There are a lot of people that use a schedule to get things done. For those of us that use them, we all have, or should be creating gaps in our schedules. In this context, they are little, or sometimes big snippets of time between appointments, tasks or projects.
If you already have them in place, that’s a good thing. Creating gaps in our schedules is a good time management practice. It’s also good for productivity, and to keep from becoming overwhelmed and stressed out.
A gap in between appointments or tasks, allows us to regroup and breathe before moving on to the next thing on our schedule. It’s not always easy creating gaps in our schedules, especially if you work in an environment where others are continuously sending invitations to meetings that you are expected to attend.
There are a few examples below where creating gaps in our schedules can save time, avoid overwhelm and keep stress at bay. If you know of others, please share them in the comments section below.
Examples of Creating Gaps in Our Schedules
We have all had those appointments where we have arrived late. The most common reason is due to traffic. We never know how the traffic is flowing on our routes, unless maybe you have a crystal ball, wink, wink.
There are smartphone apps that not only provide directions, but also traffic conditions. Some of them will give you an alternate route based on current traffic conditions. One such app that I know about is waze. It will provide an alternate route when it learns you are approaching a traffic jam. This may avoid you sitting in traffic, but it could also add time to your trip by taking the alternate route.
Whether you have a crystal ball, or a smartphone app, you may still not arrive at your destination on time. However, creating gaps in your schedule to allow for drivetime will provide additional time to allow for those unexpected traffic jams.
As mentioned above, there are those that work in an environment where others are continuously sending invitations to meetings that you’re expected to attend. Having an overloaded schedule with back to back meetings will stress you out, and decrease your productivity faster than the speed of light.
The first thing I recommend is to learn more about the meetings you are invited to attend. Is your presence critical to the meeting? Can you provide required information in a report that can be sent prior to the start of the meeting?
Then if you learn that your attendance is required, allow for time to prepare, and time to get to your meeting (ie., drivetime, walk time, get on Zoom) by creating a gap in your schedule.
Everything you do typically has a deadline, or a due date, whether it’s in your professional life, or in your personal life.
Some deadlines are not that important, others are critical. Tasks or projects in the professional world adhere to schedules, which consequently have deadlines. These expectations are not necessarily a bad thing. Deadlines can provide motivation to get the work done.
In the same vein, due dates can provide motivation to get something turned in on time, such as homework, or payments. The motivating factor in the homework scenario can be the consequence of getting a lower grade, or an incomplete status for the work. In the payment scenario, the motivator may be the consequence of paying a late fee, or worse, getting a service turned off.