Are you excited by the fact that you have the same 24-hours in your day as the likes of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey? Or do you find yourself more concerned about the fact that you only have 24-hours in a day to get everything done? There are those who are able to accomplish so much in their day, and there are others who seem to always be running out of time. If you have not achieved the success you seek in life, a great place to start is knowing and improving how you spend your time each day. By learning how to make an effective schedule for time management, you can be sure to focus your time and effort on the tasks that matter to you the most.
1. A Commitment to Your Schedule
The first thing you need to do each day is to make your schedule—know what tasks you have to do and prioritize so you can have a more organized day. Those who have mastered making an effective schedule have made it a way of life, not a way of convenience.
Many people limit their scheduling time to when things already get really bad or when they have the “extra” time. However, you will find that scheduling your day is the best way to ensure that you have the “extra” time you’re looking for.
To decrease the likelihood of procrastinating, make sure that everything you write on your schedule or calendar is something you are committed to completing. By filling your schedule with items you will do, you will have a sense of urgency about adhering to your schedule.
The problem that many people face is that they schedule their ideal day, but most days are not ideal. Each day has unique problems and situations you were not planning to deal with that day. For example, you scheduled time to go to the gym before work, but you had to stay up late the night before working to meet a deadline, or you received an email late the night before about needing to come in early the next day because there was a problem discovered in your report.
When you make an ideal schedule, you look for an ideal day to implement it. That is why you should instead make an honest schedule each day about the things that will be done. These tasks are essential and, therefore, you have to complete them regardless of the unexpected problems that may pop up throughout the day.
2. Find Your Focus
The first step to learning how to make an effective schedule is to spend more time creating time blocks and less time creating to-do lists. When you create a to-do list based on tasks, you run the risk of not completing everything on your list. Despite your best planning efforts, some of the tasks you listed may take longer than anticipated. As a result, you may find that you haven’t completed many of your tasks at the end of the day.
A better approach to effective scheduling is to set blocks of time (time blocks) to complete your most important tasks each day. Instead of listing the tasks you want to complete each day and working on each one until it is completed, you will set a certain amount of time each day to complete the tasks.
For example, you can check and respond to emails from 8:00 am to 8:30 am each day. Then, you can work on a project due later in the week from 8:30 am to 10:30 am. From 10:30 am to noon, you can then work on a different project that you also have to prioritize.
Studies show that time blocking is a more productive way of managing your schedule because you are working in concentrated blocks of time. By grouping similar tasks, you allow yourself to use the same side of your mind, and this is the more ideal approach than frequently switching from your analytical side to your creative side.
3. Say No To “All Work and No Play”
Productivity isn’t the only thing that matters when learning how to make a schedule. It is also important that you leave yourself some time for fun. This is not a contradiction to the idea your schedule should be realistic and not ideal. In fact, this is the secret to making a schedule that works.
Too many people fill their schedule with tasks and professional ambitions that leave them feeling out of balance. Bring balance to your schedule by allotting time for your friends and family. Whether it is as simple as a walk to the park, watching a movie, or playing a board game, make sure that you are leaving some time with those people you enjoy spending time with.
Think of making a balanced schedule as you would think of starting a diet to lose weight. How likely are you to be successful if you restrict your diet to fruits and vegetables? Many studies show that drastically changing your diet usually results in you relapsing back to your previous eating habits and may even cause other health problems. As a result, you run the risk of losing all the gains you previously made.
The same holds true for determining how to make a schedule that’s effective. If you make significant changes to your daily schedule overnight, you run the risk of losing all your gains in a short period of time.
4. Leave Some Time for Yourself
It is vital that you leave time for yourself—and only yourself. Oftentimes, there is a negative stereotype surrounding the idea of being alone. However, alone is where you have a chance to slow things down. Life is always moving at such a fast pace that you may often forget why you are moving in the first place. Allow yourself some alone time to contemplate your motivations, goals, and aspirations.
Humans are blessed above all other creatures with the gift of being conscious of their existence. We know we are living, and we know we are going to die. We can swim upstream or down—just because. We can also fly north or south—again, just because. The problem is that most people do not take advantage of this amazing ability. We fall into patterns and habits and continue to remain in those patterns.
By devoting time to yourself, you give yourself the necessary time to evaluate how you spend your time each day. Don’t fall into the pattern of living a life based on decisions you made years ago that are no longer aligned with your current goals.
Making a schedule is more than just writing a list of tasks that you are going to complete each day. It is also about allocating your time in a way that gives you the best opportunity to live a life without regret. You need to allocate your time in a way that increases your productivity while leaving you time for yourself and those you care about.
Take control of your time so your life is more aligned with those you respect and admire. Remember, we all have the same 24-hours in the day, whether you use those 24 hours to create the life of Jeff Bezos or you use those time to create the life of someone who is wasting time. Either way, it is your life, so treat it like the treasure it truly is.
More Tips on How to Make an Effective Schedule
- How to Plan Your Day for a Healthy And Productive Life
- 5 Techniques to Tackle a Busy Schedule (And Create More Time)
- The Importance of Scheduling Downtime
Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com
|Princeton: Principles of Effective Time Management for Balance, Well-being, and Success
|Entrepreneur: Time Blocking Tips Top Experts and Scientists Use to Increase Productivity
|The Week: Making sudden changes to eating habit may harm health: Study
|New York Times: Why You Should Find Time to Be Alone With Yourself