It occurs to me this week that having a nasty cold brings home the necessity for having time ‘buffers’ built into your schedule because you never know what might throw your careful plans off the rails. Like getting sick, for example.
I often encourage my clients to start projects well in advance of their completion due date simply because there is no better feeling than having something finished a little bit early. And it gives you the opportunity for a few last minute ‘tweaks’. I hadn’t really thought of doing this in order to plan for the unexpected as well. We always allow ‘open’ time in the weekly plan for those things you don’t know about but are invariably going to drop into your world demanding to be done in a rush.
How much time should you allow as an additional ‘buffer’? I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. Out of a 5-day week should you build in an extra day? Seems reasonable enough. If, heaven forbid, you get everything you planned to do completed (never happens to me but I suppose it could) then you’ve likely got more ‘To Do’s’ on your list that you can get started on.
Once every couple of months I have the chance to actually get a little ahead on the ‘To Do’ list which automatically creates a bit of a ‘buffer’. Some items that were on my list for two weeks out may get done this week thereby clearing some space for the unexpected or that nasty bug!
And when I’m creating my schedule for the coming week I try to leave at least a 1/2 day with nothing planned. Every single time someone or something comes along and fills up that ‘open’ slot, never fails. So, if I didn’t have that what would I have done? Likely I would have jammed my schedule to overflowing and then stressed myself out because I took on too much. Sound familiar?