No matter your position within a company, finding time to do extra stuff is not easy. That’s why with a daily schedule maker tool you can free up your calendar and have better control over your time.
It's great to want to achieve more in your career, but sometimes this causes us to overbook our calendar and not manage our working hours in the most efficient way possible.
An astonishing 82% of respondents from the latest research don’t use any type of time management system. However, to-do lists are not considered a system because, honestly, at the end of the day, they’re not great at optimizing your time.
So, here are 7 ways an online daily schedule maker can actually free up your working hours, or personal!
1) Helps you understand the amount of chaos in your life
If you’re one of those people who uses a simple to-do list to keep track of tasks and responsibilities, don’t be frightened by how chaotic your scheduling has been. When using any type of scheduling tool the first reaction isn't great, normally people are shaken by how bad they are at planning work.
By adding all your responsibilities into a scheduling tool, you achieve a bigger picture of what work looks like for you. It allows you to conduct a time audit, which is a process of tracking what you've done during a specific period of time. Time management statistics indicate that around 50% of workers have never conducted a time audit. To your surprise and many others, you might notice that not much work has been completed.
Simply adding your main tasks to a daily schedule planner and your expected deadlines will be enough input for you to realise that how you manage time (and work!) is all wrong. Understanding where most of your time goes is the first step to finding ways to free up your time.
You may notice that in some moments of your calendar you didn't do anything productive. Or maybe most of your time is spent trying to keep track of what has to be done rather than actually getting work done.
2) Allows you to batch tasks together
If you haven't heard about it before, task batching is a productivity strategy that involves grouping similar tasks together. By doing this you can avoid multitasking and boost the amount of time you have to focus on important responsibilities.
The primary purpose of task batching is to help avoid context switching, which is when you mentally jump back and forth between tasks. This can drastically tamper with your productivity and how much you actually manage to get done.
This is because studies have proven that on average people spend a bit over 9 minutes getting back on track with what they were doing after switching between tasks. So, if on a daily basis you switch between tasks 10 times, it means that an hour and a half of your time was spent remembering where to restart from.
Not only does it cost you time but it has also been shown that 43% of workers find that context switching causes them fatigue. By task batching you help organize your tasks in a more efficient way so you can take full advantage of your working hours.
By doing so, all the time wasted can be used for other important responsibilities, or better yet, to have some downtime. Also by choosing to batch tasks like reading emails and returning calls at a designated time, you’ll end up having better control and will manage to keep track of communication.
3) Eliminates spending time on distractions
Distractions are one of the main culprits for sidetracking us from accomplishing our tasks and making the most of our time. They’re also a contributor to feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. Especially because it seems like nothing moves forward even though we always feel busy.
So, eliminating distractions is not only about having the willpower to not fall into the trap but also about implementing the right structure for your daily schedule. This can for example be a period during the day when you turn off your laptop’s Wi-Fi to focus. Or for example, only dedicating a specific time slot during the day where people can go ask you for help in their tasks.
By using a daily schedule planner, you can structure these types of events as reoccurring for specific days and times. By doing so, you dedicate time for important responsibilities where you leave no room for topics that can get you off track. Studies have shown that up to 80% of employees say that chatty coworkers are the reason for a lack of focus on the job.
It’s pretty straightforward, the more distractions you dodge the more time you’ll have to complete important tasks. However, don’t get us wrong, it’s still important to have time throughout the day to relax and have some fun! This takes us to the next point.
4) Helps define boundaries in your life
Using a work schedule planner allows you to keep a healthy balance between the amount of time spent at work and on downtime. This has proven to be an alarming problem as over 90% of workers in the US state to work over 50 hours a week. As you can imagine, this has a drastic impact on one's health.
When using an online schedule maker, those that are more complex like planless will be able to distribute your responsibilities depending on how much availability you have. In other words, if you choose to leave work every day at 5 pm, the tool will make this happen.
By setting boundaries within your team and yourself, you can make sure that you’re not running yourself to the ground. Boundaries are important so that you can choose to live your life however you want.
With a tool like Planless, your tasks will be distributed by the amount of time you choose to be available to work. The important word is “choose” as these types of tools will not assign tasks to hours of the day where you would most likely be relaxing on the couch.
Although this might not free up time in regards to work it does provide you with the freedom to not have to work long hours or late through the night. Instead, it frees up your personal time to do whatever you want with it.
5) Fights against Parkinson's law
If you haven’t yet heard about Parkinson’s law, it basically says that the amount of work that needs to be done expands to fill the amount of time given to complete it. In other words, if you give 3 hours to complete one task, you’ll complete it in 3 hours. However, if you choose to complete it in less time, you will.
I know, it sounds pretty obvious, but psychologically we make tasks seem more complex when we provide more time than necessary to finish them. Sometimes, we fill up the time not by actually doing the task but by overthinking and stressing about it. If you provide yourself with a shorter amount of time, then mentally you’ll make the task simple and straightforward.
After hearing this, it would make sense how blocking time on your calendar to complete tasks helps fight such cognitive limitations. The best part is by using a daily schedule maker, these tasks will already be defined by the amount of time you choose to invest in them, all you have to do is follow your calendar!
By definition, the effort needed to complete each task before starting it will incentive you to complete it in time. This then means all the time spent procrastinating or “working” on the task just to hit the amount of time defined, can be spent doing other important stuff.
6) Keeps meetings short and to the point
Many times, meetings end up being a waste of time. Of course, they are essential for encouraging collaboration and fostering relationships between team members and departments. However, more often than not, they end up being unnecessary and take up a lot of our working hours.
Research has shown that the amount of time we spend on meetings has increased in both length and frequency. Today, executives are spending close to 23 hours a week in meetings, compared to less than 10 hours in the 1960s. Of course, this can come down to the advancement of technology, but couldn’t this also aid in the reduction of meetings?
We think so. Using a scheduling tool to plan your work-life will allow you to decide how much time you want to spend in meetings. Just the fact that you have to book meetings with specific durations, means that it shouldn’t go longer than assigned. Which avoids time-wasters like casual chitchat before and after every meeting and losing track of the topic being discussed.
Of course, the success of a meeting depends largely on how well it's planned and structured. But like previously mentioned about the Parkinson’s law, a meeting will take as long as the time given to it. So, strategically reflect on how much time you need for every type of meeting and define it in your daily schedule maker so that they don’t run longer than expected.
7) Allows you to schedule designated times for breaks
Most workers, strive to be the best possible in the workplace. This could either be for personal achievement or to ask for a potential promotion in the future. At times, they’ll work overtime, agree to take up more tasks and rarely move away from their desk. So, it should be to no surprise that the average lunch break globally is about 35 minutes.
Although many would consider this “working hard” it isn’t actually efficient and ends up affecting your health. Having breaks from work has proven to have several benefits, it increases focus, thus improving productivity, relieving stress and helps with mental health and well-being.
Planning breaks throughout your daily schedule will actually allow you to use the rest of your time more efficiently. This, in turn, will make you be more productive as work doesn’t seem so daunting when you have little moments to boost your energy and continue moving forward.
Also, you can consider micro-breaks which are no longer than 15 minutes. These are great for unwinding and reflecting on tasks. For example, always schedule a 10-minute break after a call or a meeting so that you can prepare yourself for context switching (mentioned previously).
With a tool like Planless, for example, you can ensure that you always have your daily dose of relaxation, no matter the amount of work and meetings you have scheduled.