Handling your day-to-day tasks can feel overwhelming, especially when you have a lot of work and personal duties to attend to. Getting behind at work or in your family may cause unnecessary stress and make your life difficult to tolerate. As a result, it is essential to learn how to create a time management schedule to ensure that you can handle these tasks efficiently and adequately.
In this article, you’ll learn the necessary skills for making a helpful time management schedule, including the various essential steps and the ways you can integrate others into this process. You’ll also learn how to check whether your time management schedule is working for you and how you can adjust it to make more sense for your needs.
What Does Make a Schedule Effective?
So, does making a schedule help with time management?
A good schedule should help you decide which tasks need to be done first and in what order they need to be done. An effective schedule balances your available tasks with your available time to complete them without overwhelming you.
For example, a schedule should include an estimation of how much each task will take, a listing of when you plan to handle them, and extra time added. You should also get at least 10-20 minutes of break every 1-2 hours, as a good break can refresh your mind. An effective schedule matches these needs and minimizes fatigue.
7 Steps That Will Help You Create a Time Management Schedule
Below, we’ve listed seven steps and tips that should help you create a great time management schedule. In addition, we’ll discuss how to create a time management schedule that works for you and highlight the importance of schedules and understanding the weight of your various duties. This way, you should feel comfortable handling all these steps with minimal difficulty.
Step 1: Brainstorm All Your Tasks and Duties
The first step is to figure out what you need to do every day, not accounting for things like emergencies or random occurrences. For example, you need to schedule eight hours every day for work daily or however long you work and then the time it takes you to get home after your job is over.
Then, you need to break down each of your day’s tasks and figure out what has to be done. Be very specific here, breaking down your day into the smallest duties. For example, showering for the day, eating breakfast, driving to work, and early work meetings should all be considered.
However, don’t forget to think of small moments that are easy to forget throughout the day. For instance, if you take a smoke or vape break at various times throughout the day, that’s 10-30 minutes of your day that you need to account for when creating your time management schedule.
We understand that this process might seem rather intensive and hard to manage. However, if you’re clever and comprehensive in your planning, you might only have to take this step once. This way, you can create a time management schedule that suits your needs.
Step 2: Weigh the Importance of Each Task
After you’ve created a list of things you need to do daily, you can break them down with time management matrix technique. Weigh these ideas by their importance and their urgency:
- Important / Urgent – Any task that falls under this heading should be given top priority and should be handled as soon as possible.
- Important / Not Urgent – Don’t neglect these tasks and try to work on them but understand that you might not need to focus on them immediately.
- Unimportant / Urgent – Here’s where you can start delegating some tasks. These duties might be things you can get somebody else to do to improve your time management schedule.
- Unimportant / Not Urgent – You can probably put off these tasks for some time and focus on more important things. But don’t let them go undone because they may quickly become more urgent.
Now, you can arrange your day’s tasks according to this importance, focusing on the most important tasks first. Always try to get quick-deadline jobs done on time but don’t be afraid to delegate any tasks that others can handle if they’re not that important.
Step 3: Figure Out How Long Each Task Takes
Try to figure out how long each of your planned tasks will take. This might be a rough estimate, but it should help make scheduling your day easier. However, you may want to examine past examples of this action to ensure that your estimation is as accurate as possible.
For example, if it took you about 10 minutes to reply to an email on average, you can probably safely estimate 10 minutes per email. But, of course, you might take longer or shorter to answer emails, depending on the importance of the email and many other factors.
If you’re unsure about what to expect here, you can use the PERT estimation to get a basic idea. This formula is (O + P + 4 × M) / 6. “O” stands for most optimistic time, “P” for most pessimistic, and “M” for most likely. Here’s a simple example of this formula in action.
Your most optimistic email response time is two minutes. Your most pessimistic is 30. The most likely is M. Input these numbers into the formula ((2 + 30 + 4 x 10) /6) to get 12 minutes. Use this simple information to help create your schedule and produce a meaningful time management plan.
The longer and more consistently you do this step, the better you get at estimating task time. Like all things in life, practice makes perfect, so try out a few variations on this step to master it.
Step 4: Set Aside Emergency Time
There’s a good chance that even the tightest time management schedule will have some holes. After all, there is always a risk that an emergency could impact your schedule and make it less effective. Unfortunately, this problem is not uncommon but is very frustrating to plan for and manage.
A good rule of thumb is to have at least 30 minutes in a workday and an hour after work set aside for potential emergencies. These don’t have to be dangerous situations, of course. For example, your boss may decide to have an unexpected meeting with you, throwing off your schedule.
That extra time gives you a little wiggle room in your schedule and helps you avoid packing in too many tasks in one day. But, just as importantly, it also provides you with a bit of potential free time beyond your lunch break or schedule fun time with your family.
For example, if your day goes according to plan, and you’re entirely on task with each step you take, you will have an extra 30 minutes at work and an hour at home. Use this time to research a new project, unwind, or even work on a fun, creative project you’ve been putting off.
Step 5: Communicate Your Schedule
When learning to make a time management schedule, you need to let others know you’re following a specific plan. Putting everybody on the same page will minimize potential conflicts and ensure everyone works together smoothly and efficiently throughout the coming days.
For example, sit down with your co-workers and let them know what kind of plan you’ve created. Let them know it is a flexible idea that could help make things go smoothly. Give them a picture of your breaks and other moments during which they can talk to you.
Understand that others at your office will have different schedules and need to adjust yours at times. That is not unusual but make sure you still have the same amount of general work to handle daily needs. That’s where that flex or emergency time becomes so important.
If you find that your flex or emergency time is not enough for your day, you might want to add a little more to it. For example, 45 minutes of flexible work might be beneficial. But you don’t want much more than an hour, or you might not be busy enough at your job.
Step 6: Consider a Visual Estimation of Your Success
While you’re going through your time management schedule and handling your day’s tasks, creating a few charts that can gauge your success might be a good idea. These charts can be adjusted to provide various unique insights and better understand your needs.
For example, you can examine the amount of time you spend on work tasks by creating a simple, cloud-based method of tracking your day-to-day duties. Many software programs can provide this type of help, giving you a way to track your efficiency and effectiveness on the job.
These charts also form a dual purpose that may be very beneficial. First, they can be used to gauge your effectiveness to your boss or your co-workers, showing that you are not the problem if work issues occur. This kind of backup help is a great thing to have for your needs.
Step 7: Make Any Adjustments
After you know how successful your schedule is in your life, you can adjust it to ensure that it works properly. For example, do you find that an hour at the beginning of every day isn’t enough to eat breakfast, shower, and get out the door? Consider adjusting your schedule accordingly.
You can also tweak your work schedule, such as adding 15 more minutes to a tougher task when first learning it and removing that extra time as you master its demands.
Remember: it is your schedule; you can change it whenever you want. Doing so may be necessary when new life demands to impact you.
Use this information to try to change your life and schedule to make your day-to-day tasks easier. For example, you can improve your productivity working from home by removing any unnecessary or challenging duties that you don’t feel comfortable handling. Or by scheduling you can notice that you are wasting quite a bit of time on useless activities. By adjusting according to schedule you avoid stress and unnecessary struggle.
Learning how to create a time management schedule is an important task that can keep your focus on your success and minimize confusion. In addition, it will make it simpler for you to get your work done on time and provide you with more time to spend with your loved ones: and you deserve the free time to relax and enjoy the fruits of all your arduous labors.
Why not share this article with someone you know who might be struggling to handle all of life’s tasks? Talk with them about these steps, find ways to integrate them into their lives, and help with other unique challenges. Working with your friends, co-workers, and loved ones can help keep everyone on the same schedule and give you insights into how they plan their lives.