You’ve carefully laid out your projects, meetings, and appointments in your planner.
Everything looks great on paper, but for some strange reason, you just can’t keep on schedule.
You regularly fall five, ten, twenty minutes behind…or more.
You’re puzzled and frustrated.
Just how can you keep things in balance?
Keeping to your schedule is all about maintaining balance.
It’s like riding a bicycle.
You can’t haphazardly lean left or right; you must find that “sweet spot” or balance point, so you can stay upright, pedal, and move yourself down the road.
The same goes for your calendar.
It has to be kept in balance by you, to keep you moving through out the day.
Here are 5 tips to help you keep your balance when it comes to staying on schedule:
Live in the moment
Do you check your smart phone during meetings, or talk on the phone while you write an email? One of the keys to keeping a balanced schedule is to actively focus on what you are doing at any given point in time.
Remember, you scheduled items into your calendar so everything wouldn’t happen at the same time! If you give your full, undivided attention to meetings and appointments, you’ll automatically keep your schedule in balance.
Review your schedule the evening before
At the end of the workday, take a look at tomorrow’s schedule. Start with your first appointment, pausing for a brief moment, before going on to the next, until you’ve finished. This is a great way to gently introduce your schedule into your subconscious.
While this action may not seem like much, you’ve actually given yourself a mental “heads-up” for what’s to come the following day. When you review your schedule again in the morning, your appointments will seem very familiar and manageable.
Practice regular check-ins with yourself
Get in the habit of checking your schedule for not only what is coming up in the next hour, but what is coming up in the next several hours. It is as easy as saying, “I have my 10 AM marketing meeting in a few minutes, followed by report writing at 11 AM, and lunch with Bill at noon.”
Don’t be afraid to say “no.”
If your day is packed, and a friend asks you to go out for a two-hour lunch, you know that outing will throw your schedule out of balance. If a meeting, event, or function, threatens to throw your schedule off, don’t be afraid to decline the invitation. It’s your schedule.
If you want to stay on schedule, you must pay attention to the time and act accordingly. Simply glancing at the clock and nodding your head knowingly won’t get you anywhere! You must take action.
If you’re presenting a meeting that needs to end at 2:00, and it’s currently 1:55, you should wrap up, thank the participants for their time, and bring the meeting to an end.
Life is full of distractions. We must be intentional about our time and schedule. When we are in balance, we control our schedule. If we get out of balance, our schedule controls us.
Take control of your schedule for a balanced, more productive life.
How about you? What additional steps could you take today to keep on schedule? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!
This post originally appeared on TimeManagementNinja.com.