Learning to manage your own appointments and schedule


  Learning to manage your own appointments and schedule

Managing your own appointments and schedule can be a tricky thing. It takes a significant amount of scheduling, planning, and organization. Despite the benefits that self-management brings about in terms of getting things done early with as little stress possible, many people find it overwhelming to manage their own time in this way.

We’re here to help by sharing our top tips for managing your own appointments and schedule, based on what we know from organizational psychology about how best to get tasks accomplished quickly.

#1: Prioritize Tasks Based on Importance – Every task we complete has its importance relative to other tasks in the same category. Whether you’re talking about a task as simple as reminding yourself to buy milk and eggs or a task as complex as designing a new product, every task has an amount of importance that we assign to it.

Importance is based on several factors including:

Urgency – How soon our task needs to be completed

Value – How much the success of our project will impact our own life and the lives of others

Duration – The length of time it takes to complete a specific project, including any research and organization required beforehand.

Effort – The amount of energy we have to expend in order to complete a specific project, including any new skills that we may have to learn.

Intrinsic Motivation – How much we feel energized and excited about completing a particular task or project.

When it comes to how we prioritize our tasks within a given category, there are several organizational techniques that can be used. One of the most basic and effective is the Eisenhower Matrix, known as the Urgent-Important matrix.

This approach ranks your tasks based on urgency (how urgent they are), importance (how important they are) and flexibility (how flexible you are when it comes to the timing of them). These three factors are all combined to provide a matrix that will help you easily prioritize tasks based on how urgent they are and how important they are.

#2: Buy a Durable Planner – Having a hard-copy planner will allow you to stay organized and manage your schedule effectively. It gives you a place to plan out your day by writing down specific tasks, events, meetings and appointments.

Although we’re big fans of using our smartphones for scheduling simple appointments (think grocery shopping lists or reminders about bills that need to be paid), for planning out our day-to-day activities or upcoming holidays, nothing beats a good old fashioned pen and paper planner.

There’s something about the old ways of doing things that makes us feel more productive and fulfilled. And it just can’t be beat when it comes to old-fashioned organization. So, before you go fully high-tech and embrace your smartphone or electronic tablet for scheduling tasks, we highly recommend keeping a paper planner handy to write down a few notes about things for yourself or loved ones.

#3: Set Up Weekly and Monthly Planning Sessions – There are different reasons why you might want to set up a planning session that is either weekly or monthly in nature.

Some include:

To plan out upcoming events such as birthdays, vacations, holidays and celebrations (e.g. Christmas, New Years or Valentine’s Day)

To plan out the month ahead (e.g. monthly budgets for yourself and your family) with regard to events such as birthdays, holidays, and vacations

To simply write down tasks in a weekly planner that you want to do during the upcoming week (including both work related tasks and personal tasks)

We recommend starting with monthly planning sessions because they require less time up front than weekly planning sessions since there aren’t as many weeks to plan out.

During a monthly planning session, you’ll want to schedule in the following:

Birthdays or holidays – Schedule reminders and make sure that you send out cards ahead of any upcoming birthdays or holidays. This is a great time to plan out and research any upcoming celebrations that will take place during the month.

Vacations, getaways or trips – Plan out a vacation in advance so that it doesn’t turn into another item on your never-ending to do list. Research places you might want to go as well as hotels and flights. Make a list of all the things that need to be done when it comes to booking travel plans, make reservations about where you plan on staying, etc.

Budgets for each month – Take a look at your income for the month and the expenses you’re already aware of (e.g. mortgage, car payments, etc.). Then, start thinking about what you could reduce or cut back on or what additional expenses might come up unexpectedly (e.g. car repairs). Write down a budget for each month based on all the information you have about your income and expenses.

Tasks for the week ahead – In order to keep things organized, write down a list of all the tasks you have for the upcoming week or month (e.g. “buy milk and eggs” or “order HDTV”). This will help you prioritize your tasks as you go through your day.

#4: Set a Deadline for Each Task – This might seem like a no-brainer but setting a deadline and time frame for each task can be very beneficial when it comes to managing your schedule.

It sets a start and stop time in which you want to get something done. Deadlines give us a sense of urgency and focus, and helps put things into perspective. For example, you probably have a deadline for a work project you need to finish by the end of the month or a presentation that’s due next week.

But deadlines can also be set for personal tasks such as cleaning out your closet or organizing your finances (e.g. putting new bills in their appropriate folders). Deadlines can be set out for both long and short-term goals, depending on what’s necessary for each specific task.

#5: Establish Daily Goals – It’s important to set some daily goals that you can cross off as you go through your day. Do this for both work related and personal tasks.

For example, if you’re a phone salesperson, you might want to set daily goals of how many calls you might make per day. This will help encourage you to take on more sales volume each day or week and give you an idea of what your average daily sales volume might be.

This is also a great way to set personal goals such as making more money from your side hustle or saving up for a big-ticket purchase (e.g. traveling across the country). Setting long-term goals can help keep us motivated and focused throughout the course of our day as well.


Like we mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, organization isn’t always as complicated as some people make it out to be. Sure, we may have a ton of stuff in our lives that can sometimes cause us to feel overwhelmed – from work, family, bills or personal obligations. But we highly recommend breaking things down into manageable steps and focusing on each individual task you need to get done for your daily to-do list.

This helps keep things simple and gets you one step closer to achieving the goals that you’ve set out for yourself.

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