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Keeping a Schedule: Why You Need a Routine

by Scot Chadwick

Keeping a schedule helps you allocate your time in ways that matter to you. If you do not decide how to spend your time, you will likely procrastinate, get distracted, and be overwhelmed. Following a routine in life is a key element toward your success.

Consider the following benefits you can enjoy by making and sticking to a schedule as part of your action plan.

1. Gain Freedom

You control your schedule more than you might recognize.

You control your schedule more than you might recognize. You can set boundaries around your time for work, recreation, learning, health, and more. This way you will be free to do what is important to you. Just like a budget for your money, your schedule grants you the authority to spend time on the things that matter to you.

Establish boundaries to protect your time. The boundaries reflect your priorities and enable you to discern the best use of your time. You can selectively choose what you will do and what you will not do. In this way, you avoid overbooking yourself and allow some margin in your life.

2. Reduce Decisions

Your days are filled with so many decisions. Avoid decision fatigue by predetermining your priorities and filtering new opportunities against what is important to you. By scheduling your time in advance, you minimize the typical decisions you must make so you can focus your energy on your significant choices.

When you limit having to make decisions at the moment, you also reduce the need to rely on willpower alone to carry you forward. You do not have to force yourself to some action because your schedule helps you know what comes next. If it is time to go to bed, that’s what you should do, and you can follow your standard routine for entering into rest. Be proactive and not as reactive when you decide what to do with your days.

3. Increase Productivity

Remember to pursue both efficiency (doing things well) and effectiveness (doing the right things).

A schedule can help you fit more into a day, but your main concern ought to be getting the important things into your day. Once you have given enough time to the important things, you can critically allow less important things into your day. You cannot do everything, so you will have to decide what you will do and when you will do it.

Remember to pursue both efficiency (doing things well) and effectiveness (doing the right things). Just having a full schedule does not determine productivity. Do what matters and maintain your focus by neglecting things that would distract you from the things that will have the greatest impact.

4. Protect Your Reputation

You can prove your trustworthiness by sticking to a set schedule. Abiding by your calendar can help you remember the things you have agreed to do. You can also help avoid conflicts by checking your schedule before you commit to a new opportunity. Avoid promising something you cannot honestly fulfill.

Avoid promising something you cannot honestly fulfill.

Your schedule also allows you to craft expectations of those who rely on you. For example, If your associates know that you only check email in the afternoon once a day, they will be more likely to wait patiently for your response. If you have set hours for work, commute, exercise, and so on, your family and friends will know what you are up to. Use your schedule to maintain your trustworthiness and reliability in the eyes of others.

5. Reduce Time Wasters

Keeping a schedule helps you reduce or eliminate time wasters. How much of your time is consumed with things that fail to enhance your life? While some amount of frivolity can be acceptable, consider carefully how you can benefit from any activity.

When you know what you should be doing at a given time, you are better able to handle distractions and bad habits. You can say no to the things that would keep you from what you have established as a priority. What could you stop doing right now and never do again with little to no consequences?

6. Protect Your Health

Keep a schedule to avoid burnout and stay engaged for the long haul.

There are some things in your life that you just have to do. Sleep is one of those features that often falls by the wayside when your schedule is out of control. How much sleep do you need to maintain your energy and alertness? Guard your hours of sleep with consistent bedtimes and wake times. Apply the same rule for good nutrition and exercise.

Your schedule can also reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. Because you allocate your precious time to things that matter to you, you are less likely to be overwhelmed with competing or contrary concerns. Keep a schedule to avoid burnout and stay engaged for the long haul.

7. Accomplish Your Goals

If you have defined your goals, how does your daily schedule reflect these priorities? Your schedule ensures that you take action each day to accomplish your goal. Whether small or large steps, your incremental successes build momentum toward your overall progress. Repetition develops excellence and excellence leads to success.

As you see yourself winning from day to day, your self-confidence grows. You know what you can leave out of your schedule to avoid becoming frantic, distracted, and overloaded. You are more likely to try new and greater things, taking appropriate risks to move forward.


Do yourself a favor and order your life with a schedule. Time is one of your greatest nonrenewable resources. So be responsible and guard it well.

Originally published on June 24, 2019

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