Creating and Maintaining A Smart Schedule
1. Always strive for your personal version of balance: Take your energy and productivity levels into account when creating your schedule. Avoid leaving your schedule empty or too loose if there are important things you need to get done. Avoid adding so many to-do’s, events, and meetings to your calendar that you feel exhausted at the end of the day. You'll know best what the right balance is for you.
2. Create breathing space: If you think certain task will take you 15 minutes, plan for 20 or 30 minutes. Leave room in your schedule for travel time so you aren’t rushed, and if there is traffic or something unexpected comes up, you’ll be able to handle it – with time to spare. Meetings and conference calls can sometimes run over the scheduled amount of time, so try not to schedule meetings and calls back-to-back. Leave yourself a few minutes in between in case the meeting runs long, but also so that you can grab a bite to eat, return a call or email, stretch your legs, or to prep for the next meeting. If you choose to use an online scheduling tool like TimeTrade or Schedule Once, they usually ask you how much time you want to leave between appointments.
3. Cut down on your commute time: If you have errands to run, meetings to attend, or clients to see, schedule things in close proximity around the same time if possible. This saves gas money as well as time. The time you spent trekking back and forth across town can now be used for more important things (and that includes rest!). If someone wants to schedule a meeting with you, but the topic in question can be handled over the phone, don’t hesitate to request a phone meeting instead.
4. Run errands during off-peak hours if you can: Grocery stores tend to be less busy before work hours, and earlier on weekend mornings. My favorite time to hit the grocery store or places like Target is on Sunday night. On weekends, stores tend to be a little less crowded when they first open than during the mid-day hours when everyone is out and about. What are the off peak hours for the places you frequent? Definitely try to make your stops during that time.
What other things can you do to make your schedule smarter?