Scheduling Options

Scheduling activities help you with your work, particularly if there are certain items that you never seem to find the time to do or items that you seem to put off doing time and again. But to be as effective a tool as possible, you should think about scheduling in short, medium, and long-term time frames.

Long Term Schedules

Most of us have goals that have been set for us for a period of time such as a quarter or a year. In order to achieve those goals, we need to manage time effectively. Besides using the skills already discussed in this course, a long-term schedule lets you plan for how you will reach these long-term goals.

You can start a long-term schedule with a master schedule that lists those fixed tasks that you identified in the previous section. Then you can fill in what you estimate to be the required time that will be required each week in order to complete a project on time. You don’t necessarily have to decide now that on the third Tuesday of next month you will make phone calls to 25 customers. But you should know what you need to achieve that week in order to meet that month’s goals, which will lead you to making that quarter’s goals and then your goals for the year.

Medium Term Schedules

In many cases, a weekly or monthly schedule will serve as a long enough time for a medium term schedule. It simply depends on what makes the most sense for your type of work. For example, if your work tends to cycle over a month-long period, then use a month as the basic length of time for your medium-term schedule. This becomes a snapshot of your activity for the month or week that you can use to help you reach those longer term scheduling goals. Again, be sure that you leave time for those unexpected tasks so that they don’t derail your planning when they occur. Don’t forget to schedule time to get your scheduling done for next month either.

Short Term Schedules

In most cases, a short-term schedule refers to a daily schedule. Your daily schedule not only helps you make sure that you are working on the most important things first, but it also serves as a record for what you have accomplished. Remember to be as specific as possible when you fill in your daily schedule so that it is perfectly clear whether or not you have achieved what you set out to do. If you still find that you are having time management issues, review your schedule and compare it to what you actually did during that day. You may be able to discover where the weaknesses remain in your time management skills.

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