Having a schedule is a fundamental part of time management and can actually give you more free time to do things that you want to do.
Imagine your schedule as a road-map. It provides important information about where you are going and how you can get there. Without it, you could take a wrong turn and find yourself hopelessly lost. Then it takes some time getting back on track, arriving at your destination later than you wanted.
When you have a schedule, you can look at it and see what needs to be done each day, week or month. You’ll know immediately when you stray off schedule enabling you to take corrective action.
The first thing to do when making a schedule is to write down everything that needs to be done on a daily, weekly and monthly basis on a piece of paper. Include both work and family schedules at this stage even if you plan to have separate schedules later.
Once everything is written down and in front of you, it’s time to start sorting between the common themes. You can do this by assigning a highlighter color to each theme (such as family, work, daily, monthly, weekly) or by taking out another piece of paper and writing those columns on it, and rewriting all the tasks into the appropriate column.
Next, estimate how long it takes to do each of the tasks and schedule them into your preferred format: daily, weekly or monthly. If you tend to procrastinate I’d opt for a daily schedule as it doesn’t allow for as much flexibility as a weekly or monthly schedule. On the other hand you may operate better if your schedule allows for more flexibility.
However, this is only a draft schedule. It still needs some work. Maybe you find you have scheduled more than 24 hours a day into a day! However, it is more likely you have underestimated the amount of time it takes to get things done. This adds further pressure to your already busy life as you begin to wonder why on earth you struggle to accomplish things when you seemingly have time to spare each day.
Because of this it is a good idea to time exactly how long it takes to actually complete these tasks for a few weeks. For instance, you may find that shopping actually takes an hour and half whereas you may have guessed only one hour. Timing tasks makes you realize that time is consumed by unavoidable, but unproductive tasks such as driving to the shopping centre. This, in turn, should take some pressure off when you realize that you don’t have as much spare time as you initially thought.
Armed with this information you can now create and follow a realistic schedule ensuring you have time for the things you love to do instead of only doing those things you have to do.
Author: Sharon Reid