Sane and Sensible Scheduling For Your Work Day – To What Are You (Overly) Committed?

Scheduling your day.If  you have any hope of sanely and sensibly scheduling your work day, you need to take stock of what is currently ‘on your plate.’  Here are some of the main categories to consider:

Appointments

In order to take stock of your appointments, you need to have all of your appointments out of your head and written down on a calendar. And you need to coordinate all the calendars you have so that you can actually see ALL of the appointments you have. Appointments are ‘fixed’ in time (and sometimes place). They are scheduled for a particular time slot.

Projects

David Allen is the guru of projects and encouraging people to get all of their projects out of their heads and onto paper (or electronic format). If you sat down and wrote down every single project – both at home and at work – and then began to list the parts, that is, tasks which will allow you to complete the projects, well…you’d probably just crawl in a closet and never come out again. But this is actually what you need to do (not the closet part, but the capturing of the projects and the tasks). Projects are what we do and if we aren’t figuring that these projects are ‘on our plate,’ then we are ignoring a huge segment of what is taking our time and energy.

Imagine that you went to a buffet and someone handed you a plate that was already 7/8ths full. Then, this person told you to go ahead and fill up your plate with whatever else you wanted. If you were smart, then you would only fill in with a few other small items because you’d know that your plate was already almost full.  Depending on your job and your life, you can pretty much figure that working on projects takes up 75 – 85% of your overall day.

Tasks

Make a list of all of your ‘to-do’s.’ You can do this before, during, and after you have captured all of your projects. Most of the tasks that you need to do are related to projects, but some are stand-alone. For example:

Tasks related to projects could be something like this:

  • Call Kelley from Simply Delegate to set up an appointment to review recent webpage updates.
  • Read doctoral student’s draft proposal by Thursday.

Tasks that are ‘stand-alone’, not tied specifically to a project, could be something like this:

  • Change drum in laser printer
  • Take the size 10 clothes from the back closet to Goodwill on way home from work one day this week.

All four of these tasks are ‘on your plate’, but they are not considered appointments because they don’t have to be done at a certain time.

Daily Maintenance/Hygiene

This is so routine that often people don’t think about the need to count this as what’s on their plate. Of course you’re going to shower, eat breakfast, clean up the kitchen, do your laundry, get groceries, go to the bathroom, and so on. But, if you don’t figure this into your overall daily plan and commitment of time, then you will be running behind on everything else. So, acknowledge that you spend between one and two hours EVERY DAY on maintenance and hygiene. And know that this time can go up, way up, depending on a number of factors, including, your standards, whether you are male or female, whether you have other people living in your house, etc.

Responsibilities

One of the responsibilities many people have is taking care of other people. This could mean taking care of children, teens, a spouse or life partner, parents, grandparents, or people you aren’t even related to, but yet you do something to care for them. If your situation has recently changed in terms of care giving, you need to acknowledge that this responsibility is now part of what is on your plate.  At work you may have to do performance reviews, which is a project, but the weight of it is the responsibility.

Think through the responsibilities that currently rest on your shoulders. How much of your plate do they cover? Are your responsibilities part of what is hanging off your plate, or piled on top of everything else?

Wishes

These can be trips you hope to take, books you want to write, people you want to spend time with, weight you want to lose, languages you want to learn, instruments you want to play, songs you want to sing, thoughts you want to entertain. These are the wishes of your life. Deciding that you can ignore them, push them away, or think that “maybe later I’ll get to these” is not using good sense. Think about having a place on your plate each day, each week, each month, and/or each year for your wishes.

Take some time to write down the things in your life that belong in the categories above. Be sure to consider both personal and professional items. Know that you will need to spend A LOT of time on this to help you sanely and sensibly schedule your ‘work’ day.

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And to help you manage your time and commitments, you will want to access the teleseminar, ATP: Available to Promise How much time & energy (truthfully) do you have ‘available to promise’?, available for immediate download.

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