The benefits of calendaring and time management
By Anne Bachrach
The Accountability Coach
Take calendaring to the next level and achieve more of your goals sooner than you thought possible.
Everybody knows what a calendar is. This mountable document serves as a means to identify days, whether to record an event that has already happened or agree to set the date of a future event. Whether you own an electronic calendar or a paper calendar, you may prefer to mark certain dates down, whether for celebratory reasons (such as a religious or social holiday) or to remind you of all appointments and activities that need to be completed. Calendars are often used to help people manage both their personal and professional schedules. This is particularly true of self-employed workers or self-starters. They have a special need to effectively use calendaring, since they probably do not follow any set schedule created by someone else. People may also calendar events for their personal lives, especially if they have children, frequent visitors and lots of friends.
Time blocking is similar to calendaring and involves the breakdown of days by the hour, half hour, or even in 15-minute increments. Some people need this form of scheduling in order to get anything productive done. Other people may be constrained by time, especially if they are busy for most hours of the day and find that they have to prioritize their agenda.
There are many software programs available and users may use multiple systems to manage their time, including business and family calendars. These protect against over-committing one's time. If you are like me, you feel like you can get more done than you actually can, so you set your day up for possible failure and disappointment when you consistently don’t achieve all the things you plan. I wish I was faster, better and quicker at activities, but the reality is that I’m not, so I have to adjust. If you are like me, consider adding a little additional time to some of your activities to help ensure you have enough time to get them done. You will feel much better making progress and having the gift of time if you get something done faster than expected. Set yourself up for success and not disappointment.
There can be distinct advantages in switching over to a calendar and time blocking system, especially compared to doing things the old fashioned way. When you have no set time to get started with work, you may have the tendency to procrastinate or to be easily distracted by other interests. You may feel like you were busy and got things done, but you don’t have specifics on what you achieved and where it is leading you. This may hinder productivity or even lessen the quality of your work. Little wonder then that major corporations make sure that their staff stays busy! If nobody cares about the work then it will show in the final product and service. The benefits of scheduling time
What are the benefits of scheduling time with calendaring and time blocking? The first advantage is predictability. Predictability allows you to have more freedom to plan other non-professional projects as well as your finances, provided you can figure out how much money is possible with your current schedule. Leaving your schedule up to chance doesn’t allow you to plan for anything. Not only does sticking to a schedule improve your own working environment, it can also help others that are depending on your timeliness. For example, a contractor who finishes a job in record time pleases his client, gets referrals and more work. This is all the more necessary if you are a self-employed worker that must meet deadlines.
Sticking to calendaring and time blocking also makes better use of your resources. If your typical day’s work requires expenses, it will be more difficult to plan a budget or trace profit without a sure schedule. Sticking to a schedule can increase the total amount of your output, which in turn increases your profit. When you adhere to the schedule, you become more efficient at your work and may even finish sooner than you anticipated.
Now that you understand the benefits of making a schedule, how do you go about making one? For starters, you want to schedule your personal and professional activities in the same way. Your calendar has seven days in the week, so use all seven days. As you probably know, there is never enough time to do everything you want. Thus, try and schedule time not only for your obligations, but also for the things that you love.
Start by organizing according to half hours. Assume that you will be awake for at least 15 or 16 hours a day. The human body requires at least eight hours of sleep, so take all eight hours. Getting enough sleep helps you be more effective. Before planning a schedule, determine all of your needs, including every last detail that would otherwise be assumed. This may include eating, showering, loading dishwashers, travel time and spending time with a spouse and children.
Be sure to prioritize all of these items, putting the most important ones at the most convenient hours. If you have a lot of work to take care of, then it’s best to finish these as early as possible, so that you’re not losing focus by the night’s end after a relaxing meal.
Also, prioritize any activities that you know have a fixed time, such as a doctor’s appointment or a bus stop. Remember to be generous with yourself, especially if this is the first time you are attempting a schedule. Don’t schedule too much work for yourself without a break, particularly if you use the computer for hours on end.
Scheduling your life with calendars or time blocking is just one aspect of making positive changes. Experience the powerful benefit of effective calendaring and time blocking in your life. Enjoy how much more you get done and how much better that makes you feel. Take calendaring to the next level and achieve more of your goals sooner than you thought possible.