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Unfortunately, scheduling isn’t always so easy. When life gets hectic, managing a reasonable and productive schedule at work can be a challenge. Often goals and plans fall through the cracks. However, by setting up a calendar and knowing how to effectively schedule, you can meet your deadlines, make sure you aren’t missing out on any office fun, and stick to your goals.
Set Up Your Schedule
A schedule can only be effective if you use a calendar format that best fits your lifestyle. Planning a schedule with a pen and paper can be just as effective as using applications and software such as Google Calendar. If technology distracts you easily, stick with using the old-fashion paper calendar.
If paper works best for you, it is important to choose a planner that provides a level of detail that will help you succeed in the workplace. Some planners identify time frames, such as mornings, afternoons, and nights, whereas other planners allow you to schedule by the hour. If you need more structure, purchase a planner that allows you to schedule by the hour.
Create your schedule at least the night before. Doing this will give you time to organize your thoughts so you can hit the ground running when you get to work.
Start off your day by responding to all priority emails, then prepare yourself to be productive by filling in your calendar for new meeting times and events.
Once you are settled in at the office, organize your activities and tasks by location and importance. Setting up your to do list by prioritizing the rest of your duties for the day will help you easily move through your assignments without getting distracted by other less important tasks. For example, if you have a meeting this afternoon, then you should focus your energy on completing all the responsibilities related to the meeting’s agenda and then focus on completing other tasks.
Are you a morning person, or are you most efficient mid-afternoon, or do you feel your best at night? People experience their highest energy at different times throughout the day. Try to arrange your activities to when you are the most productive.
Throughout the process of making a schedule, you must be realistic. We like to think we can do more than we actually can accomplish. Schedule activities using large blocks of time to avoid underestimating the amount of time it takes to complete a task.
Schedule Time for You
Although it is important to work hard and excel in the workplace, working long hours without a rest will take a toll on your productivity. Schedule time to relax and recover after a draining task or event. Your health and mentality shouldn’t take the back seat!
Sadly, things come up and it’s difficult to predict the length of each task. Allow for extra time in your schedule for unexpected challenges with an employee or emergency meetings. Also, leave wiggle room in your schedule to avoid unfinished projects or lingering incomplete tasks. Understanding how to manage and adapt the uses of your time will help you avoid being overwhelmed or overcommitted. When planning times for meetings, understand that your colleagues have a lot to do as well; therefore, clear communication and flexibility are keys.
Take the time to plan your workday. Your company will be impressed by your productivity and you will reap the rewards.
Effective calendars are the gateway to productive days. If created strategically, schedules can increase productivity significantly. By scheduling in advance, you have the opportunity to step back and manage your time. The perfect schedule will encourage a balanced lifestyle—you’ll thrive socially and professionally. So get to it! Prepare yourself for success and accomplish your goals. Good luck!