Monday, January 24, 2011

Scheduling Your Life

Image copyrighted by JustJudyJudyJudy.comI like my life scheduled. There, I admitted that up front, so that when we get into the nitty-gritty of this post, you're not blindsided by this epiphany: Gosh, she's so Type-A.

Planner Image Copyrighted by FotoSearch.comI use this weekly paper scheduler and a print-out of my Excel file schedule to keep me on track with my goals and where I need to be. The book schedule has the outdoor commitments and the paper schedule is the day-to-day stuff that I must do in order to fulfill my career, family, health, volunteer, etc. goals. I use this planning journal to record what I've planned on a day-to-day basis and what I accomplished. Also noted are exceptions to the schedule and why.

Mother Daughter Studying a Calendar Image Copyrighted by FotoSearch.comMap a typical day in an Excel spreadsheet or on tabulated paper from the time you wake up to the time you fall asleep. See how current actions naturally work on some of the goals you've set up for the year. Then plan the remaining goals in the time left to ensure that your goals are being met on a regular basis.

 Image Copyrighted by FotoSearch.comIf you don't label your time to dedicated actions, then that piece of time is either attached to another task or frittered away. "It'll take you longer to use your time" (i.e., less efficient use of time) "if you have to decide what to do with it first," says aspiring writer Lacey Kaye.

Save-the-Date Image Copyrighted by Once you've done the thinking and the planning, then at the appointment time all you have to do is "just do it," as Nike would say. However, when doing the assigned task, focus only on that task; don't even think about anything else. "If you've come up with an efficient best process, then anything you do that's not that process is a waste of time," advises Lacey.

To-Do List Image Copyrighted by FotoSearch.comShe further says, "Working to a schedule helps so much with identifying the opportunity cost of missing a meeting." What that means is that if you miss a scheduled appointment, move on. In other words, don't rob Peter to pay Paul. Move the assigned task in the missed slot to next day's slot for the same task.

Author Erica Ridley says, "The most basic rule of thumb when keeping to a schedule is: There is no making up lost time."

My daily mantra is: Respect my schedule. Follow the plan.