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How to Manage Your Time More Efficiently:
4 Tips for Writing an Effective Schedule


By Mark Delarika

A thing I think we’ve all been witnessing is the waste of our precious time. Time is our most valuable asset and it’s vital that we make the most of it.

From my point of view, in order to improve your time-management, you should have a schedule. Take all the tasks over the day, write them down, and set a timeline for them.

Also, they should be arranged in a logical order, according to each task’s resource consumption.

Depending on the type of person you are, a morning person or a night owl, you should program your tasks accordingly. A night owl might work better during the afternoon and late hours, then the most important tasks should be placed during those hours.

Here are the steps you should go through in order to create an effective schedule.

1. Write Down all Your Tasks

There are two types of tasks, the project-based tasks and the recurrent ones, such as taking the kids to school, weekly meetings, monthly reports, and so on. Here’s how you approach them both.

Recurrent Tasks
The recurrent ones are the easiest to schedule because you know when they happen. A 10 AM stand-up meeting will be the first to be placed on your schedule. I call this recurrent tasks anchors because you use them to place the other, one-time, tasks.

Project-Based Tasks
These tasks are project-based tasks, the ones that happen only once or twice. For example, a client meeting might be a one-time task. First, you need to prioritize them. Once you know which are the most important ones, you will be able to schedule them accordingly.

Also, at this stage of the process, you should evaluate your upcoming tasks. Which are the most difficult ones? Which will consume the most of your resources? This evaluation is very important so you know how to approach your work day, how to plan it, make the most of your time and train your mind.

2. Create the Schedule

Now all your tasks -- recurrent ones and project-based ones -- are in front of you. You’ve made an evaluation of the project-based ones, you know how many resource each one will consume. Now, you are able to create the schedule.

Fill in your calendar with the recurrent ones first. Your 10 AM stand-up meeting, you weekly client calls, weekly report meeting, and so on. Then, go on and schedule the project-based ones. The evaluation of your tasks will be very helpful right now.

If you are a morning person, it’s very important that the tasks that consume the most of your resources to be placed in the first part of your day. On the other hand, a late bloomer, someone who is more active during the afternoon, should have his most important tasks scheduled during the second part of the day.

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3. Some Flexibility is Required

Well, you never know what’s gonna pop-up along the way. The stand-up meeting might take a bit longer than expected or a client call might not finish in the 30 minutes you estimated. For this, it’s important to have some flexibility in your schedule. How are you supposed to do that?

Well, a thing I would recommend is to always have a plan B for every task you have. Meaning that, task A is planned at 11 AM, you should be able to reprogram it later on, at 1 PM. The other, project-based, tasks will be offset the same way task A was.

4. Evaluate and Edit Your Schedule

Not everyone is the same. Some might be more efficient during the first part of the day, others during the second part of the day. After approximately two or three weeks you will be able to make an evaluation of your schedule and your rhythm. If you feel like working harder after the lunch break, then put your more exhausting tasks in the second part of the day.

Conclusion

For you to have a better time management it’s very important to keep a schedule of your day. This way, the tendency to procrastinate is reduced and the tasks will be done faster. First, write down your to-do list and divide the tasks into recurrent ones and project-based ones. Then fill in your calendar with the so-called anchors. Once the anchors are set, you should set a timeline for your project-based tasks. This should be done according to their importance.

 

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