Q:

How do you create a schedule?

A:

Quick Answer

Creating a schedule is a matter of mapping one's priorities onto the time available to accomplish them. A good schedule avoids overscheduling, creates buffers of time to accommodate interruptions and allows for regular breaks.

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Full Answer

Lay out the amount of time available during a set period, such as a week or day. Blocking in mandatory tasks and already scheduled events, such as staff meetings, helps provide definition to the schedule.

The next step is to figure out which tasks have the highest priority and allot time to them, according to Mind Tools. Sufficient time should be given to each task, with the awareness that one of the biggest mistakes made in scheduling is overestimating how much may get done in a given period of time.

Creating a schedule also requires setting aside buffer zones to allow tasks to run overtime. Meetings run over, traffic causes delays, deadlines get moved up and tasks take longer than the time allotted to them. Creating margins of time with no tasks assigned to them makes it possible to get a schedule back on track. Along with these margins, contingency time should be blocked in to allow for major interruptions.

Every schedule should include some regular breaks to allow for mental and physical recharging. Getting away from the workplace at lunch time or stopping for a cup of coffee or a brief walk makes it possible to return to work with full focus.

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