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Completion requirements

Schedule development means determining start and finish dates for project activities. If the start and finish dates are not realistic, the project is unlikely to be finished as scheduled. The schedule development process must often be iterated prior to determination of the project schedule.

The first step in learning how to manage your time is to develop a general work schedule which should include time for yourself as well as time for the maintenance of your business.

The importance of scheduling in your business:

  • Reduces or eliminates wasted time and effort so you’ll have more productive time each day.
  • Improve your productivity so you can accomplish more with less effort.
  • Focus your time and energy on what is most important.
  • Make time for the things you want and value.
  • Improve your performance while reducing stress.
  • Find greater balance and fulfilment.
  • Set and achieve your long-term goals.
  • The ability for departments and teams to meet project deadlines.
  • The ability to serve more customers without added staff, equipment or office space.

Think about the nature of the things you do. Consider how much of your time is taken up with executive activities and how much time is spent performing day-to-day tasks specific to your business or profession. Once you have decided what your objectives are, you must work towards achieving them. This entails scheduling your time to make provision for those tasks which will ensure that you reach your objectives. While planning your activities, you need to write your planned activities down to ensure that you adhere to them. With a plan you are in control of your time; without one, your days will deteriorate into frustrating mini crises, interruptions, and dead ends. You may use certain tools to help you in the scheduling of your business activities with tools such as:
  • A to-do list
  • A dairy

You should begin each working day by planning the tasks to be performed that day. This list may be drawn up on a daily or weekly basis depending on your type of work. However, it is important that the list be reviewed every day. Completed tasks need to be crossed out and additional tasks added. A to-do list is as indispensable in time management as the carefully devised business plan in the acquisition of corporate capital.

How can you ensure that this list will be effective?

  • Make it a habit to list all the things you need to do.
  • Be realistic about available time.
  • Never over-schedule.

Making a list takes time, but it's time well spent. The relief from clearing your mind from juggling all the things it must remember can be enormous. How to schedule time to spend on each task in your to do list:
  • Estimate the time it takes to complete the task and compare it to actual time available.
  • Set a more specific deadline e.g. before 10:00 tomorrow.
  • Determine the best time of the day to do creative work or work that requires concentration.
  • Schedule blocks of time for completing similar tasks.
  • Play games with unpleasant or routine tasks.
  • Place your work with the highest priority in a brightly coloured folder in the centre of your desk before you leave the office.
  • Schedule time for self-improvement.
  • Concentrate on one task at a time.
  • Finish a task rather than place it aside.
  • Unfinished tasks can create chaos on days that suddenly become filled with crises.
  • There is no one right time to get started. It is just important to get started.

A Diary
The size and format of a diary is not important - what is important is that you use a planning system with which you feel comfortable. The only alternative not allowed is not to plan at all. If you are a secretary, you must ensure that the entries in your respective diaries correspond, so that appointments in your bosses' diary also appear in yours and double appointments do not occur.

A diary should be:

  • Personal
  • Convenient
  • Orderly

A diary should also have a multi-purpose format. Provision must be made for tea and lunch times. It is also important to make provision for interruptions and other contingencies, five to fifteen minutes for each appointment.
  • Remember a schedule is a detailed diary - for one day only. It tells you exactly what you need to do and when you have time to do it. It prevents distraction, over-commitment or missed deadlines.
  • Block out any fixed time commitments, for example meetings, holidays and organised appointments.
  • Block in some time for planning and scheduling - in other words to organise yourself and your day. This can be done at the beginning or end of each day.
  • Be flexible. Always allow time for the unexpected events, interruptions etc.
  • Allow time for routine tasks.