The Art of Scheduling Productively

The Art of Scheduling Productively

Scheduling is an art. Personally or professionally, it can be hard to do, but worth it. Here is a step-by-step walkthrough to do it effectively.

Another routine workday has passed. You signed in early. You clocked out late. And yet, you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything productively. For this to happen is easier than you may imagine.


In the current scenario, whether working from home or in office, you’re facing a barrage of endless meetings, with a volley of interruptions, and urgent last-minute tasks. In other words, you end up being busy all day, without any progress made on your top priorities.


This is exactly why one needs to master the art of scheduling productively. Let’s have a look at how  to do this. In the process you not only can make the necessary time for work that matters, you still can ensure there’s a work-life balance as well.


So what exactly is scheduling?


It’s the planning of activities to help accomplish goals and priorities in the time frame that you have at your disposal. Scheduling helps you to not just keep your deliverables SMART, but also allows additional time for anything unforeseen, and avoiding taking on more than you can handle. Much as we say time is money, we can’t buy it, yet more often than not, we waste it or use it ineffectively.


So how do we schedule our time?


Recognizing a problem is the first step to solving it. Setting a time to address it is the next. So set a regular time to do your scheduling – this can be part of managing your weekly review calls. Nothing beats the classic pen and paper in order to keep it simple and jot everything down.


But in a time such as the present where meetings and deliverables are constantly moved or cancelled at the last minute, what then? For deliverables, apps and software such as Google Calendar or MS Outlook would help, depending on how it is a fit to your business situation, job structure and budget.


Calls, however are a bit more fluid. A fluid situation would mean that meetings are not always set in concrete. For this, a good tool would be needed, not just in the ability to call many, but to also effectively schedule or handle calls instantly depending on the situation. That’s where MultiCall comes in as a solution.


A MultiCall, brings people together, and gives everyone the right and ability to contribute value to the conversation. In doing so, one of its most noted features is Call Scheduling, the handling of which you can explore here.


Step 1: Identify Available Time


Start with answering this question:


How much time do I want to make available for my work?


Remember it should reflect the structure of your work and your life as well. Going for a promotion perhaps? It then might be wise to put in an extra mile each day to show your dedication. But if you need plenty of time for any out-of-work activities, you might decide to do your allocated hours only.


Step 2: Schedule Essential Actions


Next, prioritize first the deliverables you absolutely do a good job. Yes, ideally all of them should be done well, but the priority first falls on your core responsibilities; what you are assessed in. For example, if you manage people, make sure that you have enough time available to deal with team members' personal issues, coaching, and supervision needs. Also, allow time to communicate with your boss and key people around you.



Step 3: Schedule High-Priority Activities


What’s on your To-Do List? The high-priority and urgent activities are to go first. But of course, there are essential tasks that can neither be delegated nor avoided. These also come first too.  But besides the tasks themselves, try to arrange these for the times of day when you are most productive. Are you a morning person? Or do you find late evenings to somehow be more productive?



Step 4: Schedule Time for Contingencies


When something fails, you usually have contingencies set to limit or prevent potential issues. This is critical to scheduling too. Schedule some extra time to deal with any contingencies or emergencies that occur.  Not scheduling this time can result in emergencies still happening, resulting in working late.


Disruptions that happen frequently can consume your time faster than you  realize. Learning to manage this can reduce the amount of contingency time you need to set aside. Of course, some disruptions, specially in this day and age, will be hard to predict, but leaving the time for it in your schedule gives you the flexibility needed for rearranging tasks and respond to important issues as and how they surface.



Step 5: Schedule Discretionary Time


Still have space in your agenda planner, right? That space can be utilized as "discretionary time". In simple terms this is the time that is available to deliver on whatever priorities you have, and to achieve your goals. Review your prioritized To-Do List previously mentioned. Check your personal goals as well. Once this is done, evaluate the time needed to achieve them, and schedule it.



Step 6: Analyse Your Activities


With action comes reaction. With an outcome, comes feedback. As and how you have proceeded through all of the previous steps, circle back and question whether all of the mentioned tasks that you entered are actually necessary. We’re not saying it’s unimportant, it’s just that it can be delegated or tackled in a way that’s more efficient and effective. Did some task really need a face-to-face meeting? Or could a simple MultiCall have sufficed?


One of the keys to success is to maximize the leverage on how much you can achieve with your time.  Increasing the amount of work you complete by delegating to other people, outsourcing  key tasks, or  This will free you up to achieve your goals.  In the process, you may need to renegotiate  your workload. Remember, you can always ask for help! Using and showing your schedule will also attest to all your commitments and work output, demonstrating to your superiors about your good organizations skills, making them more receptive to the requests you have.
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