The benefits of a schedule…

I read an article last week that said people who are really successful schedule out all of their time…including leisure time and family time.  I am a planner and I like to have a general sense of what is going to happen when, but I’m not a scheduler.  I’ve never really been able to schedule my life, because for six years, my job was entirely unpredictable…for example, I would plan to be sleeping while on vacation in Mexico and I would end up having to be on a conference call at 4am.  Or I would plan on having friends visit from Canada for the week and I would end up having to go to the office because my boss’s plane was due to arrive in Geneva at 7am local time, but the wire for the jewelry he was picking up didn’t hit yet.  So I have always made a vague, general plan and then hoped I could stick to it.

That’s not the case anymore.  While my new job certainly has had moments where I’ve had to stay a little late to take a phone call or stop on a weekend to send an email, those moments are few and far between.  I think it’s happened maybe three times in two years.  Therefore, I have decided to become a scheduler.

I bought a planner and sat down at the beginning of the week with my list of resolutions/goals and my brand-spanking-new planner and I got to work making myself a schedule for the week.  I had a lot of appointments…facial, dentist, Weight Watchers meeting…so that really helped in the planning.  I also had a lot of work to do because it was the first week back after a two week vacation.  So I plotted out my work schedule and then added in all of my appointments.

Then came the tricky part…the evenings.  Was I really going to schedule in time for things like taking a bath or watching tv?  And what about more, um, intimate things…I mean, should I schedule that too and send J a Google calendar invite?  (Don’t laugh…I know someone who has done this and she swears it’s a great idea.) Turns out…I was going to schedule things like TV time and time to read.  I stopped short of making a nookie appointment…but I made time for taking down Christmas decorations and cooking chili and reading a magazine and watching Castle re-runs.  I have to admit to being skeptical, but I wrote it all down.

And then…to my surprise…I actually did what was on the schedule.  I would finish one task and go to the schedule to see what was next.  Then I would do the thing that was next.  This was new for me…I’m a procrastinator and I can be super lazy.  But the schedule thing actually worked.

Well…mostly.  Last night, I was really tired so I decided to skip updating my financial info on Quicken.  Instead, I went to bed early.  But the rest of the week I did really well and I got a ton of stuff accomplished.  It was amazing.

So I guess the article was right…schedules lead to success.  I’m going to stick with it and see how I do next week.  Maybe next week I’ll even send J that Google calendar invite.