Scheduling in Time Management


If you are someone who feels that schedules are restrictive, then you haven’t yet learned the power that they can provide. We live in a world where there is always something jockeying for our attention and our time. For you to be able to fit in the things that are important to your job and to you, a schedule is a vital tool. It allows you to block out segments of time and assign them to a specific activity. At work, a schedule offers additional benefits because it allows you to:

• Ensure you've allotted time for all of your necessary tasks and functions
• Cut off unproductive interruptions by referring to it
• Limit meetings to their scheduled time rather than letting them go on until people feel like leaving
• Demonstrate that your plate is full if the boss inquires whether you have time to take on additional work
• Allot time for yourself for breaks
• Identify whether or not a goal is SMART

Scheduling is actually a form of organization. It can help you prevent any wasted time in exchange for making time for the things that are truly important. For example, how many times have you sat down in front of the computer intending to just read the day’s headlines, but the next thing you know you’ve been distracted for an hour? If you are intentional with your time scheduling, you can instead have a purpose for your time – a purpose that is important to you and to the organization.

The first step in scheduling is to start with a ‘master schedule.’ This is a listing of the days of the week and the hours available in that week, as well as the requirements that are fixed in your schedule. For example, if you know that payroll is due every Friday by noon, then you will have to block out time for completing the information Friday morning at the latest. Fill in all of the fixed tasks that you can identify. Add blocks of time for tasks that are required every day, such as reading and responding to email and checking voicemail. Be sure to schedule in your breaks as well.

What’s left is time that you can schedule in order to help you be as productive as possible. You should use your prioritized list of activities as a guide to fill in these hours. For example, you might decide that you are going to dedicate two hours on Monday to working on the sales presentation that you have to complete for next week. You then schedule two more hours on Wednesday for a review and editing session. Continue to fill in your days with different tasks assigned to their dedicated time slots. Be sure to leave some space open in order to handle the unexpected.

Once you’ve scheduled in time for the things that are important for you to complete, you need to treat those appointments with yourself and your work just as if they were a meeting or other required event. It can take practice to train yourself to do this – particularly if you have never worked to a schedule before. But when you schedule time for what is important and you stick to that schedule, you will find that you are more productive overall and less inclined to fall victim to procrastination.


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