
  • don't just schedule work-related appointments
  • schedule as many items in your life as possible (and reasonable)
  • time with kids, exercise, spiritual practice, shopping, etc.
  • schedule appointments and errands geographically
  • review your schedule daily so you don't overlook anything

RECOGNIZE YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

  • if you procrastinate, create artificial deadlines to finish early
  • know your work style (long stretches or short bursts)
  • understand your high and low energy periods
  • plan your schedule accordingly
  • ask "is this the best use of my time right now"?
  • if not, re-evaluate the importance of your current activity

REMEMBER TO PLAN SOME FREE TIME

  • it's healthy to plan time to "goof-off" or play"
  • set aside time for recreation in advance
  • get up early to have some private time before the day gets crazy
  • it's less likely to come up spontaneously and distract you
  • you're more likely to actually make time for yourself

SET SOME BOUNDARIES

  • eliminate distractions as much as possible
  • it's okay to ask not to be disturbed -- and to say "no"
  • close your door, turn off the ringer on your phone, etc.
  • set up guidelines for dealing with interruptions
  • who you are willing to interrupt work for and who will have to wait
  • don't be afraid to ask how long the interruption will take
  • then decide whether you have time to handle it now or later
  • ask if you need to handle the problem right at that exact moment
  • if not, schedule a time to take care of it later
  • when interrupted, leave a memory jogger of where you left off work
  • it will be easier to get back into the groove when you return

STICK TO YOUR PLAN

  • direct all of your energies toward your current activity
  • don't think about what you need to do next or later on
  • your schedule will work only as well as you commit to it
  • keep it with you and refer to it often

 


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