Scheduling, it's not a hot topic for most people, but I love it.
Because I think it's fundamental to creating a meaningful life.
Too often I hear from my clients, that they are constantly putting out fires, always responding to other peoples calls, emails and demands and not getting the time they need to tackle the things that matter to them.
The truth is; however, we are ultimately in control of our time and how we use it. And the way to establish and maintain that control is through scheduling.
Scheduling is the process of blocking out time in your calendars to get things done. Or how I like to put it, making an appointment with yourself.
Mastering the art of scheduling can have many benefits; here are some of them.
1. Scheduling Can Make You More Productive
Without a schedule, many people can start their day aimlessly wandering around thinking about what they should be doing. They may have a list of things they need to work on but are not sure where to start and what they should be doing in the present moment. Often this makes people vulnerable to distractions such as calls, emails and meetings and the things that need to get done, don't.
Through scheduling, you will no longer wake up not knowing what you should be doing or working on. Your schedule will guide you through the day and keep you on track. Scheduling will ensure that you are doing what you set out to do each day.
Also, scheduling plays a vital role in establishing routines, which you will eventually do automatically. For example, my morning routine involves getting up, doing some yoga stretches and either spending about an hour reading or writing. I do all of this before breakfast, and it has become an automatic process that I do most mornings, and it is something I enjoy.
Scheduling ensures you become more productive as items you need to get done have allocated times in your calendar for you to work on them.
2. Scheduling Helps to Create a Life You Value by Moving You Towards Your Goals
Most people can identify what their values and goals are and will often write a list of the things they want to achieve in life. Sadly, many people don't meet these goals, and it's not because these goals aren't within their reach; instead, it's because they haven't allocated time to work on them.
Scheduling allows you to work steadily towards your goals by making time to work on them each day. Without allocating time to your meaningful pursuits, you will most likely spend all your time completing busywork and not making time for your goals.
For example, if you have a goal to run a marathon, that is great however it's not until you schedule in time each day to run, that you will become a better runner and achieve your goal of running a marathon.
I know what you must be thinking?
Who is going to do the busywork?
Yes, unless you can delegate or outsource the busywork, we all need to make time to tackle mundane tasks, such as cleaning, responding to email etc.
However, the key is about being proactive rather than reactive as to when you tackle the mundane tasks.
Essentially, it would be best if you made time to tackle both the mundane tasks as well as your more meaningful tasks. For example, rather than replying to each email that instantly hits your inbox, you could schedule in 45 minutes in the morning, and afternoon to respond to emails and the rest of the time could be devoted to meaningful work.
Scheduling is a tool that enables you to see where you are spending your time, thereby empowering you to make time to work on your essential goals.
3. Scheduling Can Stop You from Running Late and Missing Deadlines
Are you someone who is always running late or missing deadlines. One of the reasons this happens is we can often underestimate how long tasks take to complete.
With ongoing scheduling, you will start to get a more accurate picture of how long tasks take to complete. For example, you may think that getting ready in the morning will only take you 30 minutes, but in reality, it may take you 45 minutes or completing a report may take 2-hours to write but instead, it takes 3-hours.
Through scheduling, you will have greater insight into how, long tasks take you to complete, and this will enable you to set more realistic deadlines and timeframes and plan your day accordingly. Hence, this becomes important, especially if you have clients, team members, family or friends who are relying on you to complete specific tasks by a certain date or be somewhere by a particular time.
4. It Reduces Stress and Can Be Good for Your Wellbeing
Let's face it, life is always going to have an endless list of to-dos, and that can be stressful and overwhelming.
Scheduling will force you to look at your list and, identify what is essential right now and make time in your calendar to get it done. Hence scheduling gives you more control over your life, which improves your wellbeing.
Also, when you have all that stuff, you need to do just spinning around in your head that can become stressful and overwhelming. And there is always a fear that you may miss and forget something. But the action of allocating time in your calendar to do you to-dos means they are no longer in your head and you no longer need to worry about forgetting something. As a result, you will feel calmer to know that time has been allocated to the things that need to get done. Thus, you will feel less rushed and more in control of your life.
I know for me when I schedule my week not only does it give me a sense of control but also a sense of calm, as I don't need to think about the things I need to do constantly as it's all in my schedule.
Also, when you schedule and spend time each day working on the things you set out to work on this can give you a great sense of accomplishment which in turn has a positive benefit on your health and wellbeing.
At first, the concept of doing a schedule may seem a little tedious; however, once you develop the habit of doing it, it will ultimately deliver more significant benefits than not doing it at all. As bank accounts help you to manage your money, scheduling helps you to manage your time by giving you control on how you spend it.
If you want to learn more about how to schedule then read my blog How to Turn Your To-do List into a Done List
Creating Positive Spaces
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Cover Photo by Savannah Wakefield on Unsplash