Why, hey there, wonderful! 🙂
Looking for ideas and ways how to create a schedule?
Do I hear a “yes”?
Well, in that case, this post might be the perfect starting point for you.
(the part where you’ll implement the tips given here is all up to you then 😉 )
But first of all, why should you even try to schedule your time for days and days in advance?
Well, in short, making a schedule (and sticking to it!) can be a really wise thing to do and here are the reasons why I think it is so.
- It can help you use the day the most effective way
- It can synchronize the tasks and work with your energy level
- It simplifies planning and decision making
- It helps at creating habits
Those are just a few examples.
I’m sure you will find some other benefits as well after you develop your very own successful schedule.
Now it’s time to deal with the important – how to make a schedule that fits your needs.
Here it goes!
Scheduling tip #1 – start from fixed points in time
If you’re just beginning to create a schedule you might be clueless about how to structure your days.
A good starting point could be to look for the tasks which already have a fixed point in time and work from there.
Choose the tasks which repeat themselves on a daily basis.
Such as – the time when you wake up and go to bed, the time you have your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the time when you work.
These will serve you as a rough (yet very clear) guidance when your time is already taken, while the rest of “empty” space is left for scheduling any other smaller tasks you might have in your days.
Scheduling tip #2 – have an “ideal” day as a role model
When starting to create a schedule, a good idea is to write down your ideal day and use it as a role model.
Even if your current schedule looks nothing like the perfect one, you can tweak it little by little until you reach the desired plan of the day.
View it as a series of habits you should start practicing.
For example, you might want to start waking up earlier, eat meals at slightly different times, work longer (or shorter) at certain time blocks, create more (or less) mini-breaks, and so on.
Treat each of those activities as a habit you should develop.
Use a habit tracker to note and track the progress you make.
Start small, with one or two habits to work on at a single time, and move on to the next after it becomes a habit to you.
This way you won’t overwhelm yourself with too many (new) habits to focus on at once, and you can strengthen your routine before you continue to tweak it further.
Although this approach might take more time until you reach the perfect daily routine, it will help you to maintain that schedule in the future and make it a lasting one.
Scheduling tip #3 – add “buffer time”
Ever happened to you that you set aside a certain amount of time for some task, but it turns out you should have scheduled more?
(can’t be only me?!)
Therefore, when creating a schedule don’t forget to add some buffer time between the scheduled tasks.
Think 10 minutes will do?
Add even more time on top of it.
(in case you might need it, as it often happens…)
After that, forget it exists.
Just to make sure you don’t psychologically view the time you have for certain tasks as a summary of those two time blocks.
If you do, it will almost certainly lead you to be less productive because you have “so much time” at your disposal and there is no need to work as fast and effective as you could.
As a result, you probably won’t get the work done on time, even when you count that extra time as well.
And what’s the point of making a schedule if your time blocks and deadlines can easily be disturbed?
Scheduling tip #4 – use productivity methods
When creating a schedule it’s useful to use different productivity methods which can help you organize your tasks better or maximize the effectiveness of your work.
One very obvious productivity method which fits scheduling like a glove is time blocking.
In case there’s a need to explain what time blocking is, here’s in short.
You simply dedicate a certain amount of time in a day to focus on a certain task. Whether it’s an hour, two, three, or only 15 minutes – it’s all up to you, your needs, and the complexity of your task.
This method is also perfect for planning out your days as well since you can use it to structure your day the most optimal and productive way.
Now let’s be honest.
In the beginning, you’ll probably won’t complete the tasks in a dedicated timeframe, but in time you’ll get the hang of it and eventually, your time blocks will be spent as planned.
Another productivity method worth considering is batching.
It’s a method where you group and work on similar tasks at once.
You can decide which day of the week will be reserved for a batch of certain tasks and continue to repeat the same pattern on a weekly basis.
Because you don’t shift your focus several times in a day or do similar tasks in a longer timespan, by scheduling several tasks in one place and completing them – you’re done with them – all at once.
Also, you can use the Pomodoro technique when creating a schedule.
(you can read more about it and get some additional useful information in a separate post)
If you discover this productivity method works well for you, you can easily schedule your tasks according to it.
Scheduling tip #5 – have a backup plan
Most of the time you’ll get everything done according to a schedule.
However, there will be moments when something unexpected will occur which will disrupt your plans.
When such time comes – and you can be sure it will- you can either admit defeat and call the day or you can decide to make the most of it despite the situation.
(and I believe you’re not a quitter! 😉 )
Therefore, at those moments it’s good to have a backup plan.
Depending on what caused this disturbance and how big an impact it has on your day, your schedule will, more or less, slip out of its track.
At those moments the best you can do is to rearrange your schedule and adapt to these changes.
Have a few backup options in situations like these.
The best thing is to pick some smaller (yet still needed) task to work on instead of the one which was planned.
It could be a smaller part of the project you’re working on, going grocery shopping, or doing some other household task is still an effective way to use those days the best way possible.
The bottom line – being open-minded and flexible about your schedule is the key to get through in situations like these.
Scheduling tip #6 – don’t forget the importance of self-care
Another thing worth mentioning.
Don’t forget to make room in your schedule for some self-care as well.
It doesn’t have to take long, yet you’ll benefit from it very much.
Try to schedule half an hour a day for this activity – or even more if you can pull it off.
Choose the time which feels the best for you.
Maybe you prefer to have some time to yourself in the morning, right after you wake up, or at the end of the day when all the rush and chaos comes to an end.
Afternoons might also be a good time to add some self-care to your day since these activities can lower the stress and give you additional energy to successfully end the day.
But maybe your schedule is really booked full and if you can’t set aside some large chunk of time for a certain self-care activity.
If that’s the case – have no worries.
You don’t have to sacrifice self-care in favor of all the other tasks.
Some simple and effective self-care ideas which can take only 5 minutes of your time can also work quite well.
Scheduling tip #7 – track your success
In the beginning, it’s easy to get disappointed or discouraged when you don’t manage to accomplish everything according to a schedule.
As said before, starting small – but consistent – and gradually work your way up will help you develop a routine.
To feel positive throughout this process, take advantage of this little tip – track the progress and your success along the way.
Now, you might ask why should you additionally spend your time on this activity when you already have a lot of things to deal with?
Well, it’s good to note and track your achievements in a written manner. That way you can clearly see in black & white how well you’re doing day after day.
(and I’ll address some other time the many benefits of writing things down on paper)
However, I believe you’ll continue to use it in the future as well – you’ll see how happy and proud you’ll feel when you take a look at what you’ve written there.
Positive emotions guaranteed! 🙂
Scheduling tip #8 – test and try out
As you’re probably aware of, creating a schedule does take some time to test and try out to see what works best for your lifestyle.
Therefore, the final tip is to explore different ways how you can structure your schedule and have the patience until you develop a successful routine.
Hope these tips will inspire and help you to create your winning schedule.
If you have some tips as well, feel free to share them.