All of us have limited resources: limited energy, limited brainpower, limited willpower, and limited time over the course of one day. When we have multiple activities we’d like to get to in one day, leaving the schedule up to chance is a recipe for having our intentions go unfulfilled.
Give yourself a much better chance of feeling satisfied at the end of each day by training yourself to be a master scheduler. No, you don’t have to micromanage everything to do this. You just need to take an honest look at your own plans and engineer them so you can be sure to make them happen.
Here are 7 suggestions for becoming a master scheduler:
Invest the extra time to do proper schedule planning. It may be as little as 7 minutes or as much as 45 minutes, but whatever amount of time you need to organize your schedule will pay off when you execute your plan. Knowing where you are headed will enable you to invest your energy into making the plan happen. You won’t be wasting your willpower and mental energy constantly figuring out where to invest your attention throughout the day.
Ruthlessly eliminate unnecessary items on your schedule. Gradually get rid of the tasks and activities that drag you down and make your free time seem to disappear. Decide what you want to focus your heart and mind on, and head in that direction instead of to the mall or to the black hole that is the internet.
Make sure to pre-plan what is necessary in your schedule. One example of this is your meals. So many people make the mistake of skipping breakfast, arguably the most important meal of the day, in order to feel like they are maximizing their time. Schedule in your meals and your exercise and any routine appointments to make sure you keep yourself in top form. And remember — never skip breakfast!
Tightly limit how much time you allot to your projects. Don’t throw time at your projects. Instead, estimate how much time you will need and allow yourself just enough time, no more. This way you’ll be more inclined to push yourself towards the finish line, saving yourself time in the process.
Schedule in significant breaks between periods of work. When we work for hours on end our creativity and productivity wane. Allow yourself a proper break whenever you are intensely focused or involved in medium-to-high-stress activity. Determine how long you want your break to be ahead of time, in order to protect yourself from turning your break into unnecessary Procrastination.
Clearly differentiate between work time and play time. This is an area that chronic Procrastinators have difficulty with. When we Procrastinate, we end up thinking about work when we are playing, and being mentally checked out when we are supposed to be working. Being able to separate work time and play time is a skill that can be learned over time. Try to start putting it into practice by scheduling your time more wisely today and throughout the upcoming week.
Balance heavy and light. Be aware of busier days and make sure you schedule lighter days around them. This will prevent you from burning out and will increase your chances of making it through the week with some energy left over. Weekends will be that much more joyful as a result.
There are many more tips on scheduling to share, but if you stick to the ones listed here, you’ll be well on your way towards having more time for your work and for the rest of your life. Use the extra time you have to build a better week ahead and of course, a brighter future.