What is purposeful scheduling and how will it help me get more done at work?
I’m fighting a constant battle with interruptions when I’m trying to make progress on my projects during the work day. Between email, the phone ringing and notifications through social media and our project management software, something is always binging, ringing, or sending me a notification that flashes across my screen. And that’s not even counting the meetings that I actually scheduled. So how’s a girl supposed to focus and make any headway on those big ticket to do’s? Here are a few tips from the trenches to help create your schedule in a purposeful way that will help make enough space in the day so you can tackle those to do’s.
Purposefully schedule days and/or times that you are available for meetings
We’re all trying to get into that ideal FLOW state. You know, when you’re totally into what you’re doing, words/ideas/solutions are pouring out of your brain and you’re totally engaged in what you’re doing. That is efficient working time, and when you can get into a flow state you’re way more productive and will plow through that project work.
We talked about batching your tasks in a previous post about getting more done at work, and now we’re applying that to meetings. If you batch the times when you know you’re going to be interrupted, the byproduct of that is the time in your schedule that isn’t taken up with meetings becomes your project work time.
Don’t just randomly assign the days/times, though. Give it some thought.
How purposeful scheduling work for me?
I know that my easiest focusing time is in the mornings when I first get started, so I try not to book any meetings until after lunch so that I have the morning to focus on whatever my highest priority project is that day.
I also know that I need more focused admin time on Mondays and Fridays in order to get ready for the week, and to wrap things up on Friday so I’m not tempted to just keep on working through the weekend.
So what that translates to is that I try to book client meetings for Tues/Wed/Thurs afternoons as much as possible.
Be the one to suggest the meeting times
Be proactive. If you’re in a position to suggest meeting times, then offer up your preferred days/times as a starting place for discussion. That will make it more likely that you’ll get a time that works for your ideal schedule. If you have a shared calendar that other colleagues can book in, try either letting them know about your ideal booking times or block off your calendar during certain “project work blocks”.
Know when to make an exception
There are always exceptions to everything, and if I just can’t get those times to work for the client then I adapt. But getting into the habit of purposeful scheduling will mean that most weeks I’m able to get a good rhythm going and keep my client’s projects moving forward.
Hit the reset button on your scheduling once a month
You’ll probably need to go back about once a month and review how well your current schedule is working for you. Feel free to adjust the days/times as needed. If you find that the days you picked aren’t working for your clients, then you may need to adjust so that you’re not making so many exceptions that you lose those clear blocks of time!
Looking for more productivity tips for work? Check out this article on 9 Ways to Get More Done at Work.