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A less overwhelming way of scheduling time

One of the feedback I've got is that planning the entire week in a specific way is quite overwhelming and hard to follow through, and not following through can get demotivating and lead to quitting. And I know some of you have quit already. So, this week, I tried out an alternative way of planning work and scheduling time to account for this feedback and want to share that with you to see if it works better.

The purpose of identifying what tasks to get done during the week is important as it sets us up to evaluate what we want to focus on this week and how much progress we intend to make on each of the aspects we are working on. And the purpose of identifying when to get these tasks done during the week is important as it ensures we schedule and set aside the right amount of time for each of the things so as not to overcommit to what we can achieve during the week and end up exhausted.

However, I've traditionally looked at these two as intertwined and have planned for both aspects at the same time - both what to do and when to do it. This results in a weekly calendar with times set aside for different tasks.

This week, I tried separating the two out and I must say, that works just as well. I'm used to the old way, so I couldn't really tell if this was less overwhelming, but if you've found the old way to be overwhelming, you can let me know how you find this.

In this, I separate the what from the when.

Just as before, I still list out all the things I need to get done during the week and how much time I expect to spend on each of them. In addition, I also grouped similar tasks together. For example, writing blog posts, writing my novel, writing feature specifications, making presentations are all grouped into Writing. Reading a book, reading articles and reading documents and whatever else is needed for work into Reading. Then there is another group for Meetings which includes work meetings as well as calls I have to make to friends and family. Then there is Entertainment covering watching shows, listening to podcasts, etc. And Physical activity for workouts.

Then, instead of scheduling what task ought to be done when, I simply blocked out chunks of time to be allocated to one of these groups. For instance, Thursday 11-5 was my Writing time where I hadn't specified what exactly I'd write but went with what my mood directed me to at the time.

While the end result is the same, the information is presented differently to our brains and this could potentially make the task less overwhelming. But it still achieves the same end goals. So, if you'd like, you should give this a shot.

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