I saw a teaser on LinkedIn last week about taming your schedule. As someone who feels like my calendar has gotten completely out of control these days, I was obviously intrigued. Shane Atchison talks about a skill he leaned from a mentor of his and titled his post Scheduling for the Unexpected. The idea is simple – block a portion for your day for the inevitable surprise. It’s not a question of whether or not something will come up, but what that will be. Atchison shares that he schedules some time at the end of the day, typically an hour, and that helps him keep on track. And while he does usually need that time, on the rare occasions he doesn’t, he’s able to leave work an hour earlier and prioritize something else.
This certainly isn’t a new concept, but I so love the idea of scheduling unstructured time (I know, I know…scheduling unscheduled time? Could my Type A be any more obvious?). I personally do best with structure and plans. It helps me organize, stay focused and not feel overwhelmed. That does mean I’m not always great when the unexpected comes my way, but I want to be better at being more flexible, and this seems like just the tool to help. The idea of building in time to handle what I didn’t expect really resonates with me. The hard part, of course, is sticking to it. That time, at least for me, will always be the first thing to go as the calendar gets tighter and demands pile up. But that’s also something I’m trying to be better at – sticking to my priorities. So if carving out time for the unexpected means I feel less crazed and I can get things done? Sign me up. I’m blocking the time on my calendar right now.