How to Take Control of Your Schedule and Stop Hijacking Your Own Agenda

Staying in control of your schedule isn’t easy – especially when you’re stressed out, pressed for time, or dealing with multiple deadlines and the demands of others.

Control Your Schedule

But let’s face it: Sometimes the saboteur is you.

If you’ve ever created a great agenda for your day but found yourself doing something completely unrelated when you actually sat down to work, then you know exactly what I mean.

Having your agenda hijacked by someone else is bad enough, but when you’re the main culprit, the loss of control is even more demoralizing. But rather than play the blame game (haven’t you had enough of that?), let’s focus on solutions to the problem.

Here are 3 quick tips you can immediately put into practice to regain control of your schedule and stop hijacking your own agenda.

  1. Schedule Your Shadow Priorities. Shadow priorities are the things that you actually do even when you plan to do something else. These priorities are not listed on your agenda, but they exert a powerful influence on how you spend your time. So give them the attention they seek by including them on your agenda, but set clear boundaries around how much time you allot to them. For example, if your plan is to rethink your strategic objectives but you find yourself checking email instead, then incorporate email as a priority on your agenda and schedule specific time blocks to attend to it. You’ll find that scheduling your shadow priorities gives them the attention they crave – and the boundaries they lack.
  2. Schedule Your When and Where. It’s challenging to accurately estimate how much time you need to allot in your schedule for tasks that require significant thinking and planning – but just focusing on time is a mistake. When and where you schedule to work is just as important. For example, if you are most alert in the morning, and you do your best deep thinking away from your desk, then you’d be wise to put something like this into your calendar: “Strategic planning session, 8:30 – 10 am, at Joe’s coffee shop/diner.” You may not always have the luxury of choosing when and where you work, but taking your personal working style seriously will help you get more done, in less time, with better outcomes – and you’ll be less likely to hijack your own agenda.
  3. Schedule Your Rest. Busy people often talk about burning the candle at both ends – but life isn’t a candle, and your health is not a replaceable commodity. The surest way to lose control of your schedule is to maintain a pace that leaves you chronically exhausted, so begin factoring rest into your schedule by setting a time to get into bed, and a time to get out of bed. You may not fall asleep (or wake up) right away, but resting isn’t just about sleep – it’s about a making a conscious decision to slow down and give yourself the sense of well-being that you deserve.

So if you’re ready to quit playing the role of saboteur, begin to schedule your shadow priorities, your when and where, and your rest. You may just find the results to be transformative.

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Photo by Anna Dziubinska.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Vicki Cato

    I appreciate the great tips on time management. Your post is well done. I look forward to reading more.

    • JonathanCA

      Thanks Vicki! So glad it was helpful. Which tip resonated most with you?