Checking and tweaking the system

The problem with deciding on topics two months in advance without actually writing notes is that I forget what I was going to say. I didn’t even note what links I wanted to use for this post, so I’m winging it a bit more than usual. I hope you’ll bear with me.

So I’ve set up a system. It doesn’t have to be perfect — just having a system probably helps me get to more things than if I’m playing catch-as-catch-can. However, it could probably be better. How do I figure out what’s working and what isn’t as good as it could be?

First, you need to give yourself time to set into the system. If it’s something new, you’re changing habits — breaking old ones, making new ones. It’s going to take at least a month of following the system before it feels natural, and longer if you find that you keep slipping up or ignoring it on some days. (This would be me, in panic mode to meet deadlines, both last week and this week for example.)

Second, you need to think about what you wanted to accomplish with your schedule. Was it more free time? More projects completed? Getting to everything on your to-do list? What habits were you trying to automate?

Now, spend a week noting how your time spent matches with your schedule. Don’t make judgments midway through the week or beat yourself up because there’s a particular task or time slot when you’re not doing what you have scheduled. Wait until you have a whole week to do any analysis.

The analysis:

  • What tasks and time slots work for you?
  • What ones don’t?
  • Are you meeting your goals for your schedule? If not, what still needs work?

Putting it together:

  • If you’re meeting your goals for your schedule, stop now. You don’t need to change anything, even if you’re not following half your schedule. (You may, of course, change your schedule to reflect your actual actions, if that’ll give you a feeling of accomplishment.)
  • If you’re meeting your goals for your schedule but you think you could do better, perhaps with a couple of time slots that aren’t being used for their assigned tasks, decide in what way you want to improve. Do you think another session devoted to a particular task would be good? Or do you think you need a little more down time between tasks?
  • If you’re not meeting your goals for your schedule, look at what goals you’re not meeting and the tasks and times that you’re struggling with. Can you switch something around? Allot more time to something that you’re not getting far enough on? Can you see a reason for your struggle? Would fifteen minutes more or less make a difference? Or do you need to rethink how you’re doing the scheduling at all?

As I said, I’m not far enough along in using my schedule to make any definitive decisions. I may give myself an extra time block after lunch for running errands — something I neglected to include in my original plan. We’ll have to see. I’ll post an update in six months on where I am and how the schedule’s working for me.

I hope you’ve found this blog series useful. If there’s anything you think I should have talked about but didn’t, please let me know in the comments.

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  1. You decide two MONTHS in advance? Emergherd!!!!!
    I doffs me ‘at to you, I does.
    ON a good day I’m working a week in advance.

    Nicely done, Ms Hartshorn, nicely done.

    P.S. I do have a schedule, but I’ve found that topics seem to appear in front of me when they choose to, and not the other way around. Which makes for a few anxious moments every now and then.

    • Two months is unusual. When this blog series occurred to me, I planned out topics for 8 weeks. This is the last one, so . . . two months. I’m generally more of a “Oh, I should post something today. What to say, what to say?” sort of person. 🙂

      The Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour topics are picked months in advance — a whole year’s worth by the beginning of January — but I don’t generally write them up or even think about them much until a couple of days before hand.

      I understand what you mean about the anxious moments.

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