November 07, 2022
How To Schedule Better
"A plan is what, a schedule is when. It takes both a plan and a schedule to get things done." – Peter Turla
When I think of how to schedule better, one of the final scenes of the 1969 cartoon Frosty, The Snowman comes to mind. Near the end, Santa scolds the magician for stealing Frosty's hat. Santa tells him if he changes his ways and writes an apology so many times, he might find a present waiting Christmas morning. The magician scampers away saying he's going to be busy, busy, busy.
While I thought he'd be busy staying warm while trying to catch the next train south, the scene did bring up an issue with how some people schedule their time. Some have no idea how to make a productive schedule. Either there isn't enough on the calendar or there's too much. Sometimes what is scheduled isn't the best.
The problem may be that some people don't understand the importance and benefits of scheduling or maybe it's the proper process of creating a schedule that doesn't work. Let's delve into both aspects.
1. Organization. ("Bob, I have you scheduled for a meeting from 2-3 tomorrow morning. It's the only time I have available.")
I'm not saying you have to have every minute of the day planned out. That's one of the tips I'll discuss later. However, this is similar to how I create my stories. I outline instead of sitting down and just writing. I'd have no direction that way. Without a plan, the story would fall apart.
Schedules keep one organized. They put activities in order, so you don't forget something.
2. Schedules give you direction, a goal, and the ability to focus.
3. Courtesy. This is given and received when people follow a schedule. I recall a previous acquaintance who didn't adhere to a schedule. Not once in all our appointments did he show up on time. One day, he didn't show up at all. I try to value others' time. I expect others to understand the value of my time. Rarely do I show up at someone's house uninvited or without calling first. If the person is busy, no problem. I won't intrude or insist we meet.
4. Scheduling enhances and assists productivity. This is part of organizing and time management. A plan you can work with keeps you on track for getting the most out of work and play.
1. Find a system that works. ("No, Bob, I won't wake you every morning with a phone call.")
Do you use a wall calendar? Scheduling software? Reminders from the cell phone calendar or a smart speaker? Even the alarm clock is a simple scheduling device.
While a schedule does help keep you organized, you have to put some effort into the process. Perhaps memo notes stuck all over the place isn't the best method. Sticky notes don't work for me unless they're placed in a spot I won't miss. The most they accomplish is to set the activity in my mind so that I'll remember it before seeing the note.
2. Make your list. Take time to list your upcoming activities, 194, work projects, reservations and anything else to be remembered. ("No Bob, you cannot add a midmorning nap to the work calendar.")
3. Prioritize. As you're putting the items on the schedule, pay attention to those that are important and urgent. Don't neglect what needs to be done. This is one of the reasons why you schedule.
4. Don't overschedule. Having every minute planned isn't beneficial or productive. For example, if travel time takes thirty minutes, leave early enough in case of delays from an accident or road construction.
When scheduling, take into account the unexpected.
5. Diligence. If you want positive results, follow through. ("Bob, you're scheduled to crawl under the trailer and clean out the wasp nests. Get to it.")
You prepared the schedule, so you have to put in the effort to complete it.
6. Delegate. Sometimes, you get more done if you elicit assistance. This is beneficial for both home projects and workplace jobs. Don't take it all on yourself unless you're sure you can meet any deadlines or aren't cutting into other activities.
7. Say no. ("No Bob, I won't free climb El Capitan with you next weekend.")
Sometimes you have to decline an activity. You're busy with something else at the time; you're not interested, or another of a variety of reasons. Maybe another time works better, and you can delay until then. Just don't feel that you have to say yes to every request.
8. Break time. Yep, schedule breaks. Ten minutes away from the computer gives you time to refresh and re-energize.
9. Fun time. It's not nose-to-the-grindstone all of the time. Remember the life-work balance. Fun can be binge-watching television shows or a weekend getaway with the spouse. You'd find an increase in productivity if you take time to enjoy activities outside of work.
10. Review. After you complete a segment of the schedule, review it to judge the results. Did you accomplish the daily goals? If not, find adjustments that will help you the next time. If yes, great. Remember what happened and see if you can improve upon it.
Maintenance department supervisors find the scheduling feature in a computerized maintenance management system to be highly beneficial. Remember, scheduling helps you be better organized. So, using a CMMS to schedule preventive maintenance and other work orders lets you take into account many of the above points. Lists of PMs, prioritization, delegation, and reviewing and measuring productivity.
Scheduling is important for both personal and professional lives. You stay on top of important appointments and jobs and have better time management. Yes, a decent schedule takes some time to put together. Like other skills, though, the more you practice, the better you'll become.
With a CMMS working for you, asset, inventory, and work order management are improved. You'll be able to see the organization through the CMMS scheduler. You'll have a nice overview of upcoming jobs for the day, the week, the month, and longer.
For an easy-to-use CMMS, call Mapcon Technologies. 800-922-4336 gets you scheduled for a free demonstration. Ask to see the MAPCON calendar. Call today and make your appointment.