How to make schedules (and stick to them)

Whether you want to start new habits or live a more organised life, scheduling is an excellent tool for productivity. When I have a schedule, I find myself slacking off less and getting the job done.

Scheduling helps ease your willpower. When you have to think what to do every time, you are more likely to choose fun activities rather than productive activities. When you have scheduled and pre-determined the times when you will do specific work, you are less likely to slack off. Let’s get started!

Baby steps

Remember that you are making some changes in your daily life and it is not going to be easy. So, take it slow and introduce new habits slowly, over a span of days and weeks; not in one single day. For starters: begin scheduling a few hours of time after you wake up and a few hours before you fall asleep. Build schedules slowly. If you do it too much at a time, you will fail and forget about scheduling altogether.

Keystone Habit

What is that one difficult task, when done, will motivate you to get the others done easily? Do that task first thing in the morning. This builds momentum and accelerates productivity. When you have done the most important task, your stress reduces drastically and you are more motivated to work on the other tasks too!

Schedule breaks

Make sure to include fun activities between work. When you schedule breaks, you know while working that soon it will be break time. This makes you more likely to focus on work because you know you will enjoy the break later. Don’t add addictive activities which will make you unfulfilled at the end like internet browsing, gaming etc. Go for a walk, take a deep breath and meditate, read something inspiring, listen to good music etc.

Instead of time-bound tasks, join to existing habits

Connect a new habit to an old habit and make use of the ‘snowball effect’ by gradually joining more habits. It’s like a snowball rolling down a snowy slope. It grows in size. For example, this is what I do in the morning after freshening up: Write in journal – Meditate – Sip soy milk coffee and write. Start with one habit and slowly build more habits around it. After some time when you get used to this, if you miss one habit in the loop, you will feel something’s missing. After years of writing in journal in the morning and at night, I feel weird if I go to bed without writing!

Buffer time

Scheduling is done wrongly when you pack tasks too close together in your calendar. Make sure you have sufficient time in between tasks. If you think this task will take you 1 hour, schedule 1.5 hours to that task. This is to be done in case some problems crop up, you might get discouraged for breaking the schedule. Since you have a buffer zone, you still have time.

Work in pomodoro sessions

Pomodoro is a technique wherein you include time-bound sessions of work and play. The most common method of pomodoro I recommend is (25 minutes of focused work + 5 minutes of break ) X 3 = 90 minutes of work. At the end of 3 such sessions, take a long break of 15-30 minutes. I use this method for studying and it works great.
Some people go for (50mins+10mins)X3. Experiment and find out what works for you.

 

That’s it for this week! Try out these techniques and let me know in the comments what works for you. Any suggestions to add to this?

 

Book of the week:

Vilfredo Pareto created a revolutionary principle. Known as the Pareto’s principle or the rule of 80-20, the core of this principle lies in the fact, that 80 percent of the results which one receives in a field of activity is a result of 20 percent of the efforts.

In case of business, merely 20 percent of the customers help in generating 80 percent of the revenue. This principle is developed and presented in a systematic way by Richard Koch. He not only explains the intricacies of the principle but also goes a step ahead by explaining the reasons that make this principle work.

It is a secret used by highly successful people, which is made known to the common man through this book.

Help support the website by clicking the image above and buying the book. Every purchase will get me a small percentage of the earnings which will help in maintaining and improving this website.

Check out my picks for Best books!

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