Nine reasons to turn your to-do list into a calendar of appointments

October 12, 2017 by pgroessel

Here’s an idea we tried that could help you get through your to do list. It’s reframing the procrastination-inducing to do list items into meetings you can’t miss.

Treat that line item like it’s a person whom you don’t want to let down.

So, here we go …

…Blue Skies Services Arbitrary but Important Internet List #1: Why “Appointments” are Better Than To Do Lists

  1. Appointments force you to prioritize the to do list and fit it in your schedule. And after your first few appointments, or few days of appointments, you’ll realize if your priorities are in the correct alignment.
  2. It is a way to make time management practical rather than a vague, frowny-faced and stuffy idea you can’t get your mind around. When you set appointments (projects/tasks) for the day, it also makes you estimate the time you need to get certain things done. You quickly learn what takes longer, shorter or just as much time as you predicted when you set those appointments. After a while, you can calibrate how long it takes you to do certain things.
  3. You learn how to mentally switch your focus: A variety of appointments for a variety of topics, each of which gives you a varying degree of feelings on the happy-nauseated spectrum. When you set appointments, you learn how to not only switch topics and thought processes, but you learn how to manage all of the emotions and reactions that come with each appointment. You know there are seven other things you need to work on, but you’re focusing on this one thing during its meeting.
  4. It forces you to stop one thing and move on to the next. Setting appointments forces you to get as much done as possible during that appointment and stop when it’s time to leave for your next appointment — remember, you don’t want to be late.
  5. It relieves you of feeling like you have to complete the entire project at once — you can get as much done as possible during that meeting with your blog post, then have a second meeting with it the next day, and the day after that. This is better than trying to get the blog post done the day it’s due all in one sitting.
  6. It lets you gauge how many distractions or unplanned requests you receive on a typical day. Turning your to-do list into appointments helps you realize how many things in a day you have to respond to immediately — maybe when you start trying this, you tell yourself you’re going to plan 6 1-hour meetings with 6 different tasks. After a week, you realize you forgot to account for the stuff that pops up and requires your attention. So, you recalibrate to maybe 4 appointments each day.
  7. In that same vein, it allows you to say, “No” or “Heck no” or “adult language No!” to other, less important things that will come your way (procrastination bait) or the things that other people will throw at you. You are going to inevitably want to do something else. You slowly get better at keeping your meetings and avoiding procrastination. You also slowly get better at saying, “Sorry, I have another appointment.” That can turn into, “Sorry, there are other priorities that need to get done.”
  8. You learn how to respond, not react, to the daily unplanned incidents you do have to deal with. Distractions pop up. How often does something rear its head before a meeting and you tell yourself,“Shoot — this is no good, but it’ll have to wait until after I meet with Sally.” If it’s an emergency, then Sally’s meeting can wait. But, you’ll likely find that many things can wait until your appointment is over and most are not true emergencies. Do the same for your priority meetings. Don’t succumb to the unnecessary distractions. Get to your meeting.
  9. This one may sound lame, but it could be applicable: If you’re typically late for meetings, this could actually help you learn how to logistically get yourself to a meeting on time. This goes back to time management, and it sounds silly, right? It does, but in this appointment in lieu of to-do list process, you learn how long it takes to shut down, switch gears, prep for the next meeting and see how long it takes to go from ending one topic to starting the next.