Scheduling Techniques

Discussion in 'Internet Marketing Discussion Forum' started by Cheryl Johnson, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. Cheryl Johnson

    Cheryl Johnson VIP Member

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    Hi everyone! :D

    I don't know about you, but whenever someone asks me how I schedule my day, I always have to pause for a minute.

    One of the biggest misconceptions about being organized is that there's only 1 way to do it, and if you learn that way, you'll be just fine. However, if you're anything like me, not only do you have multiple scheduling/organizational systems, but you hop back and forth between them!

    Personally, my brain learns to ignore/tune out whatever system I happen to be using after a period of time, so having just 1 system would be disastrous for me!

    So how do I schedule my time? Here are just a few of the methods that I use:


    Outlook Calendar - Good for everything: this has been my longest-lasting method.
    Pros:
    • It allows me to schedule recurring tasks so that I don't have to remember to write them down every day (a big plus for me!).
    • With color-coding and visual blocks of time, it lets me visually see how much of each day was spent on which projects.
    • I can look back months, or even years to see everything that I've done and all of the progress that I've made.
    • It's very easy to move tasks around, so that I can adjust my schedule and keep everything up-to-date as things change throughout my day.
    • It's easy to change what you have written for each task.
    • You can take notes in each tasks so that everything is together in1 place - yay organization! :D
    Cons:
    • You have to be very good about updating it constantly to keep everything accurate.
    • If you have a lot of small projects, moving things around constantly can be a hassle.
    • If you cancel a recurring task, it goes back in time and adjusts the ones that you previously moved to update your schedule, and puts them back where they were before you moved them.
    • If you want to keep recurring tasks, but don't want to do them for a length of time (say, a week or a month), you have to manually delete all of them from your calendar... and my Outlook has a tendency to double everything that I have selected instead of deleting it. -_-

    Spreadsheets - Good for lists, bad for tracking individual days
    Pros:
    • It's relatively easy to move tasks around.
    • You can color-code your tasks.
    • It's easy to change what you have written for each task.
    • You can organize your list/schedule/etc. any way that you want.
    Cons:
    • It is difficult to track days separately without making 50 million tabs.
    • You will need to make multiple saved files the longer you use this method.
    • You will need to paste recurring tasks over and over and over and over and over again.
    • You have to be very careful with how you place your color coding, because coloring an entire row or column each time will drastically increase your file size.
    • You'll probably have to scroll in 1 (or both) directions... a lot.
    Hand-written Sticky Notes - Good for lists with groups of tasks
    Pros:
    • You can move tasks around easily IF you have 1 task per sticky note.
    • You can group similar tasks on 1 sticky note and move them around together.
    • You can color-code tasks (or task groups) with differently colored sticky notes and pens.
    • You can organize your list/schedule/etc. any way that you want.
    • You get the satisfaction of physically crossing things off of a list and throwing paper away.
    Cons:
    • Once something is written down, it's there. You have to make a new sticky note if you want to:
      • rearrange items in the list
      • get rid of all of the items that you've completed
      • change the color-coding of an individual item (or a few) or the group as a whole
      • change anything else about your list
    • Tracking tasks based on days, weeks, months, etc. while ALSO having individual tasks to check off per day is almost impossible... and will drain your bank account, because...
    • You go through a lot of sticky notes.
    • You might need a fairly large wall patch to place your sticky notes on.
    • Sometimes they don't stick and you get "non-sticky notes". :(
    • Trying to look back over your previous lists is sort of unpleasant, if even possible.

    Virtual Sticky Notes - Used the least: good for lists
    Pros:
    • You can move tasks around easily.
    • It's easy to change what you have written for each task.
    • You can group similar tasks by sticky note.
    • You can delete tasks as they are finished.
    • You can organize your list/schedule/etc. any way that you want.
    Cons:
    • Depending on your program, you won't be able to make use of any sort of color-coding.
    • Tracking tasks based on days, weeks, months, etc. while ALSO having individual tasks to check off per day is... interesting... you won't have ANY room on your desktop, period.
    • You will need to paste recurring tasks over and over and over and over and over again.
    • Depending on your program, you may not be able to cross off completed tasks, meaning that you can't track what you've already done without additional hassle or personal short-hand/code/text on those tasks
    • You'll probably have to scroll in 1 (or both) directions... a lot.
    • Trying to look back over your previous lists is sort of unpleasant, if even possible.

    Hand-written To-do Lists - Good for lists with lots of small tasks
    Pros:
    • You can color-code tasks with colored pens.
    • You can organize your list/schedule/etc. any way that you want.
    • You get the satisfaction of physically crossing things off of a list and throwing paper away.
    Cons:
    • Once something is written down, it's there. You have to make a new list if you want to:
      • rearrange items in the list
      • get rid of all of the items that you've completed
      • change the color-coding of an individual item (or a few)
      • change anything else about your list
    • Tracking tasks based on days, weeks, months, etc. while ALSO having individual tasks to check off per day is almost impossible.
    • You go through a lot of paper.
    • Trying to look back over your previous lists is sort of unpleasant, if even possible.
    Digital To-do Lists - Good for lists with lots of small tasks
    Pros:
    • You can move tasks around easily.
    • It's easy to change what you have written for each task.
    • You can delete tasks as they are finished.
    • Depending on your program, you may be able to:
      • use color-coding
      • cross off finished tasks and have them move to the bottom of the list instead of being deleted
    Cons:
    • You have no real control over how you organize things - it has to be just a list.
    • Depending on your program, you may not be able to:
      • make use of any sort of color-coding.
      • cross off completed tasks, meaning that you can't track what you've already done without additional hassle or personal short-hand/code/text on those tasks
    • Tracking tasks based on days, weeks, months, etc. while ALSO having individual tasks to check off per day is doable, but complicated.
    • You will need to paste recurring tasks over and over and over and over and over again.
    • Trying to look back over your previous lists is sort of unpleasant, if even possible.
    • You'll probably have to scroll in 1 (or both) directions... a lot.

    Evernote (courtesy of Alessandro Zamboni) - Good for tasks, projects and contents to keep away.
    Pros:
    • You can place your notes in different folders (for example one for projects, one for things to do, one with the invoices, etc…)
    • You can archive tasks with tags to find them quickly.
    • You can move tasks up and down in the timeline, or leave them in the date that you opened them in.
    • You can write your notes, or import items and text with the browser widget.
    • You can archive also PDF files, html files, invoices for accountants, email, and so on.
    • You can use it for free without any problem, even if it provides a paid solution.
    • You can use the same account on pc, mac, cell phones, and tablets to have your lists always available 24 hours a day.
    Cons:
    • When you start using it, it's difficult to stop, as you become addicted.
    • If you don't open it and check it out on daily basis, it won't help.
    • Over time you will archive a lot of stuff.
    • Your projects, notes and tasks are online and are subject to hacker's attacks (learn to think the worst, and be always prepared).

    Hand-written Whiteboard To-do Lists - Used infrequently: good for lists with lots of small, frequently-changing tasks
    Pros:
    • You can color-code tasks with colored pens.
    • You can change the color-coding fairly easily (erase and rewrite the item)
    • You can change what is written for each item fairly easily (erase and rewrite the item)
    • You can organize your list/schedule/etc. any way that you want.
    • You get the satisfaction of physically crossing things off of and/or erasing items off of a list.
    Cons:
    • Once something is written down, it's a bit difficult to move. You have to find an empty space or make a new list if you want to rearrange items in the list.
    • Tracking individual tasks for any length of time over a few days is more or less impossible.
    • You need a whiteboard (or a few), pens, cleaner, and erasers.
    • Trying to look back over your previous lists isn't really possible without buying a LOT of whiteboards.


    So, those are some of the methods that I jump between, depending on the project and how long I've been using my current system.

    How about you? How do you schedule your time? :)
     
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    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  2. Steve Waller

    Steve Waller Well-Known Member

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    Badly would be my general answer - I have sticky notes, a notepad and a whiteboard but I'm still far from organized and in truth it probably results in plenty of wasted time and money.

    I have this tendency to leave things until the very last minute and often feel overwhelmed by the number of things I have on my to-do lists.

    I'm not a big fan of making New Year's Resolutions but if I were going to then getting organized would be one of them.
     
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  3. Lee Pennington

    Lee Pennington Active Member

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    Cheryl, amazing content and very informative

    Thanks for taking the time to write it :)

    My time management is something I could definitely improve on and I will be taking this advice onboard.
     
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  4. Cheryl Johnson

    Cheryl Johnson VIP Member

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    I think that's really common, actually. It's a little like information overload; you have so much to do that you don't know where to start, and don't even want to think about it until you have to!

    If that's the case, I'm a bit guilty of that as well, although I have so much to do that I'm always in a rush, whether I put things off or not. XD lol


    Thank you for the kind words! :D

    I'm just glad if I could be of help. ^-^
     
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  5. William Murray

    William Murray Administrator Staff Member

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    What a great post Cheryl, thank you!

    I'm terrible at scheduling and feel that's about to get worse when WSOJVC closes and I'm full throttle on JV Focus :D

    I mainly use Google Calendar and pen & paper, seems to work best with me, being a mac user I stay away from outlook :D
     
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  6. Alessandro Zamboni

    Alessandro Zamboni VIP Member

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    I don't like scheduling things and my life. Probably because I'm an Aquarius sign, so I like to manage everything on my mind. The unique help I use is Evernote to keep track of information and make order in my working life :) I killed procrastination during the first year of IM, back in 2008, and now I do a lot of things each and every day!

    Thanks and see you soon,
    Alessandro
     
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  7. Mike Newton

    Mike Newton Administrator Staff Member

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    Using Google Calendar and Alerts synced to my iPhone works for me. :D
     
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  8. Cheryl Johnson

    Cheryl Johnson VIP Member

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    *laughs* I'd say that if anything, having 1 less thing to schedule should make things easier for you, not harder! But then again, I don't know what sort of crazy (and awesome!) things you have planned for 2014, so I guess we'll see how true that is once you're ready for some big reveals! ^_~* lol

    Does the Microsoft pack for Mac not have Outlook? I had never considered that. 0.o



    *nods* Personally, I have a lot of trouble keeping everything in my head. I forget things and get stressed out trying to remember it all. XD

    Evernote, though, that's really popular! I know a lot of people who swear by it, but I haven't tried it myself just yet.

    If you'd feel like writing up a little blurb on it, I can add it to my post as a list option (with credit to you, of course). :)



    *nod nod* Sometimes having your phone telling you what to do can be a real life-saver, especially on a really busy day! :D
     
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  9. Alessandro Zamboni

    Alessandro Zamboni VIP Member

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    Hi Cheryl, I will try to do my best writing a blurb about Evernote this afternoon!

    Thanks and see you soon,
    Alessandro
     
    #9
  10. Mark Aumen

    Mark Aumen Member

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    I love Evernote. I use it often and encourage my teams to do so as well. As for scheduling my day, I follow the Early to Rise school of thought. Before I end my day, I try to schedule at least the major aspects of my day. I work a very demanding day job on top my IM responsibilities, so if I don't carve out chunks of time for everything, including family and self, it generally doesn't happen.
    Best
    Mark
     
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  11. William Murray

    William Murray Administrator Staff Member

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    Loads of crazy stuff in the pipeline :D

    It sure does, but I'm happy with Open Office : )
     
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  12. Sue Fleckenstein

    Sue Fleckenstein Well-Known Member

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    Personally I like to use a hand written to-do list. This way I can keep it on my desk and refer to it during the day. Before I finish for the night I update it and prioritize my tasks for the next day.

    Have tried Evernote but forget to go back in and make notes, haven't figured out all of the features either yet. I am currently trying out some printed monthly calendars to help me be more productive. Did lots today but it is only day 1 of back to work full time. Will have to see how it goes!
     
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  13. Alessandro Zamboni

    Alessandro Zamboni VIP Member

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    Hi Cheryl, here is my Evernote description to add to your list.
    Feel free to check it out for errors because as I said, English is not my best language ever :)


    Evernote - Good for tasks, projects and contents to keep away.

    Pros:
    • You can place your notes in different folders (for example one for projects, one for things to do, one with the invoices, etc…)
    • You can archive tasks with tags to find them fastly.
    • You can move tasks up and down in the timeline, or leave them in the date you opened.
    • You can write your notes, or import items and text with the browser widget.
    • You can archive also PDF files, html files, invoices for accountants, emails and so on.
    • You can use it for free without any problem, even if it provides a paid solution.
    • You can use the same account on pc, mac, cell phones and tablets to have your lists always available 24 hours on 24.
    Cons:
    • When you start using it, it's difficult to stop :) as you become addicted.
    • If you don't open it and check it out on daily basis, it won't help.
    • In some time you will archive lots of stuff.
    • Your projects, notes and tasks are online and are subject to hacker's attacks (learn to think the worst, and be always prepared).
    Evernote has become one of my favorite apps, and I use it on Mac, iPhone and iPad together to manage all my tasks, projects and things to check when I've time :) Try it out and be amazed!
     
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  14. William Murray

    William Murray Administrator Staff Member

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    Very cool Alessandro I've never used evernote myself? : )
     
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  15. Cheryl Johnson

    Cheryl Johnson VIP Member

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    I hear you! My life is scheduled by 15 minute time periods, and if it wasn't, I wouldn't get anything done! XD

    Your organizational skills must be amazing. :D


    I'll bet! I can't wait to see what's coming. ^-^


    *laughs* Ah, I see! Fair enough. I have a lot of friends who feel the same. ^_^
     
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  16. Cheryl Johnson

    Cheryl Johnson VIP Member

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    *nods* Hand written lists can be very rewarding, especially with a busy schedule. Have you ever tried sticky note calendars? they actually make BIG wall calendars, specifically to use with multiple sticky notes per day on the calendar. They are large, but being able to keep all of your lists in 1 place and move them around can be really great! :D


    That is an amazing description, Alessandro! You did a fantastic job! Thank you so much! :D

    With a description like that, how could I help but try it out for myself? ^_~* hehehe
     
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  17. Mark Aumen

    Mark Aumen Member

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  18. Mark Aumen

    Mark Aumen Member

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    Great description for sure... but my favorite feature is being able to email meeting notes and lists, etc to my team from there, and when they try to open it up they say "what the deuce is this???" and than I get them to try it ;).... mixed results so far but I'll get converts, Im sure.
     
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  19. Mark Aumen

    Mark Aumen Member

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  20. Mark Aumen

    Mark Aumen Member

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    Thanks but not so much on the org skills... that's why I use good tools! The 15 minute chunks have never worked that well for me.... I'm not that fast :)
     
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