It’s no surprise work schedules can be complex and overcrowded. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps right now to better manage your time. Does this mean managing your schedule has to be a long and drawn-out process? Not in the least. The key is learning how to thoughtfully evaluate your schedule and take solid, practical actions that setup your future self, and schedule, for success.
Here are five tips to help you better manage your schedule at work:
Review your schedule with a critical eye
There’s more to reviewing a schedule than simply glancing at upcoming meetings and appointments. You also need to take into consideration all those materials, tasks, and actions that precede and follow events. For instance, what items do you need to prepare in advance of your meetings? What tasks do you need to complete after an appointment is held? It’s a good idea to confirm whether or not you have sufficient time in your schedule to actually complete tasks pre- and post-meeting.
Check calendar entries are accurate
Incomplete or inaccurate calendars give a limited view of your schedule and can make future planning unnecessarily difficult. Make sure all of your calendar entries accurately reflect your current workload. Are there any projects, meetings, assignments, appointments, events, luncheons, and travel times missing from your calendar? Similarly, is any information missing from current entries, such as date, time, meeting location, attendees, websites, confirmation, call-in, or reservation numbers?
Schedule similar tasks for the same time frame
Do you perform similar tasks throughout the day or week? You can capitalize on predictable workflows by scheduling similar tasks back-to-back. Your mind will be ready to tackle similar tasks one after another, plus, your materials and tools will already be setup and ready to go. Try scheduling administrative and project work, meetings and appointments for the same time of day or on specific days of the week.
Thoroughly consider the value of meetings and appointments
Make a habit of carefully evaluating all meeting and appointment invitations. How does the invitation relate to your current responsibilities and goals? Ask yourself whether or not the invitation is truly worth your time and energy. What will the meeting entail? Who will attend? Which topics will be discussed? Is your presence truly necessary? Can you watch a replay of a webinar or training? Is it possible for someone to attend the meeting in your place?
Make time for what matters
Don’t leave your work schedule to chance. Review your calendar on a daily and weekly basis and ask yourself, “Have I made time today/this week for what truly matters?” You can then prioritize urgent and important work tasks and schedule these tasks directly into your calendar. This way, you’ll have both the physical and mental space available to complete your work in a timely fashion.