We all know the benefits of keeping a schedule. It helps us meet deadlines. It’s easier to remember appointments. And we make the most of our time each day. In short, when we keep a schedule we’re more productive and organized.
And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that?
While we recognize the benefits of keeping a schedule, however, actually following through can be a challenge. Events come up. Deadlines change. And as creatures of habit, we sometimes struggle to “roll with the punches” when things don’t go according to plan.
Let me ask you, has something like this ever come out of your mouth?
“My meeting was bumped an hour earlier; now there’s no way I can get that report done on time.” Or “Matthew’s lacrosse practice was canceled, so I can’t write that blog post anymore.”
Yep, me too.🙋
In fact, I’m willing to bet that we’ve all been there. We have every intention of sticking with our brilliantly planned schedule for the day, but for one reason or other, things fall apart.
So frustrating, right?
Well, don’t worry, because today I’m here to share with you five simple strategies to create and keep a schedule with ease.
Let’s do this!
How to Keep a Schedule with 5 Easy Tips
Make a To-Do List
I love to-do lists; as I’ve mentioned in the past, there are times when I have to-do lists for my to-do list. 😂
But in all seriousness, I find to-do lists incredibly beneficial if you want to keep a schedule because they highlight everything that’s happening throughout the day.
So as you sit down to make your list, write down everything that you need to accomplish, as well as a list of relaxing activities that you would like to do (remember, self-care every day!)
Once you’ve made that list, then decide how much time you need to complete each activity: 2 hours for writing your report, 30 minutes for answering emails, 60 minutes to walk your dog etc. Use this information to map out your day with time-blocking. Remember, schedule high-priority activities first and work in everything else around them.
(Want to learn more about time blocking? You got it! Check out my post The #1 Strategy for Time Management: Time Blocking here!)Schedule high-priority activities first and work in everything else around them. #ToDoList #CrushingIt #Productivity Click To Tweet
Use a Planner
Now that you have your list for the day, it’s time to record these tasks into one organizational tool. It is completely up to you whether you use an app on your phone or a paper planner; I use my bullet journal for everything.
The key takeaway is to use the same tool for everything.
This ensures that all of your meetings, appointments, and tasks are stored in the same place, which helps prevent double booking or overcommitting yourself. And as an added benefit, keeping everything in one place helps relieve some of the stress that comes with busy schedules. (Yes, please!)
I can’t stress this third tip enough: don’t make a schedule that you can’t keep.
Why, you ask? Because doing so creates both additional stress and a feeling of failure at the end of the day when you don’t get “enough” done.
So as you map out your schedule for the day, give yourself plenty of time in between activities, especially if you have to travel from one appointment to another.
Perhaps even more importantly, make sure you allow yourself breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge. If you create a jam-packed schedule that leaves you feeling exhausted, this not only tires you out but can quickly lead to burnout. And believe me, this is not a place you want to be.
Keep At It
Like any good habit, you have to practice consistency to make it stick. If you want to keep a schedule, you have to work at it. It’s as simple as that.
Yes, it may feel overwhelming at first. But I promise you; the scheduling process gets easier each time you do it. Persistence is key!
Expect the Unexpected with 60 Extra Minutes
As I mentioned above, more often than we’d like, things don’t go quite according to plan. If this happens to you, first remind yourself that it’s completely normal. Then, push away that familiar feeling of stress that’s probably trying creep in. It will only distract you.
Remember, this is the reason why we were realistic with our schedule and built in transition-time between activities. So if your meeting runs long or you’re stuck in traffic, breathe easy; you have that “wiggle room” to stay on track.
Additionally, I like to leave the last hour of my workday “empty.”
Because something inevitably comes up on most days, that additional hour gives me the extra time I need to get things done. And if I miraculously don’t need it, that means I have one more hour of “me time” at the end of the day, which I’ll never turn down. 😉
And there you have it, friends! 5 fail-proof tips to keep a schedule. Are you ready to give them a try? Great! Then be sure to download this free time-blocking workbook to keep yourself on track all week long. You can snag it here!
Do you ever over-plan your schedule? What are your strategies to keep a schedule? Are you a fan of time-blocking? Let me know below!