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Scheduling Your Time More Effectively

What does your day look like? Are you able to get everything done that you want? Or are you sidetracked by distractions and derailed by interruptions? There are steps you can take to schedule your time more effectively — you just have to know the right time techniques.

Avoiding The Time Myths

Checkmark-Iconit’s not time management — it’s self management

Xmark-Iconyou can’t control time and you certainly can’t manage it

Checkmark-Iconyou get just as much time as anyone else

Xmark-Iconyou can only control yourself and what you do with that time

Checkmark-Iconit’s all about the daily choices you make

Keeping A Time Log

Xmark-Iconeach block of time represents an investment opportunity

Checkmark-Iconhow you invest your time determines your future return

Xmark-Iconnot every item on your schedule has to be done

Checkmark-Iconthe key to productivity is awareness of how you spend your time

Xmark-Iconwhat you do, how long it takes, and what benefit you get

Checkmark-Iconcreate a log tracking your activities for a week

Xmark-Iconevaluate the time investment versus payoff for each activity

Checkmark-Iconhow much benefit or enjoyment are you getting from each activity?

Xmark-Iconkeep high-payoff and enjoyable activities on your to-do list

Checkmark-Iconask yourself if low-payoff activities need to be done at all

Xmark-Iconif they do need to be done, do they have to be done by you?

Checkmark-Iconif they need to be done by you, could they be simplified?

Learning To Use A Calendar

Xmark-Iconcan choose a daily or weekly calendar for appointments

Checkmark-Icongive yourself at least one block per hour

Xmark-Iconeach block should be big enough to write in any daily appointments

Checkmark-Iconinclude all details — address, phone number, directions, etc.

Xmark-Iconuse the monthly or yearly pages for longer-term planning

Checkmark-Iconuse to plan ahead in larger blocks of time

Xmark-Iconbe sure to transfer appointments to weekly calendar each month

Checkmark-Iconkeep your calendar with you at all times

Plan And Schedule As Much As You Can

Xmark-Iconspend an hour Sunday evening planning the coming week

Checkmark-Icontransfer appointments from your monthly to weekly calendars

Xmark-Icondon’t just schedule work-related appointments

Checkmark-Iconschedule as many items in your life as possible — and reasonable

Xmark-Icontime with kids, exercise, spiritual practice, shopping, etc.

Checkmark-Iconschedule appointments and errands geographically

Xmark-Iconreview your schedule daily so you don’t overlook anything

Recognize Your Strengths And Weaknesses

Checkmark-Iconif you procrastinate, create artificial deadlines to finish early

Xmark-Iconknow your work style — long stretches or short bursts

Checkmark-Iconunderstand your high and low energy periods

Xmark-Iconplan your schedule accordingly

Checkmark-Iconask “is this the best use of my time right now”?

Xmark-Iconif not, re-evaluate the importance of your current activity

Remember To Plan Some Free Time

Checkmark-Iconit’s healthy to plan time to “goof-off” or play”

Xmark-Iconset aside time for recreation in advance

Checkmark-Iconget up early to have some private time before the day gets crazy

Xmark-Iconit’s less likely to come up spontaneously and distract you

Checkmark-Iconyou’re more likely to actually make time for yourself

Setting Healthy Boundaries

Xmark-Iconeliminate distractions as much as possible

Checkmark-Iconit’s okay to ask not to be disturbed — and to say “no”

Xmark-Iconclose your door, turn off the ringer on your phone, etc.

Checkmark-Iconset up guidelines for dealing with interruptions

Xmark-Iconwho you are willing to interrupt work for and who will have to wait

Checkmark-Icondon’t be afraid to ask how long the interruption will take

Xmark-Iconthen decide whether you have time to handle it now or later

Checkmark-Iconask if you need to handle the problem right at that exact moment

Xmark-Iconif not, schedule a time to take care of it later

Checkmark-Iconwhen interrupted, leave a memory jogger of where you left off work

Xmark-Iconit will be easier to get back into the groove when you return

Stick To Your Plan

Checkmark-Icondirect all of your energies toward your current activity

Xmark-Icondon’t think about what you need to do next or later on

Checkmark-Iconyour schedule will work only as well as you commit to it

Xmark-Iconkeep it with you and refer to it often

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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