Time Management Tip: How to Create a Time Buffer

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Looking for more breathing room in your calendar?

Having a time buffer or two in your schedule can be a real life-saver!

In this post I’ll show you how to work with time so it works to your advantage.

Choose an appointment or two to buffer.

Do you have a couple of weekly or daily appointments that always seem to be hurried or rushed? These scheduled items could probably benefit the most from an extra bit of time. Flip through your schedule and find one or two items to focus on right now.

Identify a set amount of buffer time.

While you may be thinking, “I only need some time in my schedule in case traffic is bad or the meeting runs late,” the reality is “some time” is difficult to quantify. Just how much is “some time?” Will you need 15, 30, 45, 60 minutes or more? Don’t be afraid to make a time commitment for yourself; it is your schedule after all!

Look to your regular routine for hints on how much time you may need. For example, if you know it takes you 20 minutes to drive to work, you might consider tacking on 10 minute time buffer in case of transportation or traffic issues.

Set your time buffer as soon as possible.

Avoid waiting until the last-minute to schedule a time buffer. The more time you wait, the less available time and/or wiggle room you’ll have to actually drop in that time into your calendar.

Get into the habit of adding a time buffer both to the beginning and end of meetings and appointments as soon as you schedule them. Physically schedule or write-in the buffer into your calendar so you can see it.

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Add value to your time buffer.

Time buffers are not just “fluff,”they are extremely valuable units of time! They are what keeps meetings and appointments from running into one another.

You could think of time buffers just like the spaces between words in a sentence. It’s the difference between reading: “Mary had a little lamb, it’s fleece was white as snow,” versus “Maryhadalittlelambit’sfleecewaswhiteassnow.” The spaces help keep things properly separated.

Think about what value your time buffers could bring you as you go about your day. Could your buffer bring you: peace of mind, a little less stress or time for you to grab a snack and a drink of water?

How about you? Where will you add in a time buffer in your schedule? Do you already practice adding in time buffers into your calendar? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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