Monday, 18 April 2016

How to Schedule like a Pro

This is an aspect of my life that I've always struggled with, and I've only recently started to sort it out.

Organisation! Scheduling! I've always shied away from them, because I was afraid, for some reason, that you cannot be really organised and free at the same time. I assumed that if you schedule  then life gets too stressful, because everything you do is on a time limit.

I was right in some respects. A lot of workaholics have these tight schedules for each day - wake up at seven, snooze for five minutes, write up that report at two o'clock till three oclock, get lunch from Tesco's (allow ten minutes to walk there and back). This is what I thought being organised was.
This is why my life until recently has been really improvised. I get away with a lot more than I should; I tend to leave things till the last minute. In fact, here's a crazy story:

I do classics at a level and had to give a full presentation about the story of the minotaur. As you can imagine, I left the whole thing until the morning I was due to give the presentation. I didn't even know what the story was.

I read it on my phone on the way to school, then once more under the desk in form time. Classics was the first lesson. I didn't even have a PowerPoint.

When I got into class it was time to present. I had to draw these funny little pictures on the whiteboard and pad the story out with a lot of 'filler' ( like describing the minotaur and talking about how scared everyone was).

Essentially, I actually managed to pull off a good presentation. And I thought that this was the best way to live; I thought that pulling a card out of my sleeve at the last minute every time, was the most effective way to live. I thought this up until about eleven last night!

Here's what I'm going to tell you.

You can organise, AND you can leave room for the thrill of winging it. You can make sure stuff gets done, AND you can pay your girlfriend a surprise visit on the way back from school, just because you felt like it.

You can schedule and be without time restrictions; you can maximise your time and still have it be yours. So here's the actual trick to this:

Many people allow their schedule to control what they do in the day. If they have arranged to read a book at six and put the washing on at seven, then they feel they have to stick to that.  The trick is in realising that you are the master of your own schedule, and you can change and adapt it on the fly.

Now that doesn't sound like such a big deal, but bear with me, there's more.

Here are the different kinds of scheduling:

Generation 1Going with the flow.To do lists and notes. Writing on your hand that you need to remember something. (This was me).

Generation 2: Planning in advance - 'take little Max to school', 'pick up groceries'. This is a little more responsible.

Generation 3: Prioritising activities. This is what most 'organized' people use. 'Taking little Max to school is most important, then I'll pick up the groceries in the time slot after I'm done.'

Generation 4: Here's the real and most effective method of organising! I'll reveal it to you now -

Do not plan for your day, plan for your week.

Do not build your schedule around urgent crises - delegate priorities that maintain all the key areas of your life.
Here's what I will begin doing, and what I recommend.

1. Write out a personal mission statement. This is going to focus on your goals in life, where you want to be, who you want to be, etc.

A short example: My name is Max. I want to be effective, kind, grounded, friendly, influential and passionate in my life.

2. Then you're going to write out all of the roles that you have in your life, and how those roles extend these values.

My example: As a son, I will be grateful and respectful to my parents. As a boyfriend, I will be strong and loving to my partner. As a student, I will be focused and passionate about my work.

3. Now take out your schedule of days of the week, and put your roles next to it. My roles would be student, son, boyfriend, individual, writer, guitarist, martial artist, brother, and so on.

From each of these roles, you get goals. What will you accomplish in these areas of your life in the next seven days?

Example: My goal as a guitarist is to get in at least ten hours of practice. Another goal is to finish learning that song.

4. Finally, slot these goals for your roles into the days of the week. They don't need specific times if you don't want; this is why gen.4 scheduling allows you your freedom.

Monday: An hours practice (guitarist)
Tuesday: Revise (student)
Wednesday: Spend some time with sis (brother), go to karate at seven (martial artist)
Thursday: Take bae out in the afternoon, get some quality time together (boyfriend)

And so on!

So, can you see that organising based on your roles lets you deal with what you need to, balance out all important areas of life, be true to yourself, and have plenty of free time?

Make sure that you slot in an activity for every role, and you will find yourself becoming increasingly happy and effective.

This is how a person schedules in order to maximise themself.

As ever, thanks for reading and hope you found it useful  :)

Like this article? Check out more 'basics' that you need to maximise yourself:

Becoming proactive

Working with failures and mistakes

Perks of being a humorous person

1 comment:

  1. With a new site on the way, here's my perspective in hindsight... There's no real obligation to schedule; I actually don't even bother and everything runs smoothly anyway. Good one for the people who love being organised though