How to Set a Daily Schedule as a Manager

Managers typically have more responsibilities than regular employees. They often have to balance their day to meet their needs and the needs of their employees. They must be organized and prioritize their tasks each day to make sure they are being productive and completing their work on time. 


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Components of an effective daily schedule for managers

Effective daily schedules have multiple components for you to consider and many of these components take practice. Here are some components of an effective daily schedule for managers that may help you to develop your own daily schedule:

  • Morning routines
  • Appointment slots
  • Meetings are timed according to their purpose
  • Larger projects are broken into smaller tasks
  • Work-life balance is maintained


Morning routines

Creating and following a morning routine can help you to remain focused throughout the day. This way, you can easily stick to the daily schedule you have set for work and be prepared for your day. Following a morning routine takes time and you may have to try a few different routines before you find what works best for you. Here are some habits that create an effective morning routine:

  • Wake up early.
  • Visualize a good day where you accomplish what you set out to accomplish.
  • Exercise or stretch to increase your energy levels.
  • Consume foods that provide energy such as fiber, protein and good carbs.


Appointment slots

Managers face many interruptions each day. If you are going to use your daily schedule effectively and complete things on time, you should cultivate the habit of using appointment slots to answer employee questions. For instance, if someone asks you a question during a task that you are in the process of completing that requires you to come over to their desk and show them how to do something, you should think about how long it will take and schedule a time with them later on to answer their question. Most often these questions and interruptions should take you 15 minutes or less. 


Meetings are timed according to their purpose

Each meeting has a different purpose. Because of this, many meetings do not take the same amount of time. If you are in the habit of timing meetings according to what is discussed you have time for other things in your daily schedule. For example, a meeting to introduce yourself to a new hire and explain a few tasks that they should get started on should take no more than 30 minutes. However, a meeting that discusses the launch of a new project and requires brainstorming may take an hour. 


Larger projects are broken into smaller tasks

Scheduling and timing smaller tasks is much easier and efficient than trying to take on an entire project at one time. This helps you to schedule other things around the smaller tasks that are also a priority. If you cultivate this habit, you are less likely to feel demoralized seeing large projects. 


Work-life balance is maintained

Delegating personal and professional time is a good habit to cultivate to develop an effective daily schedule. Work-life balance changes your workday and allows you to be more productive and reduces stress. 

Related: How to Create a Performance Improvement Plan


Three best practices

Below are some steps you may consider following to set a daily schedule:

  1. Create a task list ahead of time
  2. Determine which tasks are most important to complete
  3. Block out time for each task


1. Create a task list ahead of time

Write out a task list in a planner the night before you are scheduled to go into work. Include work-related tasks and tasks that are unrelated to work. Tasks that are unrelated to work need to be written down especially if they take place during the workday. Such tasks may include scheduling a doctor’s appointment or taking your dog to the vet. Creating a task list in advance helps you to get an accurate idea of everything you have to do and it is less likely that you may forget about a task if you write it down. Including tasks unrelated to work ensures you make the time to complete them in a timely manner as well. 


2. Determine which tasks are most important to complete

Ask yourself which tasks you can complete on the list that will make the most positive difference in your day. Circle those tasks and place a number next to each of the tasks in order of importance to you. The best way to decide how to do this is to think about which tasks have been pending for a while that you will be proud of yourself for completing the following day. It may be helpful to color code to differentiate high-priority tasks from those with low-priority. 


3. Block out time for each task

Write down exactly how much time you plan to spend on each high-priority task. The time you set for each task should be reasonable. You also do not have to make the high-priority tasks the ones you complete at the beginning of the day. They are just there to remind you to set an appointment with yourself to get them done that day. 

Related: How to Motivate Your Employees


Work schedule FAQs

Here are some questions about work schedules that may provide you with additional information:


Why is setting a daily schedule important?

Developing a daily routine can help you to feel more in control of your work and your life. It helps you to make room for everything that is important and can help you to cope with stress and anxiety, which is a great benefit to your mental wellbeing.  


What is an example of a daily schedule or routine?

A daily schedule make look something like this:


7:30 a.m.: Set goals for the day

7:45 a.m.: Take a shower and get dressed

9:30 a.m.: Meeting with HR

10:30 a.m.: Complete new employee paperwork

12:00 p.m.: Finish reports

1:00 p.m.: Train Angelica on accounting software

1:45 p.m.: Eat lunch

2:15 p.m.: Call the client back about inquiry

3:30 p.m.: Work on a small task from a long term project

4:30 p.m.: Drive home

5:00 p.m.: Make dinner


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