How much time do you really have?

September 14, 2008

I did a fascinating exercise this week – related to how we schedule ourselves (or not). We took a blank day page and scheduled time to tackle all those tasks and activities that have to be done every day. We were just working from the workday – so figure 9 to 5. What we discovered is that after scheduling all the daily routine items, we had 4 hours left each day to get other work done.

Then, we took a blank weekly page and scheduled in all those activities and tasks that have to be done every week. We figured out what day would be best, and then put them into the schedule. (We had already added all the routine items to the week page – so we weren’t going to double schedule ourselves.) These items filled up at least another hour a day – leaving us with three hours.

Finally, we took the month (with daily and weekly routine items) and began to look at periodic tasks and activities.

As you can imagine, the schedule filled up very fast! What became obvious was how much time was consumed by routine tasks and activities. It became a great framework to begin to look at what we could delegate to someone else, and how we were setting up our days.

Long before we reached the end of the exercise it became clear why so many of us go through our days feeling completely overwhelmed! But a very interesting thing began to emerge. The more we actually took the time to schedule the tasks (as opposed to simply having them live on a to do list), the less overwhelmed we were feeling. Yes, the schedule was full, but we were certain about when things were going to get done, and we had a very clear picture of what was in progress and what was due when. And the impact of ignoring the routine tasks became obvious.


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