Whether you’re a business owner or a freelancer, money is probably on your mind more than anything else. While we can all agree that money is great, time is the one thing that will always be more valuable.
But even though time is something that money can’t buy, most of us still find ourselves wasting it.
We’re all given 24 hours to work with each day and the goal is to make the most out of them so we can become productive and live happier lives.
This is why making a schedule is essential especially for busy individuals who struggle to manage their time between work and family.
While there are countless ways to craft a schedule, it’s how to make a schedule that works for us that counts the most because the reality is, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to scheduling.
To harness its benefits, you need to find a scheduling technique that fits both your line of work and your personality.
Though some people may argue that they can work without a schedule in place, having one can definitely make things a lot better. Below are some of the benefits you can get from having a schedule.
There’s no question that productivity is one of the biggest perks you’re bound to get from having a schedule, especially when you have a truckload of responsibilities to take care of.
This is because a schedule adds structure to your day. It makes things more organized and allows you to get more things done.
A schedule is comparable to an itinerary when you’re out on vacation. When you have a list of places to visit, you’re more likely to get to visit all of them, right?
It’s because you know where to go which means you’ll probably spend less time looking or asking for directions.
Things can get overwhelming real quick when you have a pile of work in front of you. It’s daunting and stressful just thinking about how you’d get through the day.
When you follow a schedule, things become more organized. What was initially daunting now looks doable because there’s structure. Just stick to that schedule and you’ll knock those tasks out one by one.
Stress is something you don’t take lightly because it can lead to other health conditions. The less stressed you are, the healthier you become. The healthier you become, the happier you will be. That’s a win-win no matter how you look at it.
When you are productive, you get more things done.
You finish more blogs, you write out more codes, and breeze through the day until every item on your schedule is done.
This also leaves you some extra time for your family and yourself which is very important if you want to keep your sanity in check and your stress levels low.
As mentioned, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to schedules.
The nature of your work is a huge defining factor when it comes to choosing a schedule. What works for a freelance writer, for instance, may not necessarily work for social media managers or graphic designers, perhaps.
Personality can also become a factor, specifically when it comes to the kind of “worker” a person is. Some are more productive in the mornings. Others are more of night owls who effectively get things done in the evenings.
That being said, below are some of the schedule types you can choose from.
Simply put, the time blocking method is a type of schedule where you plan your day in advance, dedicating specific hours to complete certain tasks.
With this method, you need to have a good idea of which tasks you need to accomplish and at which times of the day. Once you’ve determined them, you plot them in your calendar then implement the said plan.
No, you don’t necessarily have to catch one and eat it. Eat the frog was a term coined by motivational speaker Brian Tracy which means getting that one daunting task out of your to-do list first before proceeding with your other responsibilities.
The rationale behind this method is that tasks we are likely to procrastinate on can keep us from accomplishing our other tasks. Instead of having it loom over us throughout the day, why not knock it off first thing in the morning (or evening depending on when you are most productive) so we can shift our focus on what’s left on our plates?
Instead of accomplishing the easier ones first, do it in reverse. Get the bigger, most daunting tasks out of the way first so you can have an easier time doing your remaining tasks.
The Pomodoro technique presents an unconventional way of scheduling activities.
With this method, you work on short yet more focused bursts, giving yourself quick breaks in between. It’s that simple.
A typical scenario would be to work on a task like editing videos, for example. You focus on editing and give it your full attention for 30 minutes then take a 5-minute break before going back.
Do the same three more times then take a longer break before the fifth session (around 15 to 30 minutes this time). Make sure to use a timer and stick to the plan.
Keep in mind that the entire 30 minutes of work time should be uninterrupted which means no social media or TV time while you’re at it. The only drawback to this method is if you work in an office because a coworker can always drop by for a chat and ruin the setup.
When you’re working on multiple projects, it’s important to get the right rhythm and flow so you can accomplish more which is why it makes sense to work on tasks of similar nature consecutively before switching to other tasks.
A typical example would be writing a blog post then writing a newsletter article after. They require similar skills and take on a similar mindset, making them ideal to belong in one batch.
The point of this type of schedule is to keep the same train of thought before switching to another task that would require a different mindset. Whether we like it or not, task switching can impact our productivity, and batching tasks is a good way of minimizing that impact.
Workflow is crucial to productivity which is why it’s important to understand how to make a schedule that fits you. Below are a couple of tips you can consider.
The time we spend at work depends on our goals and motivation.
If you’re gunning for a promotion, it will make sense to spend more time at work than you would at home. You’d probably go beyond your normal hours most of the time to show your hard work and dedication.
Some look for more balance which means spending just enough time for work so that they’d have extra time for personal stuff.
Though our jobs require more from us, certain tasks are considered urgent and important. Most of the time, these are the tasks we are assessed against.
Make sure to prioritize such tasks and get them done before anything else.
The idea of multi-tasking seems great because it makes us think that we are accomplishing more than we should but the truth is, it’s the exact opposite.
Sure, you can complete more tasks given a certain amount of time but can they be considered top-quality? Are they mistake and error-free?
Probably not because you can’t serve two masters at the same time. High-quality work requires focus and attention, something you are compromising when you multi-task.
The thought of sticking to a schedule is exciting but the reality is, things don’t always go as planned. Unexpected interruptions can always come up like emergency meetings, power failure, or connectivity issues.
This is why it’s essential to set aside time for such emergencies. You need to have a plan B just in case something unpredictable happens. You need to have a contingency plan so your schedule doesn’t get totally ruined.
No matter how sharp you think your memory is, you’re bound to overlook something that’s not written or without anyone reminding you.
This is where technology is most reliable. Apps like Google Calendar or Calendly can come in handy especially for someone who’s always on the go.
These apps can be installed on your mobile phones and can remind you about some of the important tasks you have on your calendar so you don’t miss out on deadlines.
Time is money and time wasted is money going down the drain and it doesn’t matter whether you are an individual or a business.
If you want to become more productive and efficient at what you do, you need to learn how to make a schedule that not only fits you but also helps you accomplish your goals.
If you don’t know where to begin, the recommendations mentioned should give you a head start and allow you to create a schedule that will keep you from wasting valuable time.
Now that you have some tips on how to make a great schedule, you may want to consider using these time management apps to take your organization to the next level.
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