I have been preaching [bragging as well] how scheduling and ruling your social commitments with an iron fist, divine omniscience and calculative prowess will make your existence easier. Chaos is inviting. It seems like you have all the time in the world and as is the case with me, I am prone to slacking off and wasting valuable time. So, if you are like me, new to Order [and yes, the capitalization is intentional] then this is a learning curve. June proved to be a time table small-scale apocalypse. I had a day job, finals, writing and my special online persona, so my scheduling skills were put to the test.
- Something had to give… Because no matter how well you fill your time, your body doesn’t do long hours with no benefits. In my case, I endured mini-comas.
- I had no masterful scheduling skills. But I learned valuable lessons, which I am presenting you as easy to swallow tips.
1. Write it down.
The moment you agree to do something and utter/mumble/scream YES, write the task along with the deadline on whichever material is closest. As long as you have the piece of paper or skin along for you to properly add to your schedule, then you are almost safe. Just never ever rely on your memory even for ten seconds, because the backstabber will have you recall a week after your deadline was due [yes, this happened to me]. This is especially important, when you are play the initiator and offer to do something [also the same case with me].
Don’t start with the fun tasks that you know you will enjoy. Never start with the shorter tasks either, simply because you will brag to friends how productive you have been. Take a nice, long look at the calendar. Then give your to-do list the same stare. Take a calculator. Do the math and prioritize according to urgency. I need to underline how tricking the dates seems. The 4th of June may seem far away in the future, when it’s only the 26th of May. The date is in a different month, you’d say [I had said so many times], but that is a little over a week and if you have several guest posts or a review on a 400/500 paged book [you have not yet read], then my friends, you are screwed [like I was screwed].
3. Never stop.
Once you develop the system, you better stick to it and not allow for circumstances to screw it over for chaos. Obviously, this is not possible, because things happen. You can be stuck in the middle of a clown convention that decided to hit the streets or maybe extraterrestrial donkeys are taking over the world. Survival cannot be scheduled and yes, I am using these outrageous examples to not involve the grim reality. The point here is mostly to have in mind that once the heated situation is over you need to bounce back in the scheduling shape or you will have lost of trouble organizing things back.
4. Say NO.
This one is easy. Until at least 1/3 of the longer commitments have been ticked off the to-do list, I advise you to reconsider agreeing to more. Now, this was for normal people. For those who know that NO is not an option: we all know you that you will say YES, despite the fact that even 48 hours in the day won’t help you. I am one of you and head banging has become a daily routine after I engage in whatever comes my way. To you I can say to accept more short term projects with less work required. Make sure you do not agree to be a regular at too many places [*clears throat*] and just strive towards moderation. Diminishing the level of business will simplify the whole organizational process.
5. Go digital.
I have a very personal relationship with paper and end up planning most of my activity on it. I have folders with neatly charted sheets, spiral bound notebooks and long range to-do lists based on the type of activity. However, this is the real world and not Disney, so paper won’t come alive and shove the pending deadline in your face. This is why, if you have not gone digital, set up a digital calendar with regular e-mail notifications. It’s human to forget to check what’s on the paper schedule and the e-mail notifications are invaluable in such situations [if I am to assume, you refresh your inbox every twenty seconds].