If you're lost on what building has to do with time management, the intro post will help you start at square one so that this stage is a breeze.
Now that we've put together all of our tasks into groups it's easier to assemble all of the pieces. As much fun as it is to dive in, look at your goals one day at a time. For my example, I'm going to say that "Day 1" is Sunday, but know that your "Day 1" should be a relative day of rest before you jump into the week. If you need to change things up a bit because your life doesn't mold to the 7-day week model, that's okay, too. Make your test period match your own life.
Gather Your Materials
Includes Affiliated Links
Do you have your notecards sorted by priority? Do you have a pen? Do you have a notebook or other paper as well as your schedule? Awesome! Let's get started.
Making the Schedule
Preparing the Schedule
Make Sure You're Ready
Take one last look for any appointments that you wrote down in a notebook in your purse. Complete the task building from the previous post (linked above).
Think about where you tend to be emotionally through your day. Do you have a hard time waking up? Are you emotionally fried by 3:00? Are you so hungry you can't stand it by 5:00?
Write down any patterns you find on a separate piece of paper when it comes to emotions, so we can schedule the right breaks and tasks to minimize problems in your day.
Do the kids always wake up from a nap at a certain time? Are they dying of hunger and need a snack at 10? Does your husband/wife come home at a consistent (ish) time? What time do you usually have work meetings? Are you constantly helping your spouse get out of the door on time?
Write these down next to your emotional notes. This can help you avoid snapping if you're interrupted consistently and maybe help you plan a task that is near the solution to your interruption or make the task set lighter to avoid problems.
Use your notecards to easily shuffle around task groups without erasing, ripping papers, or deleting everything on your document to fix one little thing.
Set Your Appointments
Anything that you agreed to do at a specific time, do those first. Everything else can be wiggled around a bit, but these are set in stone.
Set Your Mandatory Anchors
Your "anchors" are going to be consistent nearly every day. They are your routines. You wake up, have breakfast, start work (or someone does), have lunch, finish work (if not you, your spouse), family time, eat dinner, and go to bed. These things will (almost) always happen, so it's important to start with what we know.
YES, family time is mandatory and needs to be consistent. This is the time that even if you're sucked into a project you will force yourself to be present.
Important/Urgent (At least one!)
These are time-sensitive and they must be done well. So look at your deadline and the time it takes to do the task group.
The longest task that has the closest deadline gets the distraction-free, emotionally balanced time slot, and a 30-minute break immediately after. Trust me. You need the time to emotionally celebrate the win and then take a few breaths to let the stress actually leave.
If you have another task that's due on the same day, add that task. If the work required is high for this task group, take your next 30-minute break. If it's low, you can stick to a 15-minute break.
DO NOT fill this day entirely with Important/Urgent tasks. It's tempting, but you'll be emotionally drained at the end of the day. Try to spread your load where you can.
You promised to look over your cousin's manuscript, but you only see him 3 times a year. Look for a time when things aren't hectic, but if one or two small distractions that you can predict are there don't stress about it too much.
Make sure to plan for the distraction and prep your space for fixing it. I suggest making a symbol on your planner to let you know that there's an extra caveat to this time. Maybe a squirrel sticker?
This should still be in a place where emotions aren't high.
If you still have a 30-minute break, put it here.
First, take a minute to decide if these are worth holding on to. Scheduling family Christmas photos might be worth it, but that sale..? Maybe not. All of your tasks take up emotional space in your day, so use your time slots wisely.
If it is still a must-do then these can be done when you are not actively distracted, but maybe more emotionally spent. If you can leave the house and do these tasks without extra people, that can be a bonus.
Plan on having a 15-minute break after these task groups.
Not Important/Not Urgent
These must be a pure fun sort of thing or trivial enough that it's worth doing. If you have a break in the day, squeeze these in around your other task groups.
Even these can need a 15-minute break to help you get in the zone for something else.