During the development of Sorted³, we’ve had the chance to talk with a lot of people regarding the practice of scheduling.
What we’ve found is that some initially have concerns that scheduling will be stressful. Life will be all work and no play.
However, that doesn’t have to be the case, because scheduling isn’t just about filling up your life with work.
It’s about allotting time for the things that are important to you.
When done right, it helps protect time for work, relaxation, learning, hobbies, friends, and family in proper measure.
So here are a few things to keep in mind when scheduling your day.
1. What’s important to you?
As discussed previously, President Eisenhower’s approach to time management made a distinction between important versus urgent tasks.
Eisenhower identified that important tasks should be prioritized, as they are usually associated with achieving your own goals.
But what is your definition of important?
It’s easy to fall into the trap and think that important tasks must only be work related.
By doing so, you prioritize work above all else and you will end up scheduling accordingly…and therein lies the problem.
While work might be important, it’s not necessarily the only thing we should define as such. Our families, self-development, and well-being can be just as important if not more so.
It’s something that productivity master Dr. Stephen R. Covey was very aware of. He described these things as the “big rocks of life”, noting that all of them need to be factored into our schedule.
So ask yourself once in a while. What is important to you? If family, rest and learning is part of your answer, then make sure to account for them in your schedule.
2. Avoid over-scheduling
When you first start out with scheduling, it’s tempting to try to fill in every last minute with something to do.
However, doing so can actually be counterproductive. When we over-pack ourselves, unnecessary stress and anxiety go up, and we lose the ability to breathe, think and do our best work.
So how much is too much?
That will be different for each person and may take some trial and error to work out what your own limits are.
As a rule of thumb, we recommend going with your gut. If you look at your schedule and feel it might be too aggressive, then cut out the less important stuff and lighten the load.
Don’t be afraid to start off scheduling lightly and add breathing room between tasks and events.
Remember, you can always add more stuff later on if you are ahead of schedule.
On the topic of breathing room. It’s a driving principle behind the famous Pomodoro technique.
Developed by Italian entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo (and named after the tomato-shaped timer he used as a student), Pomodoro breaks down big tasks into short, timed intervals bookended by short breaks.
The short sprints of work keep you focused and productive, while the regular breaks keep you motivated, refreshed and creative.
You can specify a buffer between tasks and events when using Auto Schedule to add these short breaks between tasks and events.
- Trim your schedule until it’s not overwhelming by dropping less important tasks.
- Schedule in buffer time between tasks and events.
3. Listen to your body
It’s important to remember we are not robots and even a car engine needs to be taken in for a tune-up once in a while.
So listen to your body. If you feel tired, overwhelmed or generally not at the top of your game, don’t be afraid to take a break if at all possible. Sometimes taking a step back works wonders.
Fortunately, Sorted³ can help by allowing you to quickly visualize if a break is possible, and how long you can give yourself a break for.
Use Magic Select and Time Ruler to shift your entire schedule quickly when you need a break.
By visually updating your schedule to make room for this break, you mentally confirm with yourself that you are not missing anything. Which ultimately means you can totally switch off to focus on recharging your batteries.
Is scheduling stressful? Not if you keep a few things in mind. In fact, it’s a great way to help you balance life. So, if you want to make time for the things that are important to you then make sure you account for them in your schedule.
Co-founder of Sorted. Digital Nomad. Travelling the world with the family. Lately, learning about photography.