How do you manage your work schedule?
My schedule management has been in shambles since I graduated.
This is my third year in the workforce, and I’ve recently become reasonably good at self-managing my schedule. Here are five schedule management methods that I am currently practicing.
Step1 Grasp your tasks
You can’t make a schedule if you don’t know what you have to do.
In this step, you will prevent “missing tasks” as well as “knowing 100% of your current tasks“.
Make a note of the task as soon as it occurs
It would be best if you could write down tasks as soon as they occur on your schedule, but first it is important to understand your tasks so that there are no omissions.
Don’t put off thinking about the tasks that have occurred.
Step2: Organize the priority of tasks
Each task should have its own priority. If this priority is unclear, it can be confusing when scheduling.
In this step, we will clarify “in which order the tasks should be done“.
“Urgency and Importance Matrix”
There are various ways to prioritize tasks, but the method I practice is to classify tasks into four categories with urgency and importance in mind.
For a businessperson, the number of things that need to be done increases every minute. However, the reality is that time is limited. Even if you make a to-do list to get things done, the more items you have, the more difficult it becomes to get everything done.
This is where it becomes important to prioritize each task. One way to prioritize is to create a matrix with “urgency” and “importance” as the horizontal and vertical axes, and categorize all tasks into four areas.
(See: https://sp-jp.fujifilm.com/future-clip/visualization/ vol27.html)
One thing to keep in mind when doing this is to ignore your own opinions.
What you are interested in may not necessarily be of high importance, and what you are not interested in may be of high urgency. Focus only on the “importance” and “urgency” of the task.
Once you get used to it, it is GOOD to be able to do steps 1 and 2 at the same time.
Step3: Do the work that can be done immediately
We’ve come this far and we’re still not done with scheduling.
This is because among the many tasks, there are tasks that should be done immediately without scheduling. What kind of tasks are those?
Tasks that don’t take much time and are important
Of course, tasks with a high degree of urgency in the “urgency-importance matrix” mentioned in Part 2 should be done quickly.
However, tasks that are not urgent but can be done quickly have the following advantages.
- Reduces the number of items to consider when scheduling, thus reducing the burden
- You will feel like you are working fast
- Increases the level of trust from people around you
But if you’re too busy, you won’t be able to handle the tasks you need to insert.
That’s where schedule management comes in!
Step4: Estimate the man-hours and schedule
Now it’s time to get down to business.
Since you’ve organized your tasks and their priorities in the previous steps, you should have some idea of what you need to do this week and what you need to do today.
The next important keyword for scheduling is “estimate“.
Each task has its own priority, but each task takes a different amount of time.
If you make a mistake in estimating the number of man-hours, it is easy to cause delays in the schedule.
Manage your schedule with time to spare
You can try to come up with an estimate by yourself, or you can consult with your seniors.
However, things rarely go as expected.
Even if it’s not a happening, I’d like to save some time to do the “less time-consuming but important tasks” that I mentioned in Part 3.
For this reason, it is recommended to leave at least one hour of your day’s working hours free.
Step: A system for staying on schedule
The last step is to devise a system to do the tasks you have scheduled as they are scheduled.
Even if you have made a good schedule in the previous steps, it will be useless if you can’t carry out the tasks according to the schedule.
I think the important thing is to increase your awareness of the schedule.
Mixing the digital and the analog
In my case, I use a PC to manage my schedule, and in the morning of the day, I write bullet points on a paper notepad in the order of what I need to do today. Then I put a checkmark on each task as it is completed.
It’s easier and quicker to manage on a PC, but by taking the trouble to do it, you’ll be more aware of your schedule.
Finally, let’s talk about the important elements of schedule management
Finally, I would like to introduce one more important element in schedule management.
It is “goal management“.
What is the purpose of schedule management in the first place? .
In my opinion, it is to accomplish your tasks and achieve your goals.
Whether or not you are able to recognize the whole picture of your daily tasks is very useful for the “Organize task priorities” step mentioned in Part 2 and the “Raise awareness of the schedule” step mentioned in Part 5.
A recommended tool that supports such goal management is “Goalous”.