Scheduling is one of the major activities that take place in any time management system.
This entry, therefore, should be read after the entries in the post Ways to Use a Calendar have been read and thoroughly digested, for the ideas here to make sense.
Scheduling is taking a time demand and converting it into a time-slot in the calendar that has a defined start-time and end-time, on a specific date.
When the need arises, appointments are swapped around to different time-slots, depending on the circumstances at hand.
- A single calendar should be used to schedule all time demands.
- When time demands are scheduled into time-slots, there should be sufficient time between them to account for interruptions, recovery time and overruns.
- Wherever possible, recurring time demands should be set to repeat themselves on a periodic basis, and users should try to automate recurring time demands.
- A Novice or White Belt only uses their calendar to write down major appointments and meetings with other people. They schedule appointments and meetings only, but they infrequently check their calendar before making new appointments. Their calendar has very limited functionality, even if it is electronic. Their functional time-horizon rarely stretches out for more than a month from the current date – they simply cannot plan out further than about 30 days.
- A Yellow Belt has stopped using a paper system, and is using software to manage some time demands in their calendar. They selectively schedule activities into their calendar using items that arise in projects or meetings, and also from capture points. They still make the mistake of scheduling items too close together, resulting in frequent problems with unplanned interruptions. They may keep multiple calendars.
- An Orange Belt has only a single, electronic calendar, and are regularly updating their calendar with items from different capture points. They are still scheduling items too close together, and not managing their calendar closely enough to prevent scheduled items from backing up. They have few if any recurring items in their calendars, resulting in extra work every week or month.
- A Green Belt has multiple activities scheduled into their calendar, and they decide what to do each day based on the items they have scheduled into their calendars. They fully employ the electronic capabilities of the system they use. They have sufficient time between time-slots in their schedule to recover from one task before starting the next. They deal effectively with interruptions, and plan for them by including extra time in their schedules each day.They use their calendars for more than work — they schedule time with family, friends, exercise and recreation. Whatever is important to them that might be displaced by other commitments, or unplanned interruptions and opportunities makes its way into their calendar.They are quite skillful at picking up recurring items that repeat themselves on a daily, monthly or annual basis, preferring to schedule the time to perform the activity than to add it to a list. They have developed a system for keeping scheduled activities connected to the underlying purpose of the activity. A Green Belt never runs out of time, because they are scheduling activities to take place as far out in the future as they want — even years in the future. When they are using their calendar, it seems as if they have a lot of time to get time demands completed. Green Belts says “No” frequently because they understand their schedule is fine-tuned to the point where they know what they can and cannot accomplish.