Working on a Regular Schedule

In various incarnations of my past professional lives, I have been a Project Manager. The first, and potentially most important, lesson of a Project Manager is this: The thing that needs to be done tomorrow will get done before the thing that needs to be done as soon as possible.

When you give someone a task, you think that getting it done as soon as possible means that you want it to be done right now, but you know it'll take time, so you'll accept now plus the amount of time that it takes to do. When you *receive* a task to be done as soon as possible, though, you think of all the things that have to be done at a certain time as say, "no, it's not possible to get this done before these other things are due." So you put it off.

That happens all the time. All the time. Not once a week, or once a day. Right this very moment, as you read this, someone is asking for something to be done as soon as possible, and someone else is putting it off until their regular work is done. Remember this lesson, and your communications with others on urgent tasks will be made much better.

Useful as that is, we are not here to learn about communicating with others. We're here to learn about what can make you work best with you. You want to do a thing, but you have no time to do it. You tell yourself, "Oh, I should totally do A Thing," and then you put it off because life interferes. The Thing you want to do isn't even as urgent as something that needs doing as soon as possible, so it gets put on the backburner while you sweep the floor, buy groceries, or watch some re-run of a show that you don't even like all that much.

So, if you want to make A Thing but you don't seem to have time for it, now's when you have to schedule the time. You have to carve out 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or maybe even a luxurious hour every day. Perhaps every week day with two hours per day on the weekend, or 3 hours per day on the weekend but only 15 minutes during the week. The actual amount of time, while important, is less important than that you schedule it and you stick to that schedule.

During your scheduled time, you do nothing that isn't working on your Thing. No Twitter. No Facebook. No television. No YouTube. No talking on the phone. No text messages. No web surfing. You either sit in a chair and think about making your thing, or you actually make progress making your thing. Words on paper. Paint on canvas. Notes coming out of vibrating strings. Glutenin and gliadin combining with water to make gluten. Whatever it is, you should be doing it and nothing else. 

If you schedule it, and you work to do it, then the Making of A Thing becomes the thing that gets done. The someday maybes and the as soon as possibles get backburnered so that you can Make A Thing. So set your schedule. Before you go to bed tonight, you have to make a schedule. Then, tomorrow, you stick to that schedule.