The Trick to Creating an Effective Schedule | Giftie Etcetera: The Trick to Creating an Effective Schedule

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Trick to Creating an Effective Schedule

Some people have set schedules. Work at 8 a.m., lunch with a friend at 11:30 a.m., and t-ball game at 6 p.m.

The rest of us live in the real world, where schedules are often subject to change. We might have to account for traffic or put aside an indeterminate time period of a determinate duration (like 2 hours for grocery shopping).

There are some tricks that people with paper planners can use to create a flexible, reasonable schedule.

schedule, planner

1. Use a pencil or erasable ink pen.

I like Frixion pens because they write smoothly.

2. Put set time events on the schedule FIRST.

My kid has karate tonight. It goes between 7:30 and 8:15 p.m.

3. Add slashes for travel time.

Credit for this idea goes to Tina McBrien, a member of the Giftie Etcetera Facebook group.

4. Add time specific tasks.

Dinner must be cooked at 5 p.m. Normally, dinner doesn't even merit a place on the schedule, but with karate, I have to cook early, and I'll be freezer cooking tonight, so there is lots of time-sucking stuff to do.

5. Use brackets to place time-sucking stuff that must be done at a non-determinate time.

I have to work 5 hours today and do a ton of laundry. The brackets indicate that while the "when" is flexible, the "what" must be done.

TIP: If using electronic scheduling:

You can put slashes around appointments requiring travel time.


You can also put brackets around movable stuff.

{Work - 5.0 hours}

Happy scheduling!


8 comments: said...

I like the slashes for travel time. I'll have to try that.

Inner Prop said...

I estimate the travel time and add it into the event/appointment on the Google calendar. Then I record the actual time of the event in the comments block.

I'm not completely happy with it.

On the other hand I had tried to schedule travel expressly and separately. I found I could not be disciplined enough to do this every time and it cluttered up the calendar.

KariP said...

If the destination is somewhere familiar, all I seem to manage are squiggly lines before and after the appointment. However, if the place is unfamiliar, I'll Goggle first, then take their estimate and tack on an extra half hour, to allow for traffic and getting lost. That travel time gets blocked off.

Jaime Barfield said...

I love these ideas. I still use a regular ink pen in my planner, simply because my desk looks like the pen isle at office depot and I've been trying to use what I already have. Eventually I plan to try erasable pens. I hear they are great.

Mary Wimbley said...

Jaime - Trust me, once you try those Frixion pens, you'll never go back to a regular pen again except for writing checks. I'm serious. I even went thru my pens and gathered up a bunch to bring to work with me. I'm giving them away to students. You might think I'm nuts (well, I am anyway, but that's beside the point) for gushing on and on about these pens, but they really are awesome. Go ahead and open that pack I gave you! Live a little! lol

Kelley said...

And tips like these are what keeps me coming back time and time again. Thank you so much for sharing! I love the idea of the slashed lines for travel time and the brackets for movable blocks!

Unknown said...

If I were planning by time, I would be factoring travel time into my appointments/places to be. Right now, I am not doing any time based stuff, but keep in the back of my head either way that I have x-appointment at y-time, and know I need to leave by z. That's just how my brain works - always has. For example, the grocery store opens at 7, so I need to leave by 6:45 so I can be there first thing (when it's nice and quiet!), that's just...well, what I do.
I do like your bracket system - and that it allows you to see both tasks during the same time frame!

Anonymous said...

Great ideas! I'm so glad you joined Planners to Done, I would have never found you.