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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Scheduling

In Forge. More on Medium.

📂 Today’s tip: Try “day batching.”

When you approach your day’s tasks like a game of whack-a-mole — gotta check on that project! gotta email these eight people! gotta return those library books that were due last Thursday! — you never feel like you’re making meaningful progress. Instead, you just feel scattered, deflated, and overwhelmed by the 492 others items still lurking on your list.

A better approach, as shared by Michelle Loucadoux, MBA on Better Marketing, is to give each day of the week a specific purpose: Maybe Mondays are for writing, Wednesday are for promotion, and Fridays are…


🤔 Today’s tip: Ask yourself, when in the day am I most energetic?

You’ve probably fallen into the Coffee Trap before, wherein you have your first cup of coffee and suddenly, as the caffeine courses through you, decide you can conquer the world that day…only to find yourself rethinking your ambitions a few hours later. The good news is, these energy peaks and valleys can work to your advantage.

The TodoistOfficial Instagram account makes a great point: The key to daily productivity is scheduling around energy, because “timing is integral to our decisions, actions, and reactions.” So look at the…


🗓 ️Today’s tip: Ask yourself, “Where are the holes in my schedule?”

Fun is all well and good once you’ve finished your homework…but the problem is, when you’re a grownup, you’re never finished with your homework. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t make time for fun. As entrepreneurship coach Charlene Walters writes on Medium, it’s easier than you might think. Look for holes in your schedule, she advises, and “search for places that you have downtime that you can better allocate. Maybe you’re spending 10 hours a week watching Netflix without realizing it. …


🔌 Today’s tip: Recharge with a random mid-week mini-vacation.

You know what’s even better than a three-day weekend? A two-day workweek. To maximize the re-energizing power of a day off, as the Forge writer Annaliese Griffin has argued in Quartz, take it smack in the middle of the workweek. This turns a five-day slog into two-day chunks buffered by free time.

If you can’t take a day off, think of a treat you usually save for the weekend — a favorite takeout meal, an indulgently long bath — and make it happen on a Wednesday. …


The key to an effective weekly calendar is pessimism

Illustration: Simoul Alva

As a time-management consultant, I see a lot of schedules — so I know what I’m talking about when I say that Catherine Gillespie’s schedule was a work of art.

Gillespie, a strategy consultant, tracked her time for me last year as part of a time-makeover project I recently led. She was freelancing 30–40 hours a week while homeschooling her five kids — before the pandemic. She exercised in the mornings; she got together with friends. She made it all work.

So why was she seeking advice from me? She told me that she wanted to protect time for creative…


And other solutions for those who dread the unstructured abyss of the weekend

Photo: Gary Yeowell/Getty Images

For most of my employed life, I’ve embraced a sentiment shared by just about all workers in our post-industrial society: Weekends rule. Every week, from Wednesday on, I’d daydream about filling Saturday and Sunday with adventures and time with family and friends. I loved putting plans on my calendar: a new hike, a day at a music festival, a birthday party at a bar.

During these two cherished days, Work Stephen would completely switch off. Barring any emergencies, all straggling projects, reports, and emails could wait until Monday.

Then the pandemic came along.

When the world was put on lockdown…


THINGS I MISS

When we don’t have the big plans to look forward to, it’s time to focus on the small pleasures

Illustrations courtesy of the author.

This reminds me of ending a relationship. There’s always that moment after a split when you look over your calendar and realize how many plans aren’t actually going to happen. There’s the concert we won’t be attending together at the end of the month. There’s the weekend trip we can’t refund. There’s the movie coming out that we’d been looking forward to before we stopped being a “we.”

In the harsh moment when you realize that the year will look very different than you imagined, the calendar looks sad and empty. The year suddenly seems endless, hazy, and full of…


Don’t let your brain hijack you

Illustration: Sebastian Schwamm

Laura Vanderkam, the time management expert who wrote Off the Clock and Juliet’s School of Possibilities, is here to answer your scheduling questions. Check back every week for more advice, and send your own productivity problems to asklaura@medium.com. (Your name will not be used.)

Dear Laura: I start the day full of energy, but every afternoon around 3 p.m., I crash and lose intensity. I looked up at 3:30 p.m today and realized I had lost 40 minutes to comparing prices on couches that I don’t actually intend to buy. Is there any way to avoid this?

Losing chunks of…


Saying yes to your best work means saying no to others, including your pesky inner critic

Credit: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

If you’re someone who does creative work, unless it’s bringing in a reasonable paycheck, you probably treat it like a hobby. Is it really a big deal if you didn’t write today? Your family needed clean laundry. So what if you didn’t paint this afternoon? Your sister called to vent about another crisis at her corporate job. Sure, you wish you could have gone outside and shot some photographs while the light was fantastic, but your kids were fighting and you needed to intervene.

We hear a lot about setting boundaries — in families, in friendships, and in the workplace…

Forge

A publication from Medium on personal development.

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