Understanding all the players that are a part of a schedule is the key to creating balance in the force.
- You're going to hear me talk a lot about the way you show up. What I mean by that is that a lot of scheduling success is understanding that things change. Things will not always work out the way you expect, but if you show up knowing that, you'll be less frustrated, you'll be able to schedule better, and you'll be calmer, and so will your culture. How you approach your schedule should be a ritual. The more deliberate you are about your daily goals, the more successful you will be. I think it's important to start each day with purpose, focus, and the openness that things might change.
You want to start with the best plan you can, so let's look at these three words one by one. Purpose. The point of a schedule, in its simplest definition, is to maximize your effectiveness. In other words, will you have the time you need to get the projects in front of you done and done well? The more effective you are, the more profitable you can be, and the more time you can spend doing what you dream of doing, whether that is inside your workplace or outside of it. Focus. Your schedule is there to remind you that you need to get certain things done at certain times.
It provides boundaries to make sure you are moving forward. Openness. Be ready to change things, if need be, whether proactively or in reaction to something unforeseen that happens. Let's start with one key assumption, you have a work calendar. It doesn't matter whether you choose to go an old-school, printed version, a whiteboard, an app on your desktop, or, and this is my recommendation, a digital calendar that lives on all of your devices and syncs with your team. The important thing is to have a calendar used to visualize your day, your week, and your month.
For example, my team currently uses Google Calendar because it syncs with all of our various apps, it's personalized per team member, and we all can see it on our phones, tablets, and computers. We can have the day, week, month, or year snapshot with just a simple click. No matter what form of calendar you have, start by visualizing your weekly commitments. Review what meetings are planned, which teammates will be out of your office, which clients might be visiting, and what personal appointments you have planned, and see if there are any conflicts or concerns you need to address.
Maybe you scheduled some things week before that are no longer possible. You want to know up front if you need to do some juggling. The main thing is to get a sense of what is in front of you and see if you need to rearrange anything. This can include that new client who needs more time to get back to you, or that client that gets back to you sooner than you expected. You must proactively manage your schedule to create the most positive scenario possible. Now you are ready to approach the day. The first question to ask yourself is, do I have enough time to complete each task? If the answer is no, ask yourself if you can move things around based on that week's perspective.
Is there someone you can negotiate with about a deadline? Do you need to stay a little later than usual? Can you shift something to another day? Ask these questions early and get working on any necessary adjustments. If the answer is yes, there's an early win. Next, ask yourself, I have some excess time, can I work ahead on a particular project, help a teammate, or focus on any side projects that have been on the back burner? Or maybe you'll choose to leave work early and enjoy the rest of your day.
- Creating a balanced workflow
- Increasing productivity around tight timelines
- Delivering bad news early
- Determining when you are most creative
- Daily habits that help you win
- Working with easily distracted employees and team members
- Bringing clients into the schedule