So many things to do and not enough time. This seems to be a common problem amongst working individuals today. Sometimes it’s true, you may just have too many things on your plate. However most of the time the problem lies in the choices you make around how you schedule your day. Every time you are presented with a task it’s important to ask yourself a few questions before locking it into your calendar. That said, here are seven scheduling questions you need to ask yourself to stay productive.
Does this task align with my goals?
This question should always be in the back of your mind as you work throughout the day. In business and in life we need to maintain a clear purpose. From that purpose you need to set clear and attainable goals for yourself. As you put tasks down on your calendar it’s important to make sure they align with your goals.
At work it’s common for people to say “yes” to every task given to them. This is especially true if the task comes from a higher up. If these tasks aren’t helping you or the company move towards the right objective you should think twice or speak up.
Who are all the parties involved?
A meeting with your colleague is much easier to reschedule than one with the entire team (obviously). That said you need to always take not of all the parties involved in the meeting. If you’re scheduling team meetings make sure you’re 100% committed to the time selected.
Is this the best time to complete this task?
Everyone works at different levels of productivity throughout the workday. Regardless of how much coffee you drink you will have slow periods I can almost guarantee it. That said you should always schedule your most strenuous tasks for the times of the day you’re most productive.
For example after I get back from lunch i’m usually ready for a nap. Very rarely do I schedule any important sales meetings following lunchtime. In fact, I leave the hour after lunch open most days. The best way to stay consistent is to build habits around your workday and stick to them.
What is my backup plan?
When scheduling your day you should always leave a few open slots for back-up. Let’s say your boss comes to you with a super urgent task but you have a team meeting at that same time. If you have a few time slots open for back-up you can easily slip the task in and let your boss know it’ll be finished that day. If you use a time blocking strategy on your calendar you can always leave “free” space for these types of emergencies.
Are you the best candidate for this job/task?
It’s always good to push yourself to learn new things. In terms of productivity however you should always ask yourself whether or not you’re the best fit candidate for the job at hand. If you have tons of time on your hands and can take the load off someone else then go ahead. However, if you’re short on time you should always look to delegate these tasks to someone else.
The ability to delegate tasks to the best fit candidate is a skill that will pay dividends forever regardless where you’re working. In addition it shows great leadership which any manager will appreciate.
One of the best ways to stay productive during the day is to stay on top of your schedule. To keep your schedule in order you need to ask the right questions. The five above will help you stay organized and work efficiently throughout the workday.
This article originally appeared in Due.