I don’t just coach and train about effective scheduling –I live and breathe it.
As part of my daily schedule for the past couple of years, I spend the first two hours of my day on processing and planning. For me, that means going through this list each morning:
• Reviewing calendar
• Evaluating projects list
• Emptying two business e-mail inboxes
• Scanning personal e-mail
• Going through papers in the day’s file
• Answering voicemail
• Checking my Palm
• Posting a Schedule Makeover tip on Twitter
• Making a to do list, including number priority and time blocking
When I explain my morning routine, many people respond that they don’t see how I could “give up” that time. But last week, I once again saw the importance of sticking to a schedule that works for me!
It was my final week in Des Moines, Iowa, (a lovely city where I have lived for nine years) before my move to Ann Arbor, Michigan. I did my weekly planning on Monday, including proactively finishing assignments and scheduling the release of my newsletter. But because I wanted to say goodbye to as many people as possible, I ended up scheduling meetings during my typically sacred morning space from 8-10 a.m.
Wow! What a difference it made. Instead of feeling confident that I knew what communications had come my way and how I could most effectively use my workday, I felt:
• Nervous that I was forgetting something
• Guilty that I wasn’t responding to e-mail within 24 hours
• Uncertain of what projects to focus on first
• Fearful I would lose an important paper somewhere
Yuck! I did not like those feelings and they felt so foreign.
Because I’ve found and stuck with a schedule that makes me feel calm, collected, and organized, I hadn’t experienced them in such a long time.
If you’re struggling with the above negative feelings, I highly recommend you start to schedule processing and planning time into your daily routine. I complete mine during the first two hours of my day but here are some other techniques that work well for my Schedule Makeover clients:
• Thinking through the day on the train ride to work
• Spending 15 minutes before each block of work time setting priorities
• Doing a weekly review on Friday mornings to see what needs to be finished up and how to set priorities the following week
• Planning the next day during the last 30 minutes of their work day
It doesn’t matter when you plan and process, but it does matter that you complete this task so you know what’s on your plate and when you will complete what’s most important to you—from work projects to exercise. I’m happy to report that after getting back on schedule this week that I’m feeling much more calm and settling into Ann Arbor quite nicely.
To your work/life brilliance™!
If you need help setting up your ideal schedule, check out www.ScheduleMakeover.com or contact Elizabeth Grace Saunders at esaunders@RealLifeE.com
Elizabeth Grace Saunders is a time coach and trainer who empowers women in business to achieve work/life brilliance™ through her exclusive Schedule Makeover™ process. Inc magazine, NBC, and The Chicago Tribune are just a few of the places where Elizabeth has appeared, and she’s happy to be interviewed for your publication or broadcast.