I am kicking in an open door, when I say that, everything is moving fast, too fast. We have to be present all the time so that we do not miss out on a mail, a message, a photo posted on social media, the news, … We have to be ‘flexible’. We have to be able to adapt to any change that comes our way… But is that so? And what is the price we are paying…?

Because at the same time I see and hear:

People are frustrated that they don’t get immediate responses to all they are asking.

People are surprised that their work is never done.

People are using this ‘having to be available all the time’ as an excuse to always be late and not get their stuff done.

At the end of the day, everyone is exhausted and frustrated as we’ve been running and trying to catch up all day. It’s as my mentor Courtney Carver* says:

“If catching up would work, we’d all be caught up by now.”

But we are never caught up, as things keep coming our way. That’s why we need to organize our time and we need to choose wisely what and when we’ll do things, we need to prioritize.

If you keep a clear schedule of what to do when, and you let people know, then a lot of frustration is already out of the way. People then know when you’re available and when not. People know what to expect, so they are not frustrated anymore. And you too, can relax more, because you now know what to do when, and you also know others know and accept your schedule.

Carving out time for specific tasks gives you breathing space. You can focus on the task at hand and when something new pops up, you know you have a time frame to deal with that too. You don’t need to drop what you’re doing to act immediately. And anyway trying to do everything ‘now’ never works. Constantly changing priorities does not work. Trying to please people by answering right away backfires in the end, as you can never keep up with all that is coming your way.

Schedule what you want to get done, not to be rigid, but to find peace in knowing that, whenever you keep to your schedule, all will get done.

Start every day following your own agenda.

Make sure you have a morning routine** so that you are ready to tackle the day. Don’t start by reading emails, or social media, or messages, as that will dictate what you’re going to do first, and then you’ll be playing ‘trying to keep up’ all day.

Start by waking up at a time that will provide you with enough quiet time before you enter the rat race.

Make sure you enjoy your shower, your breakfast, your cup of coffee, your juice, …

Breathe, let your mind awake in a gentle way.

Go outside for a few minutes.

Listen to the quiet, or to something relaxing before you ignite your brain.

Meditate if you scheduled it.

Work out if that’s your scheduled time to work out.

And then, you will be ready to go to work, to do whatever is on your schedule for the day.

Block time zones for the tasks at-hand.

Respect these as much as possible to avoid messing up your whole schedule.

Communicate your schedule to your co-workers, your family.

Clear is kind.

Unclear is unkind.***

The more you function like this, the more relaxed you’ll feel, the more control you’ll seem to have over your time use, and the more time you’ll seem to have as you get everything done what you had in mind.

Once you have dedicated time slots for different tasks, it is easier to say: ‘I’ll handle this then’ because you know you’ll do, as you have reserved the time for it.

And, very importantly, when I say reserve time slots for tasks, I also mean: provide time slots to read, to practice sports, to do nothing, to meet up with friends, to enjoy a long hot bath, to cook, to meditate, to sleep, ….

Once all is in a weekly schedule, you’ll see how freeing that works. I know people often think the opposite, but try it for a couple of weeks until you’re used to it, and until people know your schedule too. As long as everyone knows what to expect, there is no more frustration as things get done more consistently than when you were still trying to get everything done the very minute you were asked. That is what people ultimately want: things getting done, and getting things done well. That is only possible when you are fully focused on the task at hand and when you’re not distracted by new demands coming your way, because that’ll make you being all over the place with 20+ things on your mind.

My invitation to you all is:

Make a weekly schedule with what you are doing, and what you want to get done.

Make it realistic. Don’t overdo it. Make sure there is enough time to work but also to relax and sleep.

Provide enough space in between activities so that you can breathe, and have time to change location whenever that is required.

Include everything in one schedule: professional, as well as personal activities. You can use colors or codes because not everyone at work needs to know your complete personal life.

Believe in it,

believe it’s for your own good,

believe everyone will benefit from ‘you keeping to your schedule’.

Good luck! And enjoy that feeling of having more time, of having a seemingly calmer day where you get everything done that you wanted to do.

Thank you all for reading me and for supporting me on Medium! If you want unlimited access to all of my articles and many other authors, you can become a Medium Member and you’ll be supporting me, and all the other authors. Many, many thanks to you all!!!



*’Be More with Less’ Courtney Carver.

**’Happy Mornings, Happy Days. Happy Days, Happy Life.’ Medium Article by Katrien Degraeve.

***’Getting Back to Happy’ Marc and Angel Chernoff.





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