In our second episode on productivity, we’ll be going over scheduling. How do you set up your time and plan for the optimal work we mentioned in part one? It can be complicated, but there’s a few good rules of thumb to get you going.
A good thing to remember when it comes to scheduling is that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion”. In other words, we are all natural procrastinators! If you need to get something done ASAP, set a deadline that gives you the smallest amount of time possible to complete the task. If you don’t finish it in time, you’ll still be okay — because you decided to set your deadline way before the official one!
Another thing to remember when it comes to scheduling is what times are scheduled for meaningful work versus which times are scheduled for relaxation. As much as we’d like to think we’re computers, we aren’t — we can’t spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week doing nothing but work. We need time for things other than work, such as friends, family, or even just simple alone time. It is recommended that you actually set up your relaxation time before your work time. This is another thing that might seem contradictory on a surface level, but think a little deeper: if you don’t schedule time for yourself, then it’s easy to get into that 24/7 work mode. It’s also easy to feel guilty if you’re relaxing instead of working. If you’re able to develop breaks for yourself, but have those breaks in definitive blocks of time, then most of that guilt goes away and you’ll be much less susceptible to burnout.
Once you have your work and life settled out, there’s one last tip that I can give you: allow room for spontaneous events. There are many, many times in our lives where we have a perfect schedule set up, a perfect plan, a perfect model for going about things, and then we actually get to the execution, the whole thing falls apart because of one little variable we didn’t calculate. Even the best plans require a bit of in-action intuition, and your schedule is no different. Plan your life and work loosely enough that there’s time to deal with the unexpected. Personally, I like to schedule some additional free time at points within my schedule that I think have a ripe chance of going awry.
Anyway, that’s all for this series! Our next one will be a lot more abstract, but I think it’s something everyone can take away lessons from. See you then!