Back in the days before computers, if you wanted to keep track of your calendar you had to get a weekly planner, write down everything and pray you didn’t lose track of your reminders. Now, with computers, tablets and cellphones, you can access your calendar from anywhere.
I used to think planning every second of my day wouldn’t make much of a difference. However, once I started doing it, I realized I could prioritize my work so much more if I included everything in my weekly calendar.
I prefer to use Google’s digital calendar because it allows me to sync up my schedule on my smartphone and gives me notifications when I need to switch tasks. I never forget to do anything now, and I can set much more realistic expectations for my week.
It might be tempting to only schedule the important things going on in your life – big meetings, deadlines for projects, friends’ weddings. However, it might be better for your productivity to schedule as much of your day as you can.
At first glance it might be overwhelming, but when you carry your phone with you all day or check your computer often, it’s good to have reminders of even menial tasks.
Use It to Start Your Day Strong
While most people just set an alarm on their phone, you can schedule your whole morning so it goes well. A typical morning routine involves taking a shower, eating breakfast and brushing your teeth, but you can also set reminders to do other things to make your morning more productive.
I’ve recently started scheduling time to meditate in the morning, water my plants and do any out-of-the-ordinary tasks I might forget about otherwise.
Schedule Your Exercise
There are some days where you feel like exercising, and some days you don’t. However, when you schedule your exercise times on your calendar, it’s harder to convince yourself to skip them, especially if you have reminders on your phone. You can even include your routine for the day. When you look at your phone, you can see if you’re doing a cardio day or a strength-training day.
If you use a calendar like Google’s that let’s you sync your calendar with other people’s schedules, you can even add friends to your exercise calendar and organize times to go running together. I’ve found this to be a great accountability tool – even for the days when we don’t do group runs.
Set Aside Times for Chores
Chores are a necessary evil. As easy as it is to spend the whole Saturday binge-watching Netflix, you also have to clean the bathroom or mop the floors.
Schedule a chore cycle so you know which chores to focus on each day. Set aside time for your daily chores – clean the dishes, make the bed – but also plan your bigger chores in advance, like cleaning out the attic and washing dirty laundry.
Complete Your Menial Tasks
When you schedule your menial tasks, you’re being much more productive with your time. Some of the biggest time killers include checking your email, surfing TV and browsing the Internet. In moderation, these tasks are fine; but if you waste your whole afternoon doing those things, you’re not going to accomplish anything.
Scheduling time to watch TV or play video games lets you see in advance how much time you’re going to use up doing that activity. If you want to devote three hours to watching Daredevil on Netflix, that’s fine. Just make sure you still have time to get groceries for breakfast tomorrow.
Make Sure You Get Free Time
As important as it is to get your work done, it’s equally important to make sure you have downtime in your day. Many people push themselves nonstop until their bodies cannot handle the work anymore. After all, you know what they say about all work and no play! Schedule time for reading, going out with friends or watching a fun movie. Everyone deserves to take a break.
I used to just not schedule my free time because, well, it’s free time, right? Why should I have to put it on a calendar? What I’ve found, though, is that when I don’t schedule the ways I want to spend my free time I end up just sitting around and doing nothing. Which is fine, but when you schedule your free time you realize how much more productive you are because many of your “free time” activities involve self-improvement or accomplishing some kind of task.
For example, in my free time I like to study Japanese. In the past I would just think to myself, “When I find some free time today I’ll study Japanese.” But I’d always get distracted doing other things. Now, I schedule time to just hang out and study Japanese and I find it not only more rewarding, but I also learn a lot more.
At first, it can be overwhelming seeing your calendar packed. However, it can help you establish a routine and can help you accomplish more work each day. Who knows – you might even establish a set routine and be at your most productive.