Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Getting it Done: Part 2 - Schedules

So with yesterday's definitions and elements in place it is time to turn to the heart of a time management system: scheduling.

For this you will need a calendar. I like to use Google Calendar on line as I tend to lose day planers and ignore wall calendars. With an online calendar that syncs with my phone I have my schedule in a package that is hard to lose and that will give me reminders by email and alarms.

The next step in scheduling is to block out your time as we talked about yesterday. What works best for me is to highlight blocks of time so when I come back to the calendar later I can see how I have assigned my self. In Google calendar I do this by creating two separate categories (which Google calls calendars) and set them to display with different color backgrounds. I name one of these calendars 'time blocking work' the other 'time blocking free.' I use them to highlight my calendar.

Now that I have budgeted my time I know that I will have free time and when that will be. This does not mean I need to fill every moment of the work part of my day with tasks and appointments. It is good to have some flexibility built into your schedule. Start with your anchor events; these will usually be appointments that you need to keep. Once these time and place constrained events are on the calendar, look at the other tasks you need to accomplish and begin to organize them with efficiency in mind. In effect this will create a localized to-do list for each trip you make.

Now it is time to look at water and rocks. Let us look at our day as a river. The banks of the river define the passage of time, the water and the rocks that lie between those banks are the activities that make our day. Rocks are our appointments, our anchor events. They are the fixed things that everything else must flow around. Everything else that we wish to accomplish in a day is the water. The point of this is that everything other then the rocks is flexible. If a crises emerges or a fire needs to be put out we can shift our tasks around and pay attention just to what is critical.


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