I recently blogged about my new time management approach using Google Calendar. The approach requires blocking out time for tasks rather than making an actual task list. I've been doing kind of a hybrid approach, and blocking out time for my task list.
There's another, equally important idea I've been using in conjunction with the Google calendar, and that is to plan out your week in advance.
Another webinar I listed to basically suggested planning out the coming week or two over the weekend. The idea is to do the most important tasks early in the week. I'm assuming because the webinar teacher recognizes that things come up and you might not get everything done, but that if you plan the most important tasks early in the week, you'll have plenty of time to reschedule them even if something comes up.
I'm finding that it really helps to look at the entire week, and even into the following week, in advance. It's helping me to not try to put all the tasks on my to-do list all on the next day, because I'm recognizing that I have time to do all of those things.
In theory, planning an entire week in advance sounds doable. In practice, it doesn't work all that well for me. Clients will assign me work that is supposed to be done within a few days, and families I babysit for contact me with last-minute requests. I ride with a friend once a week, but it tends to be whatever day our schedules and the weather can agree on. And the rest of my life tends to be constantly in flux as well. It's not like I go to an office, work reliably for eight hours, and go home.
Additionally, I'm still learning what's reasonable to expect of myself and what's not. So while my scheduling has gotten better and I have fewer changes now than I used to, I still have to adjust my schedule accordingly when I've failed to plan a reasonable amount of time, anticipate hurdles, or allow myself down time between things.
In my next post, I'll go into more detail about how I'm making all of this work for me, and what a typical week looks like for me so far. Remember that I only just recently started using this combination of techniques, so I'm sure I have a lot of learning still to do about how to make it work for me - and, honestly, how to schedule my life so that I'm more likely to follow through with the original plan.