By: Dr. Gwen Smith
Last week we spoke about how to set up your priorities for your daily tasks so you know the order in which to tackle your to do list. I’ve found in working with hundreds of clients that having the priority is part of the battle won. The major part is accomplishing on schedule what needs to get done.
At times having that list can still create overwhelm unless of course you’ve sorted what needs to get done into strategies or action steps. I use an example that I share about writing my next book.
Creating Action Steps
I’ve had, for longer than I care to admit,”Write Book” on my calendar. Well those of you who know about setting goals know that this will not produce any trackable results.
So I got down to nailing the strategies: How many chapters in the book? How many pages per chapter? When do I want to have the book ready for marketing? And, consequently, how many months do I have to write the book to get it to editing, then artwork and publication?
Armed with all that, I've finally nailed it on my calendar to write two pages per day. This is of course after I did all the research for writing the book.
Doing that research was preliminary to getting down to the final number of pages I need to write daily. Had I not done that, my strategies would have needed to include hours to do the research too. Then I may have had to either bump my completion deadline back to accommodate the two pages per day, or up the number of pages I will write daily to stay on schedule.
Lack of creating strategies is a main reason why people fail at achieving their goals. Wihout strategies you may find yourself setting unrealistic deadlines which will add stress and overwhelm to your life.
Scheduling Your Tasks
Once these strategies are created you put them on your calendar. This allows you to track to see if your final deadline will be met or not. Or if you may need to work extra time to stay on schedule.
I love to use Google Calendars as it not only lets me know what’s upcoming, it also sends me alerts based on the notification I’ve scheduled to be reminded of. I have this both on my phone and on the computer so that as I work, I can be aware of what’s coming next.
Staying on Track Until the Task is Finished
At times you may find yourself procrastinating on what gets done and you’re distracted by one or more events or people in your surroundings. If that’s the case, you’ll need to write the Top 5-10 items you want to get done for the day and tackle those before anyone starts showing up.
I call this an unstructured schedule. It works best when you have a lot of interruptions during your day. In that case, block scheduling will not work for you. So give up frustrating yourself.
A secretary if you have one, is an excellent gate-keeper if you want to block your schedule. They can field your calls and visitors during hours you dictate should be free for you to work. Or, if you have the ability to work in a hidden place during your most productive hours that will help you stay on track too.
There are other things that happen during your day that distract you. Listen to my Facebook Live that discusses additional resources not mentioned here that will keep you on track, especially when distracted by technology.
I have a very cool new resource I just had developed for me. It helps you put your schedule in an excel spreadsheet. And even beyond that, it allows you to keep track of your 168 hour week to see exactly how long you are spending each week on different activities.
You enter your weekly schedule on the first tab, “ Weekly Schedule” and all the other tabs (Monday through Sunday) get automatically populated. The last tab “Total Weekly Hours Per Task” will track how many hours you’ve spent all week on each of your activities.
You can color-code the activities and the colors transfer wherever it’s needed. This is a great resource to use in place of Google Calendars and will also give the added bonus to assess at the end of the week how you spend your time each week.
Click the button below to download this free tool.
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