Time Management

The One Habit That Will Keep You On Schedule

by Rachael Vandendool

Today I am going to share with you the one habit that will keep you on schedule and not miss out on what is important in your life.

I got serious about time management a while back (aka what this blog is all about), and I created a schedule to make sure my work-life areas were balanced.

The schedule was beautiful.

I knew what had to be done. I knew when I had to do it. I knew that if I didn’t stop when I needed to and move onto the next task, the other areas of my life would suffer for it.

BUT I was a schedule rebel, and I sabotage my schedule regularly.

I had many good reasons for sabotaging my schedule, but my main reason was I didn’t want to lose my train of thought.

And so my schedule got out of control.

Who needs lunch?

Who needs breaks?

Who needs to stop and make supper?

Who needs to spend time with my loved ones?

I do!

I wasn’t taking breaks, I wasn’t eating properly, I wasn’t giving myself enough time to make supper at night, and my relationships were suffering for it.

I was grumpy, I was tired, and I wasn’t very productive.

I didn’t want to stop my creative flow, and the other areas of my life were taking the hit.

So I developed a habit, that I am going to share with you in this post, this habit will help you stay on schedule when the creative juices are flowing.

Why You Can’t Complete Your Task

One of the main reasons for not sticking to a schedule is that you are working on a project or task, and you can’t complete it in the block of time that you have scheduled for it.

There are many reasons why you can’t complete a task in the block of time you have scheduled for it.

You might know when you start that the task is not going to get done in the scheduled block of time. Maybe you are working on a big project, or you don’t have large blocks of time available in your day.

Another reason why you might not be able to complete a task in the time you have scheduled for it is that you ran into problems or issues with the job that slowed you down.

Finally, you might underestimate the time you needed to complete the task. For example, you thought it was only going to take you 2 hours to write that blog post, but it is taking you 4.

There are a lot of reasons why you can’t complete a task.

However, the important thing to know is that you need to stop the task when the time is up.

Otherwise, those other areas of your life that need your time and attention will suffer for it.

The One Habit That Keeps You On Schedule

For me, the big issue that was causing me not to want to stop what I was doing and move onto my next scheduled task was that I didn’t want to lose my train of thought.

If I stopped now, how was I ever going to get back to this?

So I developed this habit.

Whenever a task took longer than a time block, I labeled that task as a project.

Sometimes projects last a couple of time blocks, sometimes they last months. Sometimes they never end.

For each project, I keep a project journal.

I schedule time at the end of a scheduled time block to write in the project journal.

I write down what I had done during that session, what I wanted to do when I came back, and the train of thought I was in.

I also schedule time at the begging of the schedule time block to review my project journal from the last time I worked on that project.

Project Journal

A project journal can be anything, such as a notebook, a word document, or these handy binder pages. {Free} When you sign up for my newsletter below!

Keep your project journals organized to make it easy to find the project journal you need when it is time to work on a specific project.

If you are using a notebook, either get one for each project or if that is too big, tab out your notebook, giving you enough room to journal for each project.

For a Word document, have one for each project.

For the binder pages, use dividers or separate your binder for each project.

Finally, I also keep an overview journal for each workday, at the end of each day, I write down what I have done and what I need to do on my next workday.

How Much Time You Should Schedule

How much time you should schedule depends on how much time you are already planning on spending on the tasks.

For me, if it is a project that takes me 2 hours or longer, I would schedule a 5 min journal time at the end of my time block, and a 5 min review time at the beginning.

If it is a project that takes me less than 2 hours, I will schedule a 2-3 min journal and review time.

The Results

When I first started the habit of scheduling in time to write in and review the project journal, it was to help me solve the problem I was having with not wanting to stop a task because I didn’t want to lose my train of thought.

>Keeping a project journal helped me to know it was ok to stop and that I would get back on my train of thought quicker next time I was able to work on that project again.

However, it also helped me develop a routine that helped me overcome other forms of procrastination.

Routines are a great way to overcome procrastination. Like when you procrastinate because you don’t want to do the next task, or because you are passionate about the task you are working on.

Routines can keep you on track and help you be able to transition from one task or project to the other when it is time to do so.

Keeping a project journal and scheduling time to write in it and review it, was a significant breakthrough in helping me stick to my schedule.

I take better breaks, I stop when I should be spending time with loved ones, and I almost get supper ready on time.

This is another Time Management Tip that helps you stay organized and get the things done in your life that are important to you. For More Time Management Tips check out this post 16 Time Management Tips for Busy Entrepreneurs.

 

Rachael

Hey Lovely! I’m Rachael! I help entrepreneurs grow their online business with tips and tricks for online marketing.

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