July 27

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7 Best Tips To Stay On Schedule

By Dan

July 27, 2022


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Do you find it difficult to stay on schedule? In today's fast-paced world, it's a common problem, we all have so much to do and so little time to do it; but with these 7 best tips, you'll be able to stay on schedule and get things done.

Stay On Schedule

With so many demands on our time, it's easy to get off schedule. Whether it's work, family, or social obligations, there's always something pulling us in a different direction.

But, if we don't stay on schedule, it leads to missed deadlines, unmet goals, and overall stress, fortunately, with these 7 best tips staying on schedule has become a breeze.

7 Best Tips To Stay On Schedule

Here are 7 best tips to help you stay on schedule:

1. Wake up early.

Waking up early gives you a head start on the day and a fresh start so that you have enough time to get everything done to stay on schedule. 

A survey made by Biologist Christoph Randler found that students who woke up early felt more proactive about the day ahead and, as a result, were more likely to plan their day and stick to their schedule.

If you're not a morning person, this might sound like torture, but there are a few things that you can do to make it easier:

  • Go to bed earlier so that you can get a full night's sleep. 
  • Set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than usual and gradually increase the time until you're waking up at your desired time. 
  • Schedule or write down what you're going to do and have everything ready the night before so that you have a plan when you wake up. 
  • What you do with those extra hours in the morning is up to you, but use them wisely. 

For example, some people like to use their extra time in the morning to work out, while others like to use it to get ahead on their work for the day. And, avoid hitting the snooze button — once you're up, you're less likely to fall back asleep and more likely to stay on schedule.

2. Make a to-do list. 

Are you someone who feels like they are constantly behind and can never seem to catch up? Staying on schedule can be difficult if you don't have a plan of what needs to be done.

Making a to-do list at the beginning of each day helps you keep track of what needs to be done and ensures that you don't forget anything important; especially when you have a lot on your plate so that you stay on schedule.

Write down everything you need to do for the day, week or month ahead, to help you stay on top of things, but be realistic about how much you can accomplish in a day; trying to do too much in one day is a recipe for disaster.

It's better to have a shorter list that you can complete, rather than an ambitious one that leaves you feeling overwhelmed; not to mention, there's a sense of satisfaction that comes with crossing something off your list.

To create a to-do list find a system that works for you, whether it's a physical list, sticky notes, digital app or something else entirely.

Some people prefer the old-fashioned way of writing things down on a piece of pape, physical planner or notebook, while others prefer using digital tools like Google Calendar, Trello or Wunderlist.

For example, if you're a visual person, you might want to try using a bullet journal where you can see everything laid out in front of you. Or, if you prefer having things in one place, an app like Wunderlist can be synced across all of your devices so that you always have your to-do list with you.

Experiment with different techniques until you find one that works best for you and helps you stay on schedule. Whatever you choose, make sure it's something that you'll use; if it's not convenient or easy to use, you're less likely to stick with it.

3. Set priorities.

When you have a lot of things to do, it feels like no matter how hard you try to stay on schedule, there's always something that falls through the cracks; this is where prioritization comes in because people try to do too many things at once instead of focusing on what's most important.

Multitasking might seem like an efficient way to get things done, bur research has shown otherwise.

A study made by Robert Rogers, PhD, and Stephen Monsell, D.Phil in the mid-1990s, found that when people attempted to multitask - because the brain has to switch back and forth between the tasks - it took longer to perform both tasks than it would if the person focused on one task at a time.

With that being said, psychologists - who study mental processes - have found that the brain is not designed for multitasking and causes mental exhaustion. So, to set priorities use the Eisenhower Matrix, which helps you categorize tasks into four quadrants:

  • Urgent and important (these are the tasks that you should do first).
  • Important, but not urgent (these are tasks that you should schedule for later).
  • Urgent, but not important (these can be delegated or postponed).
  • Neither urgent nor important (these can be eliminated altogether).

For example, tasks that are both urgent and important would go in the first quadrant, while tasks that are important but not urgent would go in the second - helpful if you're struggling to decide what to work on first.

Once you've categorized your tasks, you can focus and start working on the urgent and important ones first; these are the tasks that you need to do in order to stay on schedule.

If you're still having trouble deciding which tasks to prioritize, ask yourself which one will have the biggest impact or make the most difference.

For example, if you're trying to decide between two tasks, ask yourself which one will get you closer to your goal. Sit down and assess what's on your plate and figure out what can be delegated, postponed or eliminated altogether. 

Once you've set your priorities, stay focused on the task at hand and resist the urge to switch to something else.

4. Schedule everything - and use a calendar.

To stay on schedule, treat your time like an appointment and schedule everything; from work and family commitments to personal errands, social engagements and down time. If it's not on the calendar, it's not happening; you don't want to waste time

A calendar is an essential tool for keeping track of what's due when, so that you can plan your time accordingly and make sure that you're always working on the most pressing tasks; this is especially useful if you have multiple deadlines or projects that you're working on.

For example, if you have a report due on Friday and another project that's due next week, you can use your calendar to plan when you're going to work on each task so that you don't get overwhelmed or behind schedule.

To get started, create a master calendar that includes all of your commitments, both personal and professional, then use a daily or weekly planner to break down what needs to be done each day. Or, if you prefer digital tools, there are a number of apps that can help you stay on schedule, like Google Calendar, Fantastical or Sunrise.

5. And build in buffer time.

No matter how well you plan, there are always going to be delays and unexpected hiccups that throw you off schedule. That's why it's important to build in buffer time so that you can account for the unexpected and still get things done so that you're still able to stay on schedule.

Buffer time is built into your schedule to account for the unexpected; if you're meeting with a client at 10am, don't schedule another meeting right after; instead, leave some time in between so that you're not stressed if the meeting goes over.

The same goes for tasks that take longer than expected; rather than trying to force it and getting frustrated, build in some extra time so that you can take your time and do a good job.

For example, if you're planning to write a blog post, you might want to give yourself an hour to write it, but build in 30 minutes of buffer time so that you're not rushed if it takes longer than expected.

6. Set deadlines.

One of the biggest mistakes we make is underestimating how long a task will take which is big reason it throws our schedule off.

The key to setting effective deadlines is to be realistic about how much time you need to complete a task; if you give yourself too much time, you're more likely to procrastinate, but if you don't give yourself enough time, you'll end up feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.

A good rule of thumb is the 50% rule: estimate how long it will take you to complete a task, and then multiply that by two. So, if you think a task will take you an hour, give yourself two hours; it may seem like a lot of time, but it's better to have too much time than not enough.

Let's say you're writing a blog post and you've given yourself two hours to write it; once those two hours are up, stop writing even if you're not finished.

You can always go back and finish it later but by enforcing deadlines, you will force you to be more focused and efficient with your time and, as a result, more likely to stay on schedule.

7. Delegate or outsource tasks.

There's only so much that one person can do in a day, which is why it's important to delegate or outsource tasks that you're not good at or that you don't have time for.

Delegating or outsourcing tasks help you stay on schedule because it frees up your time so that you can focus on more important tasks.

Identify the tasks that you're not good at or that you don't have time for; these are the tasks that you should delegate or outsource.

Once you've identified the tasks, you need to find someone who can do them for you; this could be a friend, family member, co-worker or professional service. 

For example, if you're a great writer but not so great at design, hire a designer to create visuals for your blog posts; if you're good at project management but not so good at writing, hire a copywriter to help you with your website content.

If you're struggling to keep up with your schedule, try implementing some of these tips and see how they work for you. There's no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to time management, so experiment until you find what works for you.

About the author

My name is Dan, a few years ago I decided to turn my life around and it all started with time management, I'm here to help you navigate how to best manage your time.

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