Sticking to the Schedule

So yesterday I revealed to you all that I am a disorganized slob.

Now that you all know, I feel so much better!

*group hug*

Ahem.

I also revealed to you all that I am a disorganized slob who is working towards change.

In addition to organizing my gmail box, I have decided to use Google Calendar. Although I’ve had iCalendar on my mac for years and have had Google Calendar available to me for a long time as well, I just never bothered. I don’t actually have a lot of appointments or “special” things to remember, so I couldn’t see the point.

Then it (the point) hit me — Everything is a special appointment.

The reason I never have time to do any of the things I want to do is because I constantly mismanage my time and don’t always set concrete time restrictions on myself. For instance, I may say that tomorrow I am going to get up at 9, eat breakfast/read blogs, get dressed, walk to the gym and take the 12 noon Cardio Kickboxing class. Now in my head, this seems perfect. I wake up at 9, so I should be plenty rested. 90 minutes is plenty of time to make eggs or oatmeal and read blogs, then I take 30 minutes to get ready and I’m out of the door by 11 for the 2 mile walk to the gym. No problemo.

What actually happens: I get up at 9 as planned. I putz around, trying to decide what to eat. I make it and eat it. Then I start reading blogs, messing around on twitter, playing farmville (I know, I know! Shuddup…), responding to e-mails, reading the news, etc. Next thing I know it is 11:30. Now I could throw on my clothes, RUN to the bus and make it into the class maybe 5 minutes late. But I hate being late…and what if I miss the bus? And crap! I forgot to pack my lunch! Where is my headband?! Oh nevermind. I’ll go next week.

All because I didn’t force any kind of structure on myself.

So my plan is to now schedule it all in. Get up at 7. Setting an earlier time to rise provides a buffer in case I oversleep or fool around on the internet too long. Make breakfast and be done with the breakfast and internet by 10. Get dressed and finish up things around my apartment and be ready to leave by 11. Walk to the gym and exercise.

See? With that schedule, everything I wanted to do is done.

This was actually my schedule for today:

I cut my calendar down, for privacy’s sake, but here is a hunk of time for Monday and Tuesday. As you can see, it is a little different from what I described above. I set my “get up and have breakfast” time to be the absolute latest I wanted to do those activities. If you were able to see above, I have “sleep” scheduled in until 6:30am, which was the absolutely earliest I wanted to get out of bed. I promised myself that if I got up before 8:30am, then I could use that time to be on the computer, but if I slept in, I promised that I would get up and get my business taken care of.

As it turns out, I woke up at 7. I had breakfast and read blogs until about 9:30, and then I proceeded to get my apartment in order. Unfortunately, I hit some snags. I had forgotten to pack my lunch the night before (see, just like I said I normally do). As I would be going to work right after the gym, I HAD to get it done. I also didn’t get my workout clothes together, so I couldn’t find something I needed. Both of these are things that I should have done last night. These things normally would have thrown me into a panic that would’ve made me give up on getting out of the house for that workout. Today, however, because I had scheduled in plenty of time, I was able to make it to the gym. I unfortunately wasn’t able to salvage enough time to walk to the gym, but I did get there….5 minutes early! A personal record!

Another thing I like about my setup is that if I forget about what I’ve scheduled, I can find it right in gmail. I always check my e-mail first thing, so it is staring me in the face. Check it out in the lower left hand corner there:

Yesterday’s gmail tutorial picture shows that yesterday I scheduled myself to get to the gym by 12pm…did it happen? No. But not because of me! The bus broke down! I got there at 12:15pm and got in an excellent 2.5 mile waterfront run.

Another way that Google Calendar doesn’t let me forget is by alerting me when I am supposed to be doing something. I synced up iCalendar on my iPhone with Google Calendar so that in addition to any e-mail reminders I may receive about my schedule, I also can get my phone to alert me. Just last night at 11:30pm I heard an annoying beep emanating from my side table. I checked my phone, and do you know what it said?

11:30pm – SLEEP!

It was right. I was plumb tuckered out, so I obeyed.

I pointed you all towards Kath’s Nerd KERF videos for help with gmail, but she has done one for Google Calendar as well. Check it out if you are so inclined.

Do you keep a calendar? Electronic or on paper?

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9 Responses to Sticking to the Schedule

  1. maya says:

    It is absolutely vital for me to structure my time this way if I want to get anything done on time. I try to do it for both my mornings and my gym time and, like you, I schedule in a good amount of buffer time.. I still tend to let the evenings slide into chaos, though.

    Good for you for getting organized! πŸ˜€

    • girlinchucks says:

      See, I’ve always made the schedule up in my head….but I never would stick to it. I’m finding that having it down in writing makes me more inclined to follow through. I didn’t believe that would be the case, but so far, 3 days in, it has been. I didn’t want to run this morning, as I am in pain from yesterday’s cardio kick class. I waffled a bit, but I reminded myself it was only supposed to be a slow short run and it is on the schedule! So I ran!

      I haven’t gotten to scheduling my free time yet, aside from sleeping. I’m starting slow, first just working on getting my mornings, workouts and actual appointments (dentist, etc.) scheduled. Then my hope is to start structuring my free time a little bit so I can get the most accomplished. Don’t want to overwhelm myself right out of the gate though.

  2. Eric says:

    Damn you. Now Maya’s gonna want me to block out exactly when & for how long I use my computer/practice/play video games/watch TV every night. -_-;

  3. I love my google calendar! I sync it with Hubbs’ gcalendar so we know each other’s schedules… it makes planning weekends easier… plus we’re huge nerds and send each other meeting requests for certain events- haha! it works though!

    • girlinchucks says:

      I always thought it made a lot of sense with people who have very busy professional schedules to use it, but never before did it occur to me that I could benefit from the structure as well.

      I do think it’s a pretty neat feature to be able to sync calendars with others too!

      Nothing wrong with being a nerd, btw. πŸ˜‰

  4. Jessica says:

    Yay for attempting to be organized! My Google Calendar is an absolute monster because I use it to keep track of when different freelance projects are due, but it finally occurred to me a while ago that I would get more done if I also put things like “do laundry” and “bake brownies” in there as well. πŸ˜‰

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