In so far as possible, schedule time for specific activities in a similarsystematic way. Keeping regular hours makes it easier to habitually follow theschedule.
Similar things together:
To avoid running back and forth when you have to buygroceries, go to the post office and laundry each week, schedule those errands withinclose proximity of each other back-to-back on the same day.
Free Time In-between:
The hours between activities are very valuable - yet, mostfrequently misused. You may effectively utilize these hours by reading, reviewingtraining materials, planning, making notes of the preceding meetings or prepare for afollowing meeting or training.
Confirm via phone or e-mail at least one week in advance thedetails of the meeting/activity, especially if you have scheduled it several months inadvance.
Not getting an answer does not translate into "I don't want to meetwith you". The person might be out of the office for a few days. To increase yourchance of being read, send a follow up email.
Make that call:
Finally, if meeting with this person is important to you, pick up thephone and try to book the appointment directly.
Schedule in-hand when Phoning:
When you phone to book an appointment, haveyour schedule in-hand to check on your availability or how you may be able torearrange some other activities.
Establish a paper contacts list to keep close at hand in the event of youneeding to contact any person you have an appointment with, for instance toreschedule an appointment, or if you will be late for some reason, etc.
Change in Plans:
When things get in the way of following your schedule, and thingsinvariably do, cancel that item and reschedule make-up times immediately. Rathertrade time than steal it from your schedule. When you receive an unexpected visitorat a time reserved for work, then substitute an equal amount of work time for theperiod set aside for recreation.
Check and Update:
Its essential to overview your schedule first thing in the morningand last thing in the evening. Also check your schedule regularly during the day toensure that it gets adjusted, updated and that you are making progress and achievingyour objectives.
As you complete each item in your schedule, check it off.
Make adjustments to your schedule's look and feel, colour coding andthe entire process untill you feel comfortable with the way you do it.
Ensure that you have backups of all your scheduling and other criticalinformation!
Important activities to schedule
Time to reflect and energise:
Stephen Covey calls it
sharpening the saw
in his book
First Things First
. Take time to reflect, to get in touch with where you are at, how youfeel, just being with yourself and noticing what's going on.
These time-buffers are important! Lack of flexibility is the major reasonwhy schedules fail. This will help ensure that you don't get overwhelmed or feelrushed.