Most people don't keep a schedule.

Those who do, they are more productive, they have more free time, and they never feel like they've wasted time.

Here are a few tips to help you get started, and to be great at it.

1. Plan Ahead of Time

If it’s ten in the morning, it’s already too late for planning your day.

The best time to plan your day is the night before. Try to sit down for a few minutes, create your schedule and commit to it. If you have to make changes later, that’s fine. But have a “version 1” to start with.

2. Plan on Paper

If you’re just getting into the habit of scheduling, try writing it on a piece of paper, keep it offline. It will make all the difference.

With software, you can always make modifications, and sometimes you need to, but for beginners, it’s always better to use a pen and a piece of paper.

Writing your plan down makes you commit to it.

3. Don’t Leave out the Leisure

Most people don’t plan their leisure time.

It becomes a problem when your unplanned leisure turns into scrolling through Facebook or binge-watching Netflix. At that point, it’s not even what you want to do with your free time. It’s not even leisure. It’s just the easiest thing to do at the time.

Schedule your free time too. Put your relaxing activities on your calendar. Plan your walk around the city. Plan your motorcycle ride. Plan watching of your favorite movie!

4. Level Up

For every sport, you can find a 12-week program for improvement. They all work the same: They start off easy and every week is a little bit more difficult than previous.

It’s better to start with a feasible schedule and the gradually increase. Do only 4 hours of studying, do it well, and next time you’ll increase to 5 hours.

If you start with 10 hours of studying, and you’re not used to that workload, you will either not follow through, or you will be unfocused.

5. Follow Through (even if you don’t feel like it)

Don’t get into the habit of changing your plan just because you need to take a break. Be disciplined.

When you’re at the breaking point - thinking of taking a break - just keep working. Research shows we tend to underestimate ourselves in these situations. We always think we can’t keep going, but when we do, it always turns out it’s easier than we thought. Your brain is lying to you.

The habit of following through will do wonders to your confidence. Being aware of your ability to follow through as planned - that’s a superpower you can learn.

Final tip

“When you want to get something done, don’t put it on your todo list. Put it on your calendar.”

(Image by @penpapersoul)