New Year, New Habits: Scheduling + Planner Hacks
Welcome to my 2022 New Year, New Habits Series!
We're kicking things off with Scheduling and Planner Hacks. Why? A great way to get started on new healthy habits is to work on your time management so that you have time for your new healthy habits...
I've found that Scheduling and Planner hacks are a great way to get yourself a bigger plate. When you find that you have too much on your plate, it's easy to revert to removing things from that plate. Instead, I suggest getting a bigger plate. The first step in getting a bigger plate, is managing what is on it.
My Scheduling and Planner hacks come from years of expanding my plate through trial and error and through some research into time management best practices. Today, I am sharing tasks with you that have worked for me and are relatively easy to implement.
Batching similar tasks is a great way to save time. It's as simple as putting similar tasks together and doing them one after another, instead of sprinkling them throughout your other tasks.
For example, if my task list has a customer invoice, a call to make, emails to answer, excel customer contact management tasks, a purchase order to create and a customer invoice update, I put the two invoices and purchase orders together. Batching all excel related tasks together allows me to complete them faster because I start to get into a groove.
Task batching is also a great way to break up tedious tasks. For example, if you have a few things to do that are very tedious, you can split them and add in some fun-related tasks in between.
When I am organizing my task list, I like to batch the tasks in such a way that'll be efficient, but also prevent me from getting tired and drained.
I cannot stress enough the importance of taking breaks. Not only from the screen hurting your eyes, but also movement breaks. Our minds and bodies get tired sitting at a computer all day, so take a break!
My Alexa is set to remind me to look away from my screen every hour. This allows my eyes a break and also reminds me to take a breath. Additionally, I like to take movement breaks. I take one large one around lunchtime and then get up and walk around for 60-90 seconds at least 2-3 other times throughout the day.
Calendar + Task Tracking Tools
I live for a good calendar tool and a good task tracker. To be clear, these are two separate things. My calendar is run via Microsoft Outlook and it talks to all of my devices, so my calendar is always at my fingertips. I schedule in most of my daily tasks in blocks so that I know when I'll be doing what and to ensure I've given myself time for each thing.
Task trackers are essentially to-do lists. That said, they should be more comprehensive and easier to manage than merely a sheet of paper and pen. I use excel to track my tasks. It allows me to move items up and down in priority and also track notes so that I can keep track of what stage of the task I'm in.
One of the great things about these tools is that they allow you to forget items when you aren't actively working on them. Our brains can only take so much at one time. Keeping a calendar and task lists allows us to use our brain power for the task at hand, knowing that we have a list of the other items on deck for whenever we're ready to address the next thing.
Looking for some Planning and Time Management tools? Check out my PDF worksheets here.