Today’s musings are all about scheduling and priorities.

So schedules, calendars, to do lists whatever you want to call them – hardly the most exciting of things, but so important as what gets scheduled gets done.  And your schedule is a reflection of your priorities, you can say that you put your family time first, but do you really?  Is it in your schedule and if it is will you move it if some important ’work-thing’ comes along?  Your schedule needs to be aligned with your values, if it’s not then it won’t work.

You First
So for me, I have a scheduled personal training session at 8am every Wednesday, it’s in the diary and it doesn’t move, I have agility training sessions that are scheduled and these don’t move either – there are plenty more hours in the day to get the other stuff done.  These are always at fixed time and they become habit so in my head when I book meetings etc. these times are already fixed.  It sounds like a daft thing to do right?  Putting dog training or fitness training over a work meeting, but you need to look after yourself first, my fitness is important to me, and the dogs riot if they don’t get their session (good luck getting any work done around 4 unexercised border collies!). So ask yourself what are your important non-movable personal things?  Always missing your kid’s sporting event? School play etc? Never getting to the gym? Get it in the schedule – and fix it there.

The Working Day – You First
So what to do with the work time you have? Most people start their day by looking at their emails, but by doing this you are prioritising everyone else’s stuff ahead of your own, sure they are important but they don’t have to be looked at before you have even had your morning brew. Your inbox is essentially someone else’s to-do list.

I start my day with what we call here PDT time – Personal Development Time – between 7.30 and 9am watching webinars, reading, fitness training (Wednesday!) or working on a personal project – this is my time not client time.  What this means is that I get 7.5 hours a week done on my stuff – that’s a whole day every week, and I do it before anyone is even looking for me.  It also means I start my client day in a good frame of mind as I’ve already got a load of my stuff done. On days when I have meetings this time becomes podcasts or audiobooks in the car.

Daily Planning – Your Day, Your Way
For planning the days’ work I have 3-5 things scheduled in that I am going to get done that day, I use trello.com to organise it all – if you’ve never looked at it – do – it’s brilliant. At the end of the previous day I organise the following days tasks, in order of what I am going to do.  I schedule admin time for 9-10am to deal with emails and minor tasks then after that is project work. I also try not to put meetings in the afternoon as otherwise I spend all morning clock watching and not being productive.

Key Points

  • Schedule your personal priorities into your calendar and then don’t move them
  • Start the day with some learning, or your own project – achieving YOUR stuff before starting someone else’s
  • Your inbox is someone else’s to-do list
  • Plan it all the night before and hit the ground running

So it all sounds like me, me, me right? Well yes, if I am going to do the best work I can for clients I need to get my own act together first.

It’s YOUR schedule – act like it!

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