I bet you’ve heard the saying that “What gets scheduled gets done.” At the same time you may have wondered: “What does that mean for me?” or “What should I do differently?”
If you’re like most people who ask these questions, your mind immediately envisions a new you: one who schedules every task successfully, never arrives late, never over-promises and never forgets a single obligation to yourself or to others. It would be a rebooted, productive version of your current self… at peace knowing that all the stuff you intend to do, but aren’t doing at the moment, is safely tucked away until later.
More likely than not, this Promised Land continues to evade you despite all your efforts. Somewhere along the way, something unwanted happened and you gave up, consoling yourself that it cannot be done, anyway.
– Maybe you took a look around you. No-one you knew was trying to schedule all their tasks. Plus, the most productive ones weren’t making an attempt, so why should you? It’s so much easier to copy what they are doing… no need to go overboard.
– Maybe you read the words of a blogger or author who advised against this approach altogether. Shamed into thinking you were doing something stupid, you dropped the idea.
– Or maybe, just maybe, you actually tried to schedule all your tasks using a paper or digital calendar. Sure, it worked for a while. But then, after a stressful day with lots of unwanted surprises, you became overwhelmed and just quit. It was just too depressing to see a carefully crafted plan go up in smoke, sometimes within minutes. Plus, who has the bandwidth to re-adjust their entire schedule every time the inevitable disruption occurs?
The overall effect? Disappointment. Jaded, perhaps you even became someone who told everyone that “Total Task Scheduling” does not work.
But in the back of your mind you never lost sight of the original vision. Even now, when you add a task to your calendar, you know that it’s different from leaving it to be buried in your To-Do List. “If it works for one task,” you still ask yourself, “why couldn’t I get it to work for all of them?” It seems as if it should work, and it shouldn’t be hard.
Looking for Help
Unfortunately, there has been little assistance in answering this question.
Now and then, you run into someone who claims to be “scheduling everything.” Authors like Cal Newport and Kevin Kruse make it clear that you are not alone in having a vision of a new you. Others do it, they say, citing their personal experience, case studies and research of successful people.
But rather than inspiring you to try again, this new exposure only brings back your disappointment, even as it reminds you of that original vision you once had. As they exhort readers to become Total Task Schedulers, you struggle to see where you went wrong.
Finding Best Practices and Practitioners
To get some answers, perhaps you turned to Google, like I did. “Somewhere,” I thought, “there must be others who are trying.” After a year of searching, I gave up and started Schedule U. As they say, if you can’t find the right group to join, start your own!
But, I’m fortunate. In the past couple of years I have become a daily user of SkedPal, one of the few auto-schedulers designed to help people achieve the goal of Total Task Scheduling. Being an adviser to the founder of the software, I have shared its features while testing early versions of its desktop and mobile apps. Plus, I contribute to a tiny community providing Beta-version feedback.
It’s led me back to a thought I had when writing Perfect Time-Based Productivity in 2014. Becoming a Total Task Scheduler isn’t easy, even with the use of an auto-scheduler. Both manual and app-driven approaches require the user to combine technology and personal practices, a feat left to the individual to discover.
So I launched Schedule U, a place of learning for people to find success stories and explain them in plain language. Fortunately, there are quite a few of people sharing how they do it which I have pulled together into a free training called A Course in Scheduling.
If you ever had a vision of the peace of mind which can come from a calendar of all your tasks, join us there.
Thanks to my proofreaders — Glen Buchwald, Melanie Wilson, Jeneil Stephen, Robin Blanc, Catherine Munson.