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Scheduling Excellence – Plan to Make the Best Use of Your Time

Scheduling Excellence – Plan to Make the Best Use of Your Time

Choose to control your time rather than letting it control you!

 One of the most important ways people achieve success is by maximizing what they can achieve with their time. They increase the amount of work they can manage by delegating work to others, spend money outsourcing key tasks, or use technology to automate as much of their work as possible. This frees them up to achieve their goals.

Your goals determine your priorities.

Your priorities determine where you spend your time.

Your scheduling is your daily plan to invest most of your time in your priorities.

Simple as that!

Scheduling is where you priorities meet the reality of the time you have available. Scheduling how you look at the time available to you, and plan how you will use it to achieve your goals. By using a schedule properly you can:

  • Understand what you can realistically achieve with your time.
  • Plan to make the best use of the time available.
  • Leave enough time for things you absolutely must do.
  • Preserve contingency time to handle ‘the unexpected’.
  • Minimize stress by avoiding over-commitment to yourself and others.

There are many good scheduling tools available, including paper-based organizers, smart phones and software like MS Outlook. The scheduling tool best for you depends on your situation. The key is to be able to enter data easily, and to be able to view and edit your time quickly with the correct level of detail. Scheduling is best done on a regular basis, for example at the start of every week. Go through the following steps in preparing your schedule.

Scheduling is a 5-step process:

1. Identify the time you have available each week.

2. Schedule in important urgent tasks, including vital “house-keeping” activities.

3.Schedule in the important activities you must carry out to succeed in achieving your goals. Remember, if you manage people, make time available for dealing with issues that arise, coaching and supervision. People may let you get away with ‘neglecting them’ short-term, but they will be derailed if you don’t assign time for those important to your success.

4.Block in appropriate contingency time to handle urgent unpredictable interruptions. The more unpredictable your job, the more contingency time you need. Managers can get an average of as little as 6 minutes uninterrupted work done at a time.
If you have too many interruptions find the right venue and support you need (have your secretary block interruptions/take your calls) to minimize interruption during important activities.

5.The time that remains is “discretionary time.” Schedule discretionary time with the activities that address more of your non-urgent important activities that drive your goals. Remember to deflect and say no to those interruptions that are non-urgent and non-important activities that come your way.

By the time you reach step 5, you may find that you have little or no discretionary time available. If this is the case, then revisit the assumptions you used in the first 4 steps. Question whether things are absolutely necessary, whether they can be delegated, or whether they can be done in an abbreviated way.

  • Have you set goals that just aren’t achievable with the time you have available?
  • Are you taking on too many additional duties?
  • Or are you treating things as being more important than they really are?

If your discretionary time is still limited, then you may need to renegotiate your workload. With a well thought out schedule as evidence, you may find this surprisingly easy. Like any new habit, getting super efficient with your schedule takes practice and support.

Maximize your energy: Each one of us has a different “peak time” or highest-energy time during the day. Some of us are morning people; others midafternoon and some people feel their best at night. Most people know instinctively when their “peak times” are, but if you’re not sure, spend a few days rating your energy level. Then schedule your most important activities at those times. This approach can make a big difference to your productivity.

We hope that this structured approach gives you a solution to get the most value from your time. If you need more help for you and your team please do not hesitate to reach out at the contact details in the footnote.

Regards, The Churchill Leadership Group Team