5 Smart Ways to Stay on Schedule

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This is a guest post by Rashelle Isip. Rashelle is a consultant, author, and founder of The Order Expert, a blog featuring organizing, time management and productivity tips, ideas and inspiration to help people ‘round the world “kick chaos to the curb.”

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?

Staying on Schedule is All About 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.”
  4. 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.
  5. Take action –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.

A Balanced Life

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.

Question: What additional steps could you take to keep on schedule? You can leave a comment by clicking here.


12 thoughts on “5 Smart Ways to Stay on Schedule

  1. Hey Rashelle,

    Number 2 resonates with me the most. Making time in your evening routine for preparation and review is important. This might seem like a small action, and it is, but the benefits you reap are numerous.

    You also have less decisions to make during the day. This helps reduce cognitive load freeing up mental resources for more difficult tasks.

    What is your favorite management system? I read The One Thing recently and have been applying that system. Focusing is the key and its been quite effective.

    – Shawn Michael Hartwell

    1. Hi Shawn,

      Yes, isn’t it amazing how familiar tasks can seem the next day with that little bit of preparation? I recommend people try the technique just once to see it in action.

      I’m a big fan of focus. I enjoy hunkering down and “sinking my teeth” into my work. I not only get things done, but the technique makes break time even more rewarding. 🙂

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Really great points. This read was such a good reminder to figure out how to prioritize what is important in a day and make things go so much more smoothly!!!

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