I read many articles which suggest you become more disciplined, create a schedule and stick to it, or plan every hour of the day so you know exactly what you’re doing and when. But having tried and tested these suggestions over the last year or so I have come to the conclusion that having a set schedule does not agree with me.
One of the main reasons it doesn’t agree with me is because when I write down an hour by hour schedule, if something ‘off the schedule’ happens it cascades down the rest of the days activities causing me to stress about what I should be doing, rather than actually getting on with the work in question.© Jean Valley – Fotolia.com
For example… a few months ago I set out a day by day schedule to include the following:
- Walking the dog
- Checking and responding to emails
- Client work
- Social media
- Power Hour
It was a pretty vague schedule, but I had put these activities within a time bracket. So dog walking between 9.30 and 10.30 (and again between 3.30 and 4.30), and client work between 10.30 and 12.00 (and again between 2.00 and 3.30). What happened when I got up late one morning? I was behind before I’d even got started for the day which created stress for the rest of the day, constantly trying to catch up with my schedule.
I read this great article yesterday which gave me inspiration to write this post – 7 Ways to Be a Stress-Free Workaholic
Change of plan…
I ripped that schedule off the wall and decided to work on things when I was in the right frame of mind to work on them. I still have to walk the dog in the morning, but if I haven’t left the house at 9.30 I’m not getting stressed about it.
For now I’ve decided to follow the workbooks by Leonie Dawson which I mentioned in my previous post Incredible Goal Setting for 2013!. Her suggestion is to write down your 3 MIT’s (Most Important Tasks) for the day. That way, I have written down everything I need to get done each day (or month) and I can break bigger tasks down into smaller ones. The same can be applied to client work, for example, I am currently formatting a book which requires me to insert 111 images. It’s going to take some time, so I have broken it down into smaller chunks, rather than sitting for hours trying to get it all done in one sitting and going cross-eyed.
What I find easier than creating a schedule is working out how I can spend less time doing something. This morning I decided to create some rules in Outlook to redirect all the newsletters I get into a folder other than the inbox. I also decided that I would start implementing the 4 D’s for my email – Do it, Delegate it, Delete it or Defer it. I hope this will improve my overflowing inbox! As I just had to look up the 4 D’s to remind myself, I thought I would link to the article I found, lots of tips for email – Empty your Inbox: 4 ways to take control of your email
Here is another article from the same site as the previous one about stress – 10 Easy Ways to Get More Done
So from now on, I won’t be scheduling, I will be flying through the day as it happens but trying to make my tasks more fun and take less time. Any tips on how I can improve on this please leave me a comment.