Are you someone that has a schedule that feels like it’s always changing, especially when you least expect it?
If this sounds true for you, then I’ve got a question… How well do you deal with the unexpected challenges that life throws at you, especially when those challenges completely throw your entire day, week, or month off course?
It’s a hurdle that each and every one of us faces from time to time… Life has a funny (okay, maybe not-so-funny) way of throwing us curveballs in the form of sick kiddos at 4 AM, flat tires, forgotten lunches, heavy traffic, and so much more, particularly during those times when we feel like we are on the top of our game, right?
And when it happens, it often sends us into a complete tailspin that leaves us reeling and wondering how we will possibly recover and get back on track!
But here’s the thing… While these hurdles do come up, they don’t need to leave us feeling like we have lost complete control over our time, our schedule, or the tasks that we have on our plate.
This concept of control and taking back control of your calendar (no matter what!) is up for discussion this week on Episode 122 of the podcast… And it’s a big one, so I want to encourage you to check it out if you haven’t already!
One idea that we touch on in the episode is managing our schedule effectively, particularly if we find that our schedule isn’t necessarily as cut and dry as we might like for it to be each and every day.
So, keeping in tune with that idea, I want to focus on a few ways that you can set yourself up for success—no matter how often you find yourself face-to-face with a challenge you didn’t plan for!
Let’s jump in!
Even if you’re faced with a huge obstacle at some point in your day, having some sort of routine in place will help you feel calm even in the stormiest of weather.
We’ve talked about the importance of establishing a morning routine with yourself in mind before, so if you haven’t nailed one down into your daily life just yet… I encourage you to get to it this week!
The more prepared you are to take on your day mentally, the more effective you will be whenever a curveball comes your way.
If you find yourself with a schedule that is constantly changing, then having a planning system in place is another great way to tackle any of the out-of-control feelings that we discuss on the podcast this week.
One of my favorite ways to tackle the chaos of an ever-changing schedule is to take just ten minutes each morning to run down my task and priority lists, assess my energy level, and schedule in some time to attend to the most pressing tasks I’ve got on my plate.
While I personally use what I call the “Five P’s of Planning” to get a grip on my schedule, tasks, and related needs… You can easily implement a system that works best for you, your lifestyle, and your workload!
Refer to Episode 122 for a refresher on the Five Ps of Planning—and grab your free copy of my download to help you implement the Five Ps into your planning routine!
Cushioning your time by adding buffers into your schedule is a great way to get ahead of the game when life gets, well… a little dicey.
Instead of constantly underestimating your time—or worse, scheduling your entire week in advance, only to watch it fall apart when an unexpected hurdle pops up—focus on learning how to adjust to time instead by incorporating buffers!
For some extra help here, refer back to Episode 018 which is all about Building Buffers into Your Life!
Regardless of how often your schedule changes, chances are you have some tasks that crop up on your schedule every week or every month (or maybe even once per quarter or once per year).
No matter how often or how few and far between these tasks happen to be, creating automations for yourself can be a huge, huge time saver—and stress reliever to boot!
Automations can help you take much of the thinking out of the task itself, which translates into an easily managed (occasional) item on your agenda that will allow you to tackle it without hassle time and time again.
For help here, refer back to Episode 035… And don’t forget the free Scheduling Worksheet to help you create automations for yourself at home, at work, or in other areas in your personal life!
One of my favorite time-savers when it comes to my busy schedule comes in the form of batching tasks… which allows me to categorize related tasks and to organize my schedule so that I am setting aside time to complete them!
Another great way to get a handle on your schedule is by Time Blocking. Coupled with routines, time blocking is a great way to focus on doing things that really matter the most to you on any given day…
And done correctly, time blocking can help you lessen the likelihood that you’ll run into feelings of overwhelm and over-stress when you’re faced with a hurdle that poses to upend your entire day… which is something that we can all benefit from, right?
For a crash course on using time blocking to overcome your scheduling hurdles, refer back to Episode 094!
What are some of the ways that have helped you to get a better grip on a schedule that seems like it’s always changing? Share your experiences in the comments below… And check out Episode 122 of Productivity Paradox this week to learn all about my favorite planning system, the Five Ps, and how you can implement it into your daily life at home and at work!