Well-Organized Day: Use a Timeline

I’ve been trying a new method for organizing my day lately: the timeline. I don’t know about you, but I am very easily distracted these days. Not in a “I’m not getting anything done because I keep losing focus” kind of way; but in an “I have so many things to do that I keep moving from project to project in an attempt to multi-task” kind of way. I’ll be in the middle of a project, and remember a note about another project, then pause to write it down. Or reading a site and remember to do “that other thing” and immediately open a new browser tab before I can forget again. Or pause in the middle of writing an essay to fire off that email “really quickly”. There’s just so much switching back and forth between tasks that I have to wonder how effective I am being when I’m not giving each thing my full attention (and I actually did a test awhile ago that proved that I work better when I focus on one task at a time. You can read more about that on Peace Love and Pretty Things). Do you go through this? Is it just me? 

Since I’m fairly certain we all experience this to some degree or another, I thought I might suggest the timeline method to you as well since it’s really super easy to do. You just segment your day into pockets of time, dedicating specific times of the day to specific projects. Simple, right? 

Designating an hour in the morning for checking email, an hour to your latest writing project, two hours to working out etc, will aid you in being really productive without that feeling of wondering “what did I do all day?” I’ve found that it’s been effective at not only keeping me on task, but in helping me to work ahead. The key, though, is that you have to adhere to your self-imposed schedule; going off the timeline will ultimately result in your being behind as opposed to ahead—and then, what’s the point, right? Right. 

The other great thing about your timeline is that you can write it anywhere—in your journal, in your planner, on your calendar, as a typed note in your phone—as long as it’s easily accessible and you’ll have it with you all day. 

Have you ever tried the timeline method to schedule your day? 
Did it work well for you?