Ruling your schedule

We’ve been getting quite technical about time and how we can best plan for it over here at Elevator Up. As our Product Manager Joel recently said in his post Make time, don’t find time:

I also realized that getting time to learn something or do something wasn’t going to magically appear. It’s something I had to be very intentional about.
~ Joel Taylor, Product Manager at Elevator Up

Man, is that true not only for Joel but for everyone. So we talked as a team about how we individually spend our time and how we can be more intentional with it. Joel’s post is a great introductory read to this post, so be sure to check that out. Today, I’ll be talking about an exercise you can run through to find more intentionality with your time.

Step 1: Figure out what is taking up your time

Grab some post-it notes or a blank sheet of paper and start listing all the things that may take away from the time you spend on a project or a project task. (For us this is billable work, for you it may be something different.) Basically write down what distracts you from getting heads down time, or the big things done on your list. These could be self-inflicted or company expectations.

Some examples from our team are:

  • Checking Email
  • Scheduling
  • Standups
  • Team Time
  • Blogging
  • Context switching
  • Staying up to date on trends

Step 2: Take a step back

Now that you know what takes up your time, look at what you need or want to get done that hasn’t gotten as much attention as you’d like. Make a list of those things. These are the things you want to be more intentional about.

Some examples from our team:

  • Blogging
  • Staying up to date
  • Improvement (personal, professional, team, etc.)

Step 3: Map out your Schedule

I put together an outline of what a week looks like at Elevator Up. Our work day generally goes from 9am-6pm, with some people arriving earlier and leaving earlier. But it generally looks like this:

Map out your own schedule and include any regular rhythms, like standing meetings for example. Then take another look and see where the things you want to be more intentional about can fit in. When I thought about my own schedule, I noticed that Mondays is my day to get organized, schedule things for the week, plus I have a standing status meeting with one of my team members that helps me prioritize for the week. On the other end of the week, Friday is my day to tidy the office, to blog, catch up on admin things, and wrap-up for the week. That leaves Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to focus on my given projects and priorities.

For some team members, they found they were able to take better advantage of gaps between projects or meetings, or just general lags within the day to do things on the first list like check email or read an industry article.

When you’re intentional about your schedule, you may uncover new pockets of time to utilize!

Step 3: Communicate with you team

Once you have a schedule, communicate it with your team. Let them know that you’re planning to blog on Friday mornings for example. This will allow team members to work with you, being aware of your goals and company expectations. They will also know when to ask you questions and when to leave you alone and let you work. There is still a balance between getting your things done and understanding the need to be flexible with other deadlines or demands. But, it will help both you and your team members work better and work better together.

Step 4: Stick with it for 2 weeks straight

Once you get a schedule together try your best to stick with it for two weeks straight. This will help you and the team figure out what works and doesn’t work, and will also help you form a habit. Which in a sense is intentionality becoming an ingrained rhythm of your week.

We’ve found this to be helpful with our team, but what are your tricks of the trade?

Tori, Studio Manager


Originally published at blog.elevatorup.com.