So, it’s Monday morning and you are on your way to work. You are committed that this week is going to be different, that you will do all the stuff you have planned this week. No more not going to the gym or reading that book. Truth is you will be lucky to do 40% of these things.
I was frustrated with the fact that I had the best intentions each week and each week ‘things’ got in the way. I always did my best to get every task done but it felt like a battle rather than just getting the jobs done.
In work I have always had systems to making sure that I get everything done and I was thinking, why don’t I do something similar for home? This is when I came up with the idea of a social calendar.
So, let’s put it this way. You know on Monday that you have X amount of tasks to complete and in reality you have about Y amount of free time in the week. Do you really know how you use all of those Y hours, or how much time each of the X tasks takes you?
This is when I came up with the idea of keeping track of all these free hours. Basically you create a new calendar in google calendar by clicking the little arrow next to “My calendar” and “Create calendar”. I called my “Social” but you can name yours what ever you want.
The idea works under the theory that in life things happen that will prevent you doing a tasks on a given day. This is why one evening of your week needs to be your buffer day. The rest of the week you need to map out everything that you doing with the hours you are not either working or sleeping.
This system makes you think about how your are using up those Y hours and how many hours you are spending on each task. Plus when I say everything, then everything goes in here. If you are going to watch T.V. one night, then that goes in there, if you are making breakfast then commuting then this goes in there.
After a while you will start to get a picture for how you are spending your time. Plus which of the tasks that you are doing are eating up most of your spare time. It comes very apparent if you are spending too much time just watching T.V. or traveling to go out.
You will also start to know exactly what day and time you will do that chore that is playing on your mind. Or if you have to go see a friend and need to remember to take something with you then just put that in the calendar object. This comes particularly useful for such tasks as doing the weekly shopping. As soon as you remember something that you want to pick up then just add it to the list.
This system will also let you know when your friends ask, can you come out in town on Friday and you had plans, you now know where you can fit that meeting with your friend in.
What is the purpose of the buffer day you ask? Well no one thinks you are a robot and can do everything exactly on the day and time that you said you would do it. This is where the buffer day comes in. If you find a task that you need to miss and can’t fit in then move it to your buffer day. This way you have that fundamental spare time and freedom to move tasks.
What is the disadvantage? Well this means you are going to have to get used to actually doing what you said your would do when you said you would do it. Plus you are going to have to keep your new calendar updated. Not a lot of work really if you think about it. This is a very small trade off for becoming super productive.
The key to anything like this is that excellence come from habit. If you keep doing something then very quickly it becomes habit and you forget that you are doing it. That is the key, you soon forget this and start to reap the rewards.
Key Points :
- Try your best to be as accurate as possible about how long a task will take you
- Be honest with yourself, don’t play to run, weights and then write a winning novel in one night. It just isn’t going to happen and you will fail
- If a task does slip then it moves to next week. Before you assign any other spare time then assign this task. If you didn’t read that book and you want to read another bit of that book then you stick those two tasks together and you read that book darn it
- Motivate yourself, this won’t work unless you stick to it
- Be patient, it might take you a work or two of getting the right amount of time for each task and knowing what you can fit in.
So, give it a go. Get organised and stop depending on yourself to just remember everything.