Since “back in the day” when I ran my life analog out of a Franklin planner, I’ve always had a thing for scheduling appointments with myself. Perhaps it is a unique brand of narcissism but setting aside time for specific projects makes sense to me. So in addition to my regular appointments with other, living, breathing humans, at any time, my calendar may include blocks of time that say something like “Write trade secret agreement” or “Audit outstanding commitments.” I find this helpful for finding time to do the big projects that never seem to get done otherwise. If you are going to adopt this practice, there are a few tips:
1. Treat Appointments with Yourself as Actual Appointments.
If you set time aside to do a specific project and then completely ignore it, you are, in essence, breaking a commitment with yourself. If you can’t trust yourself, than who else can? Sometimes things get in the way that prevent you from using your scheduled time. In that event, you shouldn’t ignore the appointment. You should reschedule. “Okay Dave, a meteor just took out your garden shed. You can’t write that motion this morning, but how about next Wednesday?”
2. Don’t Go Crazy.
Once you start this practice, the temptation will be there. You’ll schedule yourself to walk the dog at 6:45 a.m. for 10 minutes. You’ll then schedule yourself to do 20 push-ups at 6:55 a.m. Don’t. The temptation to micromanage will only get in the way. You’ll find yourself spending all of your time “scheduling” and no time “doing.” I reserve this practice for large items, usually things that take more than an hour and a half. The only exception is for meeting preparation. If I’m going to meet someone, I will often schedule myself to spend 15 or 30 minutes preparing.
3. Review and Plan.
Try this for a few weeks then go back and see how you did. Usually on Sunday night or Monday morning, I look at some of the big items I need to accomplish during the week and schedule them into slots of availability. I know from experience that when I reserve time for a big project, it is much more likely to actually get done. It also feels good when you have scheduled time to do a project that is still pending. It takes the stress off so long as you have faith in yourself to honor the appointment. (See tip one above.)
Do you schedule appointments with yourself? How’s it working for you?