Could you “Schedule Everything”? Maybe you should try!

by Angelique on July 30, 2012

The top of a calendar - headline says Schedule Everything? Seriously? graphic by Angelique / A.F.MarCom

 

Last week in my Ask Angelique Anything chat (#AskAngel, Tuesdays 2ET/11PT) artist and entrepreneur Casey Palmer (@doomzTO) asked me the following question:

 

photo of Casey Palmer“I have a lot of great ideas, but no time to execute them all. How do I solve this conundrum?”

 

I answered:

photo of Angelique of A.F.MarCom“Casey asks how to find time to execute all his great ideas. I assume he doesn’t want me to suggest a Time Turner. Therefore I suggest hiding in a dark room, talking to no one, until you finish them all. Your wife won’t mind! :)

 

Turns out his wife would mind. So I gave a real solution:

photo of Angelique of A.F.MarCom“Okay, serious answer about multiple projects: Trick out your calendar program, and for at least a few weeks, SCHEDULE EVERYTHING. I mean, EVERYTHING. It helps! Really!”

 

Casey replied:

photo of Casey Palmer“From someone who loathes planning, this sounds like it’s going to be VERY. HARD. ”

 

Independent business consultant Randy Thio (@ideabloke) agreed.

photo of randy thio - ideabloke“I’m with Casey on this one.”

 

 

I replied:

photo of Angelique of A.F.MarCom“Okay, don’t laugh, but if you remember that it’s just a test, and you can quit any time, it will be less stressful.”

 

Then I promised to give them an example of what I meant. So Casey, Randy and everyone else, here’s what I mean by the Schedule Everything exercise.

A sample calendar with every single task of the day noted plus a color key - original graphic by Angelique / A.F.MarCom

 

“Schedule Everything” is an exercise that teaches you how much you can really get into a day, and where you can and cannot fit tasks. I don’t think anyone would do this for each and every day of their lives, but doing it for a week or so is informative, plus you really do get your most important things done!

The example above is based on the way my “schedule everything” day would have looked a few years ago when my daughter was younger. Click to see a larger version! Did I normally schedule every single part of my day? No, but when there were too many demands on my time from too many different directions, I did! And I did regularly schedule commuting time so I wouldn’t be late to appointments.

In this example, the busy work-at-home professional is married and has kids. The professional’s gender doesn’t matter, because there are now many men who work at home and supervise their kids after school while their wives do the nine-to-five.

Let’s go through this completely-scheduled day. (Anyone who smugly thinks, “Well, I would wake up even earlier and run up the mountain while meditating and doing laundry” should not be reading this post.)

 

square of yellow5:30 – 6am. There are thirty minutes for stretching exercises and showering. This does not include dressing, makeup (ladies) and finding matching socks (men) — just the showering part. If you can’t shower in twenty minutes, I don’t want to see your water bill!

 

purple square6 – 7:30am Notice that I’ve blocked out ninety minutes for dressing, eating (plus putting away breakfast things) and getting the kids out the door. Seems like a lot of time? Do you really get all these things completely done in less?

 

blue square7:30 – 8:15am This professional has a meeting later in the morning, but can set aside forty-five minutes beforehand for a variety of business tasks: handling social media accounts, editing a blog post and contacting a few people via email. Note that a.) this time is set aside for business tasks only, and b.) just a few business tasks have been chosen. If something specific needs to be done, the details should be written in the description of this appointment. For example, “Congratulate Dave on his new job,” and “Proofread blog post about time management.”

 

red squareVery Important: PACK UP! 8:15 – 8:30am Don’t want to be late? Make sure you figure in the amount of time it takes you to pack your computer, let the dog out, close the windows — whatever you need to do to get out the door.

 

brown square8:30 – 9am Commute time! Scheduling your commute helps you to understand that you CAN’T fit in some of those extra tasks before your meeting because you’ll be on the road!

 

gold square9 – 10:30am Here’s the meeting! The meeting is supposed to last an hour, so this smart professional has scheduled ninety minutes.

 

brown square10:30 – 11am Another commute! Today this professional is going home for lunch.

 

blue square11:30am – 12:30pm What to do with the time between appointments? What needs to be done today? This professional has already decided to eat lunch, send an important email message, pay a few bills and check in with social media friends.

 

gold square12:30 – 2:45pm This professional has made an appointment with him/herself! It’s time to work on that eBook! Two hours and fifteen minutes of writing, starting… NOW!

 

brown square2:45 – 3:15pm Those pesky kids need to come home! Driving to the school and back is really just one big thirty-minute commute.

 

blue square3:15 – 5pm It’s time for a variety of things again! Notice that the tasks are limited. The most important is supervising the kids’ homework. Then there are two things that be done while being constantly interrupted: plan and handle social media, and look over calendars and to-do lists.

 

purple square5pm Time to do whatever needs to be done to feed everyone.

 

You could continue this into the evening, but your plan will likely be scuttled by your spouse and your kids, so “Schedule Everything: The Evening Edition” might just have appointments for Twitter chats and favorite TV shows.

Have you ever “scheduled everything”? Was it helpful? Do you do it all the time? Let me know in the comments!

 

Facebook icon   Twitter icon   Pinterest icon   Email icon

 

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Casey E. Palmer July 30, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Continuing my war against scheduling, I read this and wonder whether one can still think freely with all of this structure. Perhaps a lack of scheduling leaves me open to getting unnecessarily overwhelmed by all the stuff I put on my plate, but I feel that having dedicated chunks of time would give me a constant feeling of anxiety, because with set blocks of time to do something comes deadlines.

With the end of each block, you have a constant reminder that you need to accomplish what you can in each block of time, because the next block is looming on the horizon.

Now, perhaps such structure is advantageous for those with kids, where time is even more precious, but I just can’t see it being something I’d ascribe to. It’s not a lack of ability – it’s a lack of interest, unfortunately =/ I like my non-system system!

Also, we could’ve probably saved you a whole bunch of time writing this post – in Wordpress, if you post a link to a tweet in the HTML version of a post, it should automatically generate all the formatting for you.

Anyhoo, my two cents!

–Case

Reply

Angelique July 30, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Casey — ORRR…. You can think of the block of time as PERMISSION to concentrate on just that one thing. AAAAND…. Who says you have to make a certain amount of progress in that amount of time? I guess that would be the person who created the schedule. Oh, wait! That’s YOU!

P.S. What’s wrong with my formatting???

Reply

Casey E. Palmer July 30, 2012 at 10:47 pm

:) My standards for my progress don’t need any extra stress is what I guess I’m trying to say. I do rather well without the constraints of driving myself mad :S

Nothing’s “wrong” per se – I just suspect that you manually copied in the HTML code from the Twitter site or something in order to put it all together when it could be so much easier.

You should be able to just put the URL of a tweet in your HTML and get a tweet looking like the first one shown on this page:

https://dev.twitter.com/docs/embedded-tweets

*shrug* Figured it was something that could save YOU time ;)

Reply

Angelique July 30, 2012 at 11:42 pm

If you squint real hard, you’ll see…. those aren’t the original tweets! (If they were, they would be full of abbreviations, @mentions and hashtags that confuse non-tweeters, plus my remarks would be split over several paragraphs, separated by….. ellipses.) Original-looking tweets do make nice illustrations, but they’re not practical for this type of post.

Trust me: Writing a few sentences next to your mugs was by far the easiest part of creating this article!

Reply

Casey E. Palmer July 31, 2012 at 5:39 am

Ah; I didn’t realize that you were paraphrasing. Carry on, then :)

Reply

Angelique July 31, 2012 at 10:57 am

I sure hope the little uppy carat means “like.” Hey, Disqus! Be more user-friendly!

Pavel Konoplenko August 6, 2012 at 7:49 am

Well I wrote a response to this recently but it didn’t post. Anyway, I suck at scheduling too, and like @doomzTO:disqus, I’m not a big fan. What I realize is helping me be more productive is keeping a to-do list. That way I know what I have to do without being locked into time blocks.

Ultimately, my productivity goals revolve around completing things – since I have a habit of doing, planning, and drafting many things, but rarely completing them. A to-do list helps me stay on point.

Reply

Donna Saliter August 7, 2012 at 7:15 am

I did this years ago and it really worked for me. Now I’ve started doing it again, mostly for the things I need to schedule in but forget to – like invoicing clients. Now I just have to add into the schedule! What program do you use, Angelique?

Reply

Angelique September 5, 2012 at 9:09 am

The screenshots you see are of iCal, the program that comes with every Mac. I’ve used iCal for the past few years, since I got a Mac. Before that I used Outlook, which I didn’t like as much. I’ve heard that the newest version of Outlook is greatly improved. My very favorite calendar and scheduling program came with a PDA I had a million years ago, the Psion.

Reply

Leave a Comment