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Utilize Strategic Scheduling to Stay Sane, Organized and Prioritized! 

Got a lot on your plate? Me too.  It seems like you can hardly run into an old friend without hearing how busy they are, or perhaps you are sharing how busy you are as you hurriedly bust out a quick catch up.


It seems like no matter how much we all intend to slow down, or begin to say no to some things… it seems like nearly everyone’s schedule is too full.


All of this rushing, and doing, is taking a toll.  Sometimes the toll is health related as we find ourselves sick and having to slow down.  Other times the consequence of this pace and disorganization takes a toll on our partner or children.  


There is a better way… it can begin with pausing long enough to consider if we are doing enough of the right things, and how we can do less of the things that don’t align with our values and life mission. 


That is the key and the beginning of strategic scheduling.


In other words, it’s not just about time management, it’s about rethinking and reconsidering what you should be doing more of, less of, and the same… according to you, and not some other dictating voice in your head! ( the should messages that come from others).


Once we have clarity on our values, passions, roles and responsibilities; what we ought to say yes to and need to say no to… the scheduling part becomes more doable.


Here’s some basics to get you on your way. 


Break down your roles and responsibilities for the things  you have already said yes to that you need to keep.  That may include taking your child to piano lessons or walking your elderly neighbor’s dog.


Consider the tasks, activities and work commitments that you intend to keep.


Those are your “fixed bricks” in your strategic schedule.  Write them in and color code them to indicate they are not movable. ( At least not for now.)


Then begin to look at the remainder through the lens of your life in ten categories.


Work, Family, Spiritual or Religious time, Physical health, Emotional/ Mental health and wellbeing, Partner, Alone time, Community Service, and Financial.


Pause to take some introspective time to ask yourself what really matters in each of those areas for you.


Then look at your goals in each category.  Set one or two tangible, specific  and realistic goals in each of those areas. Write them down.


Now you can begin to fill in the spaces with the activities, tasks or events that are in alignment with your goals for each of these areas.  That is what gets scheduled!


An example from my own strategic schedule: My physical, mental and emotional  health is very important to me.  ( Identifying my values and priorities.)


My goal is to be physically, mentally / emotionally well so I am fit and resilient.


The activities that align with these goals:  working out 4-6 days a week; doing weightlifting, yoga, dance, stretching, rowing.  Additional activities are learning two languages, reading etc. ( mental health).  And emotionally, taking time for introspection, deep breathing, spiritual activities and spending time with the people I love.


If you were to look in my calendar, you would see the days and times I engage in each of those activities.  


They are all written in my schedule also as “fixed bricks” because I made the decision once to do them and now I simply execute the decision I already made.


No time wasted.  No mental gymnastics.  It’s on my calendar so I just do it.


Maybe you have a goal of spending more time with your child so they feel seen, loved and are not tethered to their phone.   If you were to set that as a goal, then consider when, and how often you will set up time to have alone time with just them where they get your full attention.


You make that decision once, put it in your calendar and then act on it.


For those that feel like they don’t want to schedule every minute of their day, ( I have clients who have described that thought as confining or smothering) then the idea is to also add  some “flex time”.


Flex time is just that… it’s the unscheduled time that you have free.  You might decide to carve out Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6p where you have no responsibilities or plans.  You might use that time for whatever you feel like; schedule time with a friend or take some rejuvenating down time.


The idea is that a strategic, well thought out schedule can help you manage more than you think, by taking a step back to look at your values, priorities, current commitments, and  then consider which things, people, and tasks you may need to rethink.  It may be time to offload some of your tasks to other capable people in your family, or at work, so you can focus on the things, people and tasks that matter the most.


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