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A Quality Improvement Approach to Your ACE Schedule (4 min read)

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

As entrepreneurs, business owners and/or managers, we are responsible for setting visions and planning, but we are also responsible for reviewing the success of our strategies. We set a goal, determine a process and then “just do it”. However, we must also take time to review if we are staying committed and if we are on track.

This is the same for your ACE schedule. Planning your time well so you can complete your tasks is crucial for your business. As we start a new process and are motivated to succeed, it is important to look back and see what barriers came up.

Take exercise for example. As a physiotherapist, I regularly review research on what motivates people to exercise and what are barriers for them. What can potentially keep them from doing what they know is healthy, fun, medically necessary and will make them feel physically and mentally better? Being motivated is usually quite easy but determining the barrier(s) to taking the “completion step” can be multi-factorial. Barriers to exercise often include things like time, not liking exercise, having never done it, not knowing what to do, not having the equipment, not having transportation, not having someone to exercise with, fear and cost.

How did you do with “Acing the A in your schedule” last week? In summary, the 5 steps were:

  1. Make a list of all the things you have not yet completed.

  2. Determine if they are relevant, appealing, worthwhile, something only you can do and/or if this is something you have always wanted to do.

  3. Highlight what you have decided to keep on your list.

  4. Determine the top 3 you are going to plan time for.

  5. Set a “meeting” in your agenda to work on and/or complete your top 3

If you have not started your ACE schedule, please go back to last week’s memo for the details and begin this week!

If you have started this schedule, have a look back at your week and ask yourself the following 2 questions:

  1. Was your schedule realistic? Looking back, did you try to put too much into your schedule? Or perhaps there were too few things and you had time left over in your “meeting” because you were able to accomplish things in a timely manner. Sometimes, taking too long to start something can make it seem very daunting and when you sit down to complete it, you can see it was not so bad! This ACE schedule, utilized over time, will provide information to you on how long things will take. Thus helping you become more and more accurate in how much time to budget for certain activities.

  2. Were there internal or external barriers? Internal barriers are things such as procrastination, fatigue, distraction, lack of preparation, or the fact that you simply did not refer to your schedule. External barriers would be things such as an emergency, computer or other mechanical malfunction, and/or another urgent priority.

In Quality Improvement, we look at “Man, Method, Material or Machine.” Which of these four areas may be the cause of not completing what you set out to complete?

Looking back on your week will enable you to see what worked well and what you might need to “tweak.” Remember, there will always be times when unusual things come up, but they should not be the “norm.” Did you notice at least one barrier? If you answered fatigue, maybe the real problem is you are not getting enough sleep. Was distraction your barrier? Maybe the real problem is always keeping your emails and Facebook open. Pray about the barrier you discovered and ask God to give you wisdom on how you can overcome it.

Give yourself one more week to work on the “A” or “Action” in your ACE Schedule. You have already made a list of what needs to be done and/or completed. I hope you checked off all the completed ones in your planner as that is very gratifying! You may have some new ones to add to your list and/or your schedule this week.

I would encourage you to look at your weekly schedule this week and continue to set meetings for yourself to work on the “A”s. Also, look at the month ahead and see where some of these “meetings” can take place if the project or task is going to take a longer time.

May God richly bless you this week as you plan and guard your time to accomplish what you need, and want, to do.

Have a great week!

Bonny, Christian Women at Work

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