Planning your day in advance is crucial. Not only it helps you easily complete high-priority projects and goals, but it also spares you a lot of time that you can spend with your family and loved ones.
Effective scheduling is more than just filling your days with important tasks. You also need to consider how your physical and mental factors influence your productivity at work while planning and scheduling tasks.
Why Scheduling Tasks Is Important
Scheduling is the art of planning your tasks beforehand so you can accomplish your goals in time. When done precisely, it can help you in many ways such as:
- Understand what can be accomplished in a given time frame
- Prepares you for unexpected problems and urgent last-minute tasks
- Easier to determine how close you are to your goals
- Allows you to identify both urgent and important tasks
- Allows you to spare enough time for friends, family, hobbies, and personal goals
- Helps obtain a good work-life balance
Tips to Schedule Your Tasks
1 – Leverage Your Body’s Peak Performance Times
One of the best ways to boost productivity and accomplish important tasks is to plan your schedule around your biological clock. This means that if you feel more energized in the morning and exhausted by the evening, you must do your most critical work in the early hours of the day. Source
Even Jeff Bezos avoids any major meeting post-lunch. In a recent interview with the Economics Club of Washington, D.C., Jeff said “Anything that’s going to be really mentally challenging–that’s a 10 o’clock meeting. Because by 5 p.m., I’m like, ‘I can’t think about that today.”
In order to leverage your body’s peak performance to accomplish your most important work, identify the projects and meetings that are crucial for you at the start of every week and schedule times in the morning to complete those projects.
2 – Time-Block Similar Tasks
If you’re just like me then you spend most of your time replying to emails, attending meetings, complete miscellaneous requests, etc. Every time you switch between tasks it takes almost 23 minutes for your brain to refocus, which means you lose 20-80% of your productive time.
Therefore, it is important to time-block your schedule with similar tasks. It not only maximizes your ability to focus but also helps you perform each task efficiently.
Here’s an example of a time-blocked schedule for a top business executive
- 9:00 to 11:00 AM – Answering emails & attending phone calls
- 11:00 AM to 12:45 PM – Conducting meetings (either in person or via conference calls)
- 12:45 to 1:30 – Lunch with an external business partner
- 1:30 to 3:00 – Analysing problems in the business and finding solutions to it or building new strategies to build more revenue
- 3:00 to 4:30 – Networking and connecting with other business and industry leaders
- 4:30 to 5:30 (or until signing off for the day): Email follow-ups
Time-blocking may be challenging and time-taking (at least for the first few days) but is totally worth it, which takes us to the next point i.e. using scheduling tools.
3 – Use Scheduling Tools To Your Advantage
A scheduling tool will help you schedule your time and group similar tasks in an efficient way. You can use Google Calendar to book appointment slots by booking a chunk of time and then dividing it into pieces. However, it comes with its own limitations.
Using an online schedule maker can make your life easier by allowing you to keep track of all the tasks (both important and causal). It will not only offer you a productivity-driven calendar but it will also prevent you from slowing down and getting distracted. Here are some of the best online schedule maker tools for 2020.
Before you choose a scheduling tool, make sure you use a free version of it to understand if it is worth investing or not. Additionally, keep an eye on customizable scheduling tool that enables you to adapt it to your processes and not the other way around.
4 – Create a Morning and Evening Routine
As mentioned above, assigning your most critical work in the early hours of the day is important. Similarly dividing your daily routine (both professional and personal) into morning and evening could help you add structure and consistency to your schedule.
A morning routine helps you complete the important tasks while evening tasks help you end your day in a positive note.
Here are a few activities that you can include in your morning and/or evening routine.
- Exercise: Exercise helps you stay fit and enhances your mood, allowing you to focus on your work in a better way.
- Time with your loved ones: I don’t need to tell you how important it is to spend time with your loved ones. If you stay away from your loved ones, a short video call could do the trick.
- Meditation: Meditation helps you reduce stress and just like exercise it improves your mood and focus.
- Personal hobbies: Engaging in fun, non-work related activities can eliminate work-related stress so you can be more productive in the office.
5 – Say No to Requests That Affect Your Schedule
Last but not least, you must learn to say “No” to requests that affect your schedule and doesn’t contribute towards your goals or values. The more difficulty you have saying “No”, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and depression.
Constantly accommodating other people’s requests can make it impossible for you to manage your schedule effectively. If you fear it might damage your professional relationships, try declining the requests politely. Source
It is important to schedule your time in a way that it helps you achieve your professional and personal goals. Performing crucial tasks at your body’s peak time and time-blocking similar tasks can help you achieve your professional goals efficiently.
At the same time, creating a morning and evening routine can help you accomplish your personal goals and keep you boosted for the rest of the day. Saying no to things that hamper your schedule is the key to managing your time efficiently.