Weekly Planner

Scheduling Hacks to Make the Most of Your Time

You have a lot going on right now...and a lot more you should be doing. The big issue is that you have zero time for anything that isn’t urgent. You’re planning, but something unexpected pops up everyday. How do you deal with that? Check out our top 10 scheduling tips that will help you schedule like a pro so you finish that to-do list.

1. Get the things that stress you out most out of the way first

Looking at a long to-do list can cause a rush of immediate panic. In reality, some of your tasks might be quick wins, things that take just a few minutes, and are not the items  causing your stomach to flip. Find the things that you’re really worried about and prioritize completing them first. Having those out of the way will allow you to relax so you can complete the others with less anxiety.

2. Don’t forget to budget for travel and preparation time when you have to go somewhere

When meetings or appointments have a specific start and end time, they seem to fit together like Tetris pieces, but it’s not that easy. Often, things start late, run over time, or require preparation time before you’re ready to walk into the room. If you’re wondering why you’re always late to everything consider if you plan the appropriate time to get there and get ready. Are your time estimates accurate? Did you factor in time to get into your car, pick the right music, and text your friend back before driving off? The coffee shop you visit every morning is down the street but when you factor in traffic and a long line, it does not take the 5 mins you think it will to get your morning brew. Be realistic and check Google Maps for an accurate ETA if you need something to keep you in check. When you’re getting ready to go somewhere, budget more than the minimum time it takes you to get ready. You never know when a hold up is going to arise and leaving the house will take much more time than you expected.

3. Be strict with the time you budget for tasks that are easy to procrastinate

Budget your time and stick to it. Spending too much time on at one activity will back up everything else on your list. If you can’t complete something in a set amount of time, figure out when you can finish it and make sure you plan for a realistic time allowance next time.

4. If something unexpected pops up, don’t wait to rearrange your schedule

Things WILL happen that throw off your schedule. Instead of letting one surprise event throw you off entirely, immediately re-evaluate your calendar and think about what can be shifted where so you don't miss a beat.

5. Stick to plans you make in advance

It can be tempting to reschedule things you’re not in the mood to do that day, but that habit is a rotten one. Hold yourself accountable for every single thing you agree to. If you avoid it now, it will likely come up again later more urgently. If you let yourself skip one little thing, it’s not going to be as big of a deal to you to skip more and more.

To do list

6. Group similar tasks together in your schedule

Newton had it all figured out when he found that an object in motion wants to stay in motion. When you’re in the mood for a specific type of task, stay on that train of thought for as long as possible so you can keep your momentum going and be more productive.

7. Say no

This is so simple and important, yet so difficult. When people you care about ask you to help them out, you want to say yes every single time. Although it may seem like the right thing to do, it could come at a greater cost to your needs. The things you say no to can often be just as important as the things you say yes to. Think about the about the impact of everything you’ve committed to, or plan to commit to. What matters most and what will take time away from things that matter?

8. Tackle your task list in order

Number your to-do list in order of priority. Do NOT stray from that order. It may seem tempting to start multiple things at once, but that will kill your concentration.

9. Find enjoyment in mundane tasks

When you start to dread doing something before you even start it, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You know you procrastinate things you don’t like, so flip the switch on your mentality! If you have to do something that isn’t exactly your favorite, try to think of a way to find some good in it and focus on that. A positive mindset can be a huge time saver!

10. Think about what outcomes your actions now will have in the future

Although something might not be an immediate need today, taking the time to make the things that matter a priority now will have a giant impact on your future. An online education means you can go to  school on your time, but it’s important to budget in classwork like you would you job. The sooner you complete your certificate or degree, the sooner you can start applying to the jobs you really want and improve your quality of life.

At Penn Foster, you’re responsible for staying on top of your studies in a self-paced program. Have a study plan and stick to it! If you’re feeling lost, call us or reach out in the student community because Penn Foster can help! Once you get into a routine of sticking to these scheduling tips, budgeting your time will get easier. Your future self will thank you.