I don’t know about you, but I have a very difficult time finding the right planner. Where is the datebook, calendar, app, or list that adequately summarizes my day and tasks? Here is a news flash — it doesn’t exist! Instead, I am learning to schedule by principle.*
If you are an up-in-the-air schedule person like I am, maybe this will help you. Rather than focusing on the thing we use to schedule, we can use any planner if we only remember these tips:
1. If it isn’t scheduled, it won’t happen.
When you have a doctor’s appointment for a little one, you carefully write it on a calendar, enter it on your device, or put the appointment card under the magnet on the fridge. You won’t forget the appointment. You have it scheduled.
The same principle applies to those everyday things we need to get done. We have to schedule them — make a specific time available for them — in order to make them happen.
2. We can only do so many things in a day.
This is critical to realize. There is a limit on the amount of time I have. Therefore I need to make sure I’m utilizing the time I have in the best way I can.
For me this means picking the top several things to do, writing them down in order of priority, and tackling those things in that order.
It helps to make this list the night before or first thing in the morning.
3. Our best laid plans will be interrupted.
Therefore we need to be flexible:
- Plan unscheduled time — room intentionally left open in our day.
- Schedule time each day for tackling little emergencies.
- Delegate one thing to someone else to free up time to tackle another.
- Postpone one thing in lieu of another.
Scheduling by principle means that our best scheduled plans don’t rely on the thing we use to keep track of them. They rely on the principles we use to implement them.
*Update: I DID end up finding a planner that fit me. But the principle remains the same. (You can read about my perfect planner, if you like.)