How to Stick to a Schedule: 8 Top Tips

How to stick to a schedule

Sticking to a schedule can help you get work and to-dos done more efficiently and can potentially leave space to enjoy more free time. If you’ve struggled with sticking to a schedule, you’re not alone. 

However, research shows that completing a task can cause reward centers in the brain to release hormones that increase feelings of contentment. Who doesn’t want to get more done and feel more satisfied? Want to learn about how to stick to a schedule? Here are some of the best tips to stick to a schedule and improve your efficiency this year. 

Why is having a schedule important?

Having a schedule can help you in your daily life with work and life tasks. Some estimates suggest that 70% of people who use a to-do list get their most important task done. Scheduling doesn’t just mean getting work done – it also includes scheduling in time for play and relaxation. 

Having a schedule means that there is time in the day for everything. No single task consumes the day. This can lead to less stress and anxiety, greater happiness, and greater productivity. 

8 tips for creating and sticking to a schedule 

If you’re ready to make your own schedule, here are our best tips to make a schedule that works for you! 

1. Keep your agenda in one place

The first step to keep a schedule is to have a consistent location for your agenda. You can create a to-do list on your phone, use a scheduling app, or keep an agenda on your desk. Whatever method you choose, the key is consistency. Keep it in a location where you can check it regularly throughout the day and cross off tasks as you complete them. 

2. Avoid distractions

To maximize your schedule, avoid distractions. Multitasking actually reduces productivity in most cases. Stay on task and focus on one thing at a time. Work on it until completion, or as you scheduled. Be sure to put away distractions like the TV, and set your phone to “do not disturb” when needed. Give yourself some undivided time to work through your most important to-dos. 

3. Assign urgency levels to tasks

For most people, if they listed out every little task, their to-do list would become overwhelming. If that is you, consider assigning priority levels to your to-do list. Many apps and notes allow you to set different priority levels, while also noting daily tasks.

When you give your tasks a priority level and what needs to get done first, you get the satisfaction of completing the most important tasks. The things that won’t matter if they don’t get done right away can stay on the list but are put off for another day. 

4. Create realistic deadlines

One key to successful scheduling is to create realistic deadlines. If you jam too much into a day or make a huge to-do list that you only have a few hours to complete, it can be frustrating. You won’t want to stick with scheduling. Instead, give yourself enough time to realistically complete a task and enjoy the satisfaction of crossing it off your list. 

5. Add cushion time 

Life happens: sickness, weather, family emergencies, the list goes on. In order to keep motivation high, and ensure you have enough time to complete high priority tasks, build in a time cushion. This extra time prevents a bind over not meeting deadlines and can help relieve stress when the unexpected happens.

6. Schedule hard tasks in your off time

Hard tasks that require uninterrupted focus can be difficult to complete during a regular workday. Workday distractions like emails, calls, and meetings can make it more challenging to get through a large task.  To avoid distractions, consider knocking out projects or other pressing matters in off-hours.

7. Prioritize work and play

Scheduling is not all about work. Scheduling off time is just as important as scheduling work. Time off will help you avoid burnout and can actually increase productivity during working hours. Feel good about relaxing and enjoying some down time. If you can do that, you’ll be more prepared to work efficiently, ultimately making it possible for you to stay happier in the long run.  

8. Focus on one thing at a time

Most people do their best work when they focus on one task at a time. Similar to avoiding distractions, try to give one task your undivided attention. Be sure to take regular short breaks between periods of focus to keep your productivity high. Doing one task at a time can also help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Final tips on scheduling your time

Sticking to a schedule doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. You can gradually incorporate these tips into your routine to build on productivity. By teaching yourself how to stick to a schedule, you may find that you’re able to hit deadlines more easily and also have more time to relax.


How do I stay on schedule?

To stay on a schedule, plan a realistic to-do list and allow enough cushion time to complete your priorities. Focus on setting realistic goals and building the schedule around your needs and routine to increase success.

How do you handle a busy schedule?

To handle a busy schedule, consider creating a plan. List out the more important priorities. Then plan to complete important tasks during quiet times. Be sure to schedule off time to avoid burnout.

Why a schedule is important?

A schedule can be important for many people to increase efficiency. If you have many responsibilities, a schedule can help ensure that everything gets done. Follow the schedule you make and keep adjusting to find what works best for you.

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