Priority – Margins & Everything Else

After a busy summer in which I had to readjust my own block schedule, we are getting back to our regularly scheduled routines.

You can follow along with where we have been so far in this journey of priority management and the way we use our time by clicking the “Priority Management” button above or by clicking here.

This post is the final one looking at our priority setting. The next post will put the final structure to it all.

The goal of living a block schedule is to give us margin in our lives for the unexpected and the new opportunities that come along. These can be positive, negative, or neutral, but they are there for each of us. Life is not static and it definitely can be unpredictable at times. If our time allotments are so rigid and so leveraged with no room for anything else, we will hit a point of burn out. We not only need scheduled Sabbath time, we need scheduled margin. The ideal balance would be to live at 70% capacity. This gives plenty of room for the unexpected and still keeps us effective and productive.

Now that we know what meetings we must attend each week and have set those things that match our purpose we need to set a place for margin, the unexpected. Those projects that arise each week, those meetings that come along, the issues that we face all need a place in our schedules. So now is the time to intentionally deal with them before they happen, that way you are able to deal with them when they do happen. Call this “unplanned projects”, “the unexpected”, or simply “margin”. The label is not as important as the fact that it is there. See image 1 below.

After this, we have room for everything else. This is where we include monthly and quarterly meetings and events as well as all the things we can predict and do know, yet didn’t fit into a previous category. They are last in our priority, so they get time only if there is time. They can fill the margin, if nothing more important doesn’t. They can be our “back-up” productivity plan and fill the spaces that come along. If no space comes along, or the margin times get filled with something else, then it is OK because these are last priority items. This is the everything else of life and job. It’s not that these have no importance, they just have the least importance. If something is not important for us to do, then we shouldn’t do it and it has no place in our schedule.

We are almost there. The next post will start putting times and allocating hours to each of the priorities we have set.

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