Build a time buffer into your schedule

Under-scheduling your day — even by just 30 minutes — can be an effective method for keeping to your schedule all day.

I’ve been working from home, in one capacity or another, since 2009. Six years’ experience has allowed me to come up with many great organizational and productivity tricks, and one of the most effective strategies is essentially accounting for the unpredictable.

I’m a big fan of routine and scheduling. I know when I’m going to work on a given project or area of focus. Before I go to bed at night, I review what must be done the next day. That’s a great way to eliminate the dreaded “what should I work on first/now?” questions. By the time you sit at your desk, you should be ready to go.

But that’s not my favorite trick. I schedule nothing — not a single task — for the last hour of the day. This “time buffer” is handy in so many ways. A last-second appointment come up? No problem. Kids need to be picked up from school? Got it. Even if nothing comes up, you’ve now got to time to process email, work up your schedule for tomorrow, maybe even relax a bit and decompress for the day.

It’s easy to schedule every minute of the day, and even over-schedule. Try building in a time buffer each day for a week to see if it’s beneficial to your effectiveness and productivity. I suspect it will be.

3 Comments for “Build a time buffer into your schedule”

  1. posted by laura m. on

    Even retirees have to have a routine and some form of scheduling. For example: I do errands and grocery shopping between 8 am up to around 10 am as needed. Then come home and get ready to fix lunch, then spend the afternoon on the computer. after 4pm we watch TV or do other things outdoors if needed. Part of the afternoon we bicycle or sometimes visit.

  2. posted by Office work addict on

    My schedule is crazy busy – I work on shifts 12 hours a day/night; over 60 hours a week. I study two masters; participate in projects do internships and even some charity. I also take care of the household and try to spend quality time with my fiance. I even manage to read and relax. Obviously for all that to work without the burn out effect I must be doing some good planning. Even so sometimes so many unforeseeable things come up, that I feel overwhelmed. So laura m. it is a bit unfair to judge others upon your arguable busyness.

  3. posted by Concernedbusybody on

    Erm, I might have missed some hidden message Office Work Addict, but I can’t see anything in Laura ms post that passes any judgement on anyone. Maybe over analysing? Anyhow thanks unclutterer, good idea. Definitely another tool for the kit for dealing with time management.

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