Discipline in Scheduling

This fall I enrolled at the University of Wisconsin to take a refresher course in Kinesiology in preparation for application to the department next fall.  The “refresher” course is Kines 773: Cardiovascular Adaptations to Exercise and Environment.  The class has totally kicked my butt and has taken up countless hours each week.

Two-third of the way through the semester, life is getting busy.  I’m starting to work on a grant proposal which is our final project for the course.  It’s very time intensive, especially since so much of the literature is new to me.  Up until this point it’s been pretty clear how I prepare for each week’s class.  I read between three and eight journal articles.  But with this new project it’s much more open-ended and so it’s up to me to pace myself each week so that I am ready to present it on the last day of class.

So this has me thinking about scheduling.  A disciplined person is one who can master their schedule. How important is time these days?  Invaluable, right?  It seems like more days than not I find the hours slipping out of my hands as my To Do List just gets pushed to the next day.

What’s a man to do?  According to Stephen Covey, I need to organize the Big Rocks first.  When push comes to shove, I need to be crystal clear what needs to happen.  When I plan out my day, the following four things need to be prioritized, in this order:

  1. my relationship with God
  2. my relationship with family
  3. my study for class
  4. my personal reading and writing projects

I love to read blogs.  I love to think about and craft a good blog post.  I love to check Twitter and Facebook for fun research and catching up with friends.  But right now that has to take a back seat.  I mention this because it’s my biggest distraction and essentially it’s the reason why I’m thinking about the importance of this post.

As I do my research for this grant proposal, I’m constantly on the internet and I’m often emailing my professor or another classmate.  The blogs and social networks are one “Open-Apple+T” keystroke away from anything I’m doing.  Distraction is right around the corner.

But that due date is also around the corner.  And it’s yelling pretty loud.  So I need to listen, prepare, and pursue that goal.  My Game Plan for this is to write these four priorities on a notecard and post it right above my desk.  (I just did it.)  Then I’m going to put a sticky note on my computer so that every time I open it I’m reminded of my priorities.  (Also done.)

How are you managing your schedule and priorities?  Are things getting done?  What kind of season are you in?  Do you need to take a few steps to think about your priorities and how you’re going to execute them?

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?

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