The Importance of Scheduling Your Time

The idea of scheduling your time seems like a no-brainer doesn’t it?  Well, let’s see how the concept plays out as we review the below scenario.

You just got to work and you’re about to step out of the car.  Wait! Rewind! Let’s go back to yesterday evening…

As you were cleaning up after dinner, you created what you knew to be a perfect plan for your day tomorrow.  You’re going to get to the office at 7:30; 30 minutes earlier than usual.  You need the peace and quiet before people start coming in.  There are a few emails accumulating in your inbox that need your undivided attention.  Thirty minutes of uninterrupted time is all you need to get them sorted out.  By the time you finish the emails, your staff will be arriving to start their workday.  You like having time to do a quick stand-up with everyone in the morning, give them that pep talk and address any quick concerns.  You’ll do your 15 minutes with them and send them on their way.

While they’re performing their daily duties, you will have time to address the mounting paperwork on your desk.  You’ve got to get all the timesheets submitted – on time – so everyone can get paid!  Then there’s that order for supplies you’ve been meaning to submit for the longest while.  You have to send that off IMMEDIATELY or you won’t get the stuff back in time to replenish inventory which will not be good for production (and definitely not good for your stellar record).  And oh! You just remembered how you volunteered to lead the Green Team (out of body experience!) and you promised to make a short presentation to the management team at your next staff meeting, which is when? Yep.  Tomorrow afternoon.

Your boss wants to meet with you for your monthly one-on-one.  You guys have been flexible on the time and day, but she asked you to make it tomorrow since she’ll be going out of town on an emergency business trip and she scheduled vacation immediately following.  You’re pretty much ready for this meeting.  You just have to add this week’s numbers to update the report.  You really want to continue impressing her.  She’s talked about you to the company executives and you are on everybody’s radar as a high potential employee.  Don’t want to mess that up.

Oh, you almost forgot, your receptionist asked to take an early lunch so she can attend her son’s award ceremony at his school.  That’s a very big deal.  Showing you care is one of the ways your company demonstrates appreciation to employees.  The phones can’t go unanswered though, so you’ll have to make sure someone can swap lunch hours with her.  That’s not usually a problem.

Once you get through all these morning activities all you have left to do is get through your presentation and the staff meeting this afternoon, then you have to take off early to get across town to attend your little brother’s high school graduation.  Sounds like a packed day, but you can get it done.  Right?

…Well, that’s how you felt until you stepped out of your car this morning.  You barely had a chance to grab your laptop bag when your cell phone rings.  It’s your boss.  She’s going to be late this morning because she has a sick child at home.  The babysitter is on the way, so she will definitely be coming in, but she’ll be a good hour late.  She has a meeting scheduled with a client first thing this morning at 8:00.  She wants you to take care of the meeting for her.  It’s an account you’re familiar with and the agenda and notes are on her desk.  “You can handle it”, she says, “I trust you”.   And she also wants you to hold down the fort till she gets in.

Alright then… so much for your mental plan.  It sounded good in your mind, but now the reality is you’ve been hit by the proverbial ‘curve ball’ and you need to make some quick adjustments.

Considering you have a few items on your to-do-list that are time sensitive…

How might deliberately scheduling your time be an effective way to ensure that you do stay on top of things and not fly by the seat of your pants as much? 

What are some time scheduling techniques you’ve used in managing your workday?

Thanks for sharing your ideas!

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