3/300: Scheduling

My goals for 2016 are, admittedly, a little crazy both in terms of volume and breadth. From a writing perspective, it will mean tripling the number of books I have written, quadrupling the number of blogs I’ve posted and managing a daily journal. Reading 26 books is about par for my best years, but more than double what I’ve managed over the past two and the fitness is almost completely new to me. I meet people all the time, but setting a goal of interviewing 26 people – the majority of whom I do not know – means a certain amount of discipline.

I also have a full-time, demanding job, three kids involved in sports and arts and community projects and a wife I would like to see every day.

In the last post, I covered understanding capability and the pace at which I get things done. The next step was laying out a schedule that would allow me to iterate my way toward achieving my goals without burning out. I began by paying close attention to how I spend my days.

Since we got a dog last summer, I’ve been the one (90% of the time) who gets up in the morning with her. She likes to eat at 6 am — an hour I didn’t previously see much of — and I would get up with her, feed her and walk her, then go back to bed or watch Sports Center with my early rising 11 year-old. I’d leave for work sometime between 8 and 9.

The morning seemed like an opportune time to knock of a few of my goals.

My work day is often unpredictable, but I have always managed to spend 30-60 minutes surfing the internet, watching YouTube or chatting with coworkers.

There was opportunity there.

The evenings begin with an hour commute, involved dinner and sports practices, meetings and chores. The kids are usually in bed by 9 and my wife and I spend time settling in to watch TV or relax before bed around midnight.

I wanted to get to bed a little earlier, but there are three hours in there that can be worked with.

I wanted to write six blog posts a week and work on books Monday through Saturday. Reading, journaling and language training are daily needs and fitness will be dictated by the program I’m working on currently – the Couch to 5K program is three days a week, while the push-up, crunch and squat programs are daily.

I had a good sense of time needs from my productivity study.

Journal – 10 minutes

Blog – 15 minutes

Write – 30 minutes

Read – 30 minutes

Language – 10 minutes

Fitness – 15-45 minutes, depending upon the program

Total Max Daily Time: about 2 hours.

It’s almost impossible for me to get a two hour block of time in any given day, so I began designing a daily schedule based upon my observations of how my days usually break down and my goals:

Monday – Saturday: journal, blog, write, read, language, fitness.

Sunday: journal, language, read.

I then slotted in time for each of the projects in periods of the day:

AM (pre-work): fitness, journal, blog

Workday: language

PM (after the kids are in bed): writing and reading

I’m not much of a TV watcher, though I admit to a Netflix addiction. I’ll still pursue that, but only after I get things done. I can read and write on the couch next to my wife, while she watches her shows.

The important part is that I’m never overloading any day or time of day. Each block is predetermined and spread out, according to my mindset. I’m a more creative writer in the evening. I’m a better thinker in the morning. If I work out in the morning, it’s done and over with. No guilt. No pressure later in the day.

This schedule, hopefully, will help me break down my goals into manageable, consistent pieces that can be sustained throughout the year.

My 15 minute timer just went off. Time to move on to the next thing. Check back tomorrow, when I’ll write about my goal of writing 8.5 books in a year.



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