Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Structured Day

Back in the prosperous ‘80’s, when Fortune 100 companies had money to blow on training, I was in a formal training class for my first job in credit & collections. Our little class learned the ins & outs of the mainframe computer system we used, the tedious processes we had to follow, and various tips on how to work our assignments most effectively.

One of those “tips” was The Structured Day. It wasn’t a micro-managed uber-structured use of our time; rather, it was more like, “When is the best time to do X?” A credit rep’s structured day was typically:
· review that day’s follow-up’s (what you had scheduled for that day)
· make phone calls during peak times (9:00 – 11:30, 2:00 – 4:30)
· do paperwork/computer work during off-peak times

To me, this made a lot of sense. Once I got used to the rhythm of my job, I learned to adjust the schedule to accommodate meetings, unassigned inquiries and even time to finish a full cup of coffee!

More than the actual schedule, the reasoning behind “when” certain tasks were done is what has stuck with me. With the various restrictions in my life (job, kids, etc.), I have to ask myself again, “When is the best time to do X?”

Take vacuuming for example. You usually can’t vacuum when the baby’s napping, so you wait till he’s awake. When the kid grows up, you may be working away from home, so perhaps the weekend is the best time, or maybe the kids could do it during the week.

Being a list-maker, I write down when I’m going to do the task. Once I think of all my tasks, the time I have to do them in, and then finally schedule them, pretty soon I’ve created my own structured days. Yes, there are times (oh, are there times!) when a monkey wrench is thrown in and the schedule goes out the window. But I haven’t found it difficult to get back on track. For me, having some framework is better than having no framework.

Does anyone else have a method of organizing their day? Let’s hear it!

1 comment:

  1. I use my day planner. (Still can't seem to get used to the 'calendar' feature on my new phone!) But I write everything...from meals, to 'who goes where when', to special meetings and events. For whatever reason...once I put it in seems to 'sink in' better for me. I review my planner often....adding and erasing as I need to! I'm not a stickler to the plan....but I believe the 'writing it down' helps me sort out my thoughts and demands for each day and then function and keep things in order in a much better fashion! Thanks for the post!