Yes, having a schedule (and sticking to it) is an awesome asset to have if you want to keep your productivity at a high level and accomplish your tasks.
However, what if you simply can not afford to have a clearly defined schedule day after day?
Maybe your days don’t follow the same rhythm, or you work in such an industry where new things and events easily show up and you need to constantly rearrange your plans and adapt to them?
Whatever the reason might be, maybe you’re just not a scheduling type of person.
But even that kind of person (as every other adult on this planet) has goals and tasks which need to get done.
So, how to achieve them the most effective way, if scheduling is not an option?
The good news is – scheduling is not the only method that you can use to be productive.
There are lots of alternatives to it and ways to manage your time so you can successfully get the work done.
These are some of them.
Focus on your weekly to-do list
If you don’t follow a routine on a daily basis, focusing on a weekly to-do list might be the perfect thing for you.
(not sure will it be the right thing for you? check out the post daily or a weekly to-do list and which one fits you)
No scheduling needed here.
You could work one day in the morning, the next in the afternoon or even at nighttime, without any in advance dedicated time slots for a certain day.
Instead of having a repeating daily pattern, you get to decide which days you want to work full time (and maybe even longer), and when you could work less (or maybe not at all).
You can also choose which days will belong to a certain type of task (your job, household tasks), or you’ll mix it up the way it suits you at the moment.
Writing down your goals and to-do items on a weekly level and then roughly placing them on a certain day in your planner is a good method to organize and track your tasks and their performance.
This type of organization can really work well because it gives you the flexibility to work according to your daily energy (or inspiration) level, and you can still manage to complete your tasks even if some unexpected event occurs along the way.
The key to successfully using a weekly to-do list is to get everything done in a 7-days timeframe.
If you’re being realistic with your to-do list, this can be pulled off pretty easily.
Work in line with your energy level
You know how sometimes when you’re “in the zone” work gets done so easily, almost effortlessly, while on the other days, the same work looks like it takes forever and it feels like a neverending agony?
(at least that’s how I feel from time to time 😀 )
The beauty of not having a schedule is to use this opportunity to your advantage.
Without a schedule, you can do the work according to your energy level on a certain day or at a specific moment.
(the same can not be said for all those tasks with pre-defined time slots!)
This gives you an amazing opportunity to maximize the effectiveness of your work, and even make it be an enjoyable experience.
So whenever you feel you’re in a high state of energy, seize the moment and make good use out of it.
Batching is your best friend
If you’re not a scheduling type of person consider batching as a method to organize the work you have.
The logic of this method is that you’ll accomplish the tasks quicker when you group them together as opposed to when they are done separately.
Well, it’s because you’re doing them all at once, like a mass-production track in a factory where things get done quicker & easier since it becomes a routine job.
Plus, you’re not distracted by other types of tasks and you don’t switch your focus – which makes the process faster and more efficient.
So, how to make this thing work for you?
You probably know what duties are on your to-do list for a certain week or month.
(if not, you’d better write them down first)
Take a look and see if there are similar tasks which you can group together and complete them as one package.
Or, on the other hand, you might also have a single recurring task.
In that case, try to produce its results on a more massive scale.
For instance, doing social media graphics at once, completing the paperwork in bulk, even making a larger amount of food (and freezing it for later) counts (by the way, there are many other advantages of meal planning as well).
Think anything which you can do at a larger scale.
This method can be used both with or without a schedule, and the only difference when you don’t have a schedule is that you have the freedom to spontaneously start with it whenever an opportunity shows up.
Give Pomodoro a try
Another productivity tool that can help you successfully do the work even if you don’t have a schedule is using the effectiveness of a Pomodoro method.
(you can find a detailed description of it in a separate post)
In short, this method consists of working on your tasks in small but totally focused moments, with short periods of breaks in between.
Two biggest advantages of the Pomodoro technique are:
- you’re chunking the work bit by bit and that’s a good recipe to get things done (which is especially useful for tasks which seem intimidating and overwhelming, so they appear much easier to achieve)
- you’re using small amounts of time (25-minutes-small, to be precise) to complete at least some segment of your work (which – if nothing more- forces you to stop procrastinating)
Therefore, when you combine these two advantages together, you get a good recipe to get things done. 🙂
And I’m super-sure you can find at least a few of such time slots in your day, even if you don’t have a schedule.
Use a habit tracker
Another way to skip this scheduling thing altogether is to create a habit tracker and use this as a tool to get stuff done.
(by the way, there are some great benefits of using a habit tracker in your life so consider using it anyway)
If your tasks are roughly the same (and I believe they are, as for most of us) you can add them to your habit tracker and tick them off once done, whenever they’re done.
It’s obvious you don’t need to have a schedule to do so.
Whenever you find an appropriate moment for a certain task, go for it and – voila!
A job done!
You can even go to the extreme and use a habit tracker instead of a planner.
(don’t believe it’s possible? I have a post where I explain it)
These are some tips on how you can successfully accomplish your tasks even if you don’t have a schedule.
On the other hand, if you’d like to structure your days and give scheduling a try, here’s a beginner’s guide to creating a schedule.
Whatever you do, make sure to find the time for self-care and enjoy the little things in life as well.