Speed Up Your Scheduling Routine: Weekly Schedule With One-Letter Codes

When I began working as an art reporter three years ago, the office gave me a flexible schedule. This meant that I was free to plan my days, but if I did overtime on weekdays and Sundays, I wasn’t compensated for it. As I said in The Time Management Matrix that Saved Me from 16-Hour Work Days, I was working 16-hours or more a day because I didn’t know how to manage my time. Aside from the tips in that post, what helped me was to make a weekly schedule with one-letter codes.

Planning the entire week helps me divide the amount of work that I need to do over the course of several days as opposed to cramming it all in one day. To save even more time, I decided that for certain recurring activities, I will not type up the whole word for it (ex: travel) and instead use a code (T). This is helpful as I don’t have to spend time spelling out the whole word again and again, and when I erase the entries for the next week, I only need to erase one letter instead of several.

So in my phone, I have a note for my schedule for the entire week ahead. The schedule is divided into days and each day is divided hours. If an activity only lasts for 30 minutes instead of an hour, I place two activities during the one hour period and separate them with a comma. You can see that in the 2-3 time period in the sample schedule below.

Mon Feb 1



8-9-W 1

9-10-W 1

10-11-W 1



1-2-B, L

2-3-L, T

3-4-[describe event that I’ll go to and venue where event will take place]



6-7-T, N




So what do those letters mean?

Just a caveat though, the schedule above is too much of an ideal day. Usually, I travel longer hours and the events that I go to take more time. I just made it that way so that I can use all the codes.

So here’s the legend: S=sleep (if I had a late night a day before, then I get up at a later hour the next morning, I try to sleep 8 hours per day), M=morning ritual (exercise, cook, eat, sing, write in blog, write fiction, write in diary, read), W=write and it includes the number because I need to finish five articles a week, R=research and other tasks (including checking e-mail, calling people, texting people etc.), E=eat, L=ligo, T=travel, Ev=continuation of the event described above, B=break, and N=night ritual (charge devices, clean room, crafts or write about feminism or plan writing adventures or write about village or play piano, read, reflection).

In terms of the morning and night ritual, I aim for three hours of morning ritual and four hours of night ritual. These are protected time when I am not allowed to work. This helps me keep my working hours to 8 a day.

So what’s up with the Ev code? In the past, I used to write the entire details of the event. Ex: Artist’s name exhibit at name of gallery. Then if I plan to stay for more than just one hour, I copy and paste those details. So I’ll have:

6-7-Artist’s name exhibit at name of gallery

7-8-Artist’s name exhibit at name of gallery

8-9-Artist’s name exhibit at name of gallery

Compare that to this:

6-7-Artist’s name exhibit at name of gallery



In the second example, there are less letters to erase, so I save more time.

The heading of each daily schedule always starts with the day of the week, then the month, and the specific date. This will make things easier as per week I only need to delete the last character of that heading, which is the date. Then when the month changes, that’s the only time I delete more letters. If the date was in the middle, I’d have to select the text and move the cursor to the middle, and this takes more time than just placing the cursor at the end of the text and hitting delete.

Tricks like these saves time, and I’m obsessed about making my days more efficient.

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