Do you feel like your schedule is too tight? Are you always running into problems when you move from one meeting to the next, falling a little behind as you go along? If this is the case, it's time to build buffers into your schedule.
A schedule that is too tight contributes to higher stress levels and can actually reduce your productivity. Plus, as you rush from item to item on your list, there is a good chance that you will forget something important or fall behind in some way.
Instead of keeping everything so tight and stressful, here is how you can build buffers into your schedule.
Allow Extra Travel Time for Meetings
One of the easiest ways to build buffers into your schedule is to allow extra travel time for meetings. If you think you need 15 minutes to get to the next meeting, schedule 25 minutes. If you think a meeting will last an hour, assume that it will last an hour and 20 minutes. These little boosts give you extra chunks throughout the day, and can help you smooth your schedule.
Even if you are just moving from your office into a conference room, or if all you need to do is call in, add an extra five minutes to the prep time. You'll be able to take a little time to breathe deep and focus, allowing you to be better ready for the meeting and get some last minute preparation in.
Schedule Less in a Day
Your day doesn't have to be jam packed all the time. It's not an indication of productivity if you are over-scheduled. Most of the time it's just an indication that you are busy working on things that might not matter all that much. Instead, consider scheduling less in a day. It's the perfect way to build buffers into your schedule.
Consider the most important things you need to accomplish that day. Make it a point to focus on those items and leave some of the less important tasks off the schedule. There's nothing wrong with saying no -- especially to things that aren't really going to help your business that much. We often have to make decisions about how we will use our time. Don't get bogged down. You'll have more room in your schedule if you say no to some things.
Delegate Some Tasks
One of the best ways to build buffers into your schedule is to delegate some tasks. The best leaders understand that they can't do everything, and that some tasks should be taken over by others. There are mundane tasks that virtual assistants or others can do. Other tasks are better accomplished by specialists who have more expertise in something than you do.
Once you start delegating, rather than trying to do everything yourself, you will free up your schedule a little bit so that you are less rushed and stressed, and so that you have more time to accomplish the essential tasks of running your business.