I’ve been trying something new with my schedule.

Although I usually time-block my days, things don’t always go as planned. To improve upon future scheduling and time management, I’ve begun tracking what actually happens each day, compared to my initial scheduling. I can start to learn what tasks regularly take longer or shorter than I think they will. I’m using our Daily Schedule Magic notepad, but you can use whatever planner or notepad works best for you! Below are some tips for schedule planning, documentation, and time management.

 

1. Write out your initial tasks and to-do’s

Be sure to break down your tasks into smaller, more digestible chunks. For example, “Edit photoshoot” is a rather large to-do. It would be better broken down into “Import photos,” “Cull best images,” “Color-correct best images,” and then “Post images on IG.” Being able to check off these bite-sized tasks allows for progress to happen faster, and more accomplishment to happen in phases – even if the overall, larger task takes a longer timeline to complete. Use whatever method of task planning is easiest and best for you here, whether on paper or digital.

 

2. When time blocking, keep it brief

So you’ve written out your tasks for the day – now it’s time to estimate how much time they’ll take, and block them out. Since you already wrote out your initial tasks in detail, there’s no need to write them out when you’re time blocking. Keywords are effective enough! And don’t forget to block out breaks like lunch, reading your favorite blog for 15 minutes, or watching the latest Bon Appétit video upload.

 

3. Be as realistic as possible when time blocking

Documenting your planned vs. actual schedule can help with this! Try not to short change yourself on the amount of time you think any given task will take. If you consistently underestimate how much time tasks take, pause and reassess. Regularly underestimating time blocking is going to bring stress, as it will constantly force you to shift your time blocks and feel upset about not completing all your to-do's. Better to give yourself a little too much time to start with, and if you finish early, you’re golden!

 

4. Allow for interruptions and breaks

First: it’s okay if unexpected calls or necessities take up parts of your day! It happens. Don’t let the day’s idiosyncrasies derail you when you come back to your planned schedule. Take the time to readjust and give yourself grace. Second: we recommend a schedule that allows you to work for 45 minutes straight – no interruptions, if possible – then give yourself a 15-minute timed break to check on your laundry, make a cup of tea, etc. After the 15 minutes are up, back to another 45-minute block! And so on.



5. Block in time for EOD wrap-up

    Be sure to block out time in your calendar for your next-day reset: cleaning up or packing up your space, writing out the following day’s schedule, etc. Knowing you have a set time frame for this will push you to get it done each day. Then the next morning, you’ll be ready to begin the day’s activities! For more on this, see our recent post, How to Structure Your Day When Working From Home

     

    Have you ever tracked your planned vs. actual schedule? We'd love to hear about how time tracking helped you. Let us know on Instagram!