Scheduling starts today


3 minute read

The balancing act 🧗🏼‍♂️

I’ve been pretty relaxed this year so far, for me. I’ve not been exercising (much) yet, I’ve settled into a slight change of role at work, and due to being stuck inside for the majority of the time, not had that much more going on.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, I have a strict Training Schedule for 2021.

It starts with a sub-3-hour marathon training plan. It starts tomorrow.

I often get asked how I manage to fit in so much each day and week, and how I appear to be so productive. It’s one of the reasons I started writing little productivity tips on this blog. It bugs me when people assume that I’m some super productive, gets-no-sleep maniac. I actually get a lot of sleep - I need it.

I’m just good at scheduling, optimising my time and performing the life/work/training/hobbies/family/social/learning balancing act.

Here’s my take on it.


Breaking down a day

There’s that well-known saying: “We all have 24 hours in the day, it’s all about how we use them”. I think it’s a saying. I say it all the time, anyway.

It’s true. I spend on average, 8 hours sleeping, 8 hours working, and have a whole 1/3rd of my day leftover for anything I want and need to do!

Another 8 hours. On an ideal day 2 of those would be spent training, 2 for personal tasks, learning and self-development, and the other 4 hours(!) unaccounted for - for everything else. And it’s not like I don’t do anything else in that other 1/6th of the day



As I mentioned, I’m now sorting out my training schedule for the 12 weeks leading up to the Boston (UK) marathon in April. It’ll be an intense plan, but manageable with some effort up front to organise it around the rest of my life.

My training plan involves:

  • 7 sessions per week, between 30 mins-150 mins
  • 1 complete rest day
  • Between 5-9 hours per week


My work includes:

  • My day job at Booking - 7.5 hours with a 30-60 min lunch break
  • Extra web development work - personal projects/for friends - 1-2 hours per day at most


Weekly I have 2ˣ90 minute sessions to work towards my scuba diving instructor qualification, with 25-50 mins prep beforehand (a Pomodoro or two) 🍅.

I also have daily habits to help keep my mind active and to continue learning:

  • Writing - one article per day - 25-50 minutes
  • Audiobook - 25 mins+
  • Reading - 25 mins+
  • 30 Days of Leadership course

Putting it all together

I use Training Peaks to organise and record my training. I use Outlook at work, and I use Google calendar to put everything together.

I take my structured training and add it to my personal Google calendar, tweaking the times to suit when I think I can fit in the sessions.

My training calendar

My training calendar on Training Peaks

My training on Google calendar

My training tweaked to suit my available time

Next, I add in my work schedule, it’s pretty straightforward with 7.5 hours of required time, core hours between 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-16:00. I’m lucky in that I’m working from home (for the foreseeable future) and we have flexible working hours, enabling me to further optimise my time.

My work calendar

Getting my work scheduling in the mix

Pretty soon, my work are moving from Outlook to Google Calendar, which will be a godsend - everything in one place 🙌🏻 I can’t wait to have more detailed work meetings and schedules interlinked with my personal, to help further organisation.

My personal calendar

Adding some, but not all, of my personal commitments in

Look at all that white space, leftover for everything else in life! This is for family time and events, friends, etc. I try to leave at least 1/3rd of my day free for other people.

I don’t usually add many of my personal events in, I just do this to have an overview of my available time and then I structure each day more granularly, like in my Bullet Journal:

My Bullet Journal for today

My Bullet Journal for today, more granularly organised.

Life will find a way 🦖

Yes, I know life barely ever goes as planned. Things have to move around, events get interrupted and changed. It’s something I struggle to deal with, but am learning to, as I spoke about in an earlier article - Three productivity ideas.

On my phone, I use the iOS calendar app as it supports “travel time”. I use this as a buffer, setting 15-30 minutes time each side of an event. This helps me visualise the actual amount of free time available and adds some contingency to this very strict schedule. This is the biggest tip I can give you in this article.

I’m yet to figure out if Google calendar will support this, but when it does, it’ll be perfect! 👌🏻

Thanks for reading! 👋🏻
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