Friday, August 28, 2015

The Power of Schedule

I've recently covered the powerful and life-enhancing strategies of accountability and routine- today I want to take a look at another productivity powerhouse I've only recently discovered. That is, the power of schedule.

As a stay-at-home-mom, I have no boss. No one tells me what to do or when to do it. I keep a running task list of course, but when the day looms large ahead of me it is easy to putz around for much longer than I'd like. Without accountability or deadlines, I waste way too much time.

I know what needs to be done, but when and how to go about doing it?


Revolutionary idea: make a schedule!

Of course, there are some unalterable activities that happen at the same time each day- meals, naps, and bedtime. But for me, every day brings variety- pre-scheduled events that I didn't set the time for {doctors appointments, story hours, etc.} and random tasks make it impossible to set a timed schedule that can apply Monday-Friday, every week.

So most nights {for the last couple of weeks} I'm attempting to sit down and think through the day ahead. On the left hand side of my notebook I write the hours of the day I plan to be awake {6 a.m.-10 p.m, as a rule} in one hour blocks.

Then I take my calendar and to do list and schedule each item into the empty time slots. Instead of vaguely realizing I need to call the vacuum company about a broken part I need replaced, I know that I will be calling them at 9:30 sharp. Then I will make a few more important phone calls, and wrap them up to start my list of housework at 10. Or whatever. If it needs to happen, it is assigned a specific time.

No day works out perfectly, but when I know that as soon as I get dressed I'm supposed to start on a particular project, I get to work immediately with a lot less putzing- checking my phone, getting distracted by something shiny, biting my lip and trying to decide what To Do I'm going to tackle first.

If I get out of bed late, I just ignore the times {except for set in stone appointments} and start at the top of the list, working my way down.

Scheduling is also helping me to cut out procrastination. Some tasks are a lot less pleasant than others- I schedule them first thing, and just dive in at their scheduled time, without thinking about how unpleasant they are. It feels so good to check those nagging tasks off!

Oftentimes tasks take a lot less time than I allow for them in the schedule- this is a beautiful thing! It gives me more down time with the kids and allows me to accomplish even more than I'd hoped in the day. So much better than dawdling around and wondering where my day went.

A schedule is a sort of commitment, and I am more likely to follow through on something when I am committed.

What do you think- could a schedule work for you? Or have you already been employing this fantastic tool for awhile? I'd love to hear about your results!

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