Scheduling for Sanity 101

Scheduling

Those of you who have been productivity practitioners for a while already know the merits of scheduling your time wisely, but it never hurts to get back to the basics, whether you’re brand new or one of the efficiency elite.

Properly scheduling your time can remind you of your commitments, increase the likelihood that you’ll deliver on those commitments, and steer your clear away from the self-loathing that follows coming up short. There’s only so much room you have in your brain, and if you’re not actively scheduling out your time and commitments, you’re likely to forget that a dinner with clients overlaps your daughter’s soccer game or that you’re out of town when your friend needs help moving.

In short, smart scheduling can keep you sane when everything is going crazy. So how do you achieve smart scheduling?

  1. Record your commitments.
  2. Keep your commitments visible.
  3. Don’t multitask commitments.

Record Your Commitments

As mentioned in the first paragraph, scheduling things solely in your mind is probably not the best idea. Mental scheduling works for a select few individuals who are either brilliant or don’t have much going on. (Since I am not brilliant, the last time I had little enough going on that mental scheduling worked for me was while I was in high school.) You have more important things to do with your brain power than try to remember dates and times. To take the heat off your brain, record your commitments.

A commitment is anything you agree to that will take time and energy on your part. You should record due dates, appointments, and events. Where you record them depends on what will work best for you. Power.ME can record deadlines for tasks and projects, but if you prefer to have those reminders elsewhere, Power.ME can also export your due dates to iCal or another electronic calendar you give it permission to access. Sometimes when you’re managing your children or individuals who don’t use electronic scheduling, you’ll need a shared hard copy calendar that’s easy to read and understand at a glance.

Keep Your Commitments Visible

When you record your commitments you need to ensure that you record them in a place where they’ll be readily visible as you go throughout your day. Writing down a meeting time on a scrap of paper does no good if you’re just going to shove it in a drawer and never look at it again.

Keep your schedule somewhere you’ll check often. For example, if you’re always using your iPad, putting your schedule there is a safe bet. The best place for your calendar will be specific to your needs and habits, but the important idea is that you put your schedule in a place that will keep it available and easy to check.

Don’t Multitask Commitments

When you have your schedule somewhere you can easily access, there’s no reason to ever double book yourself. Don’t try to meet a deadline by doing work at a family function, for example. If you’re trying to fulfill multiple commitments at once, you’re unlikely to be fully present for either of them. In a sort of scheduling schizophrenia, you’re trying to fill two different roles at the same time. Schizophrenia is not sane, and neither is schizophrenic scheduling. If you schedule yourself in a smart way, you’ll be able to fully commit your mind and your thoughts to whatever task or event is at hand. Fully committing yourself puts you in a better position to succeed at all the worthwhile things you fill your schedule with.

Image by Stuart Miles via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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