Scheduling Savvy: Pointers from a Pro

A schedule is the backbone of every event Charrisse Min Alliegro plans. "This may sound highfalutin', but planning a schedule is like conducting a symphony," she says. "You successfully pull individual talents together to create music rather than a cacophony."

Whether you're planning a party or a day full of meetings, here are Alliegro's tricks to stay on track:

  • Be predictive. Factor in how long each task actually takes to finish. For instance, when figuring out how long it will take to reach a destination, don't forget to account for traffic and finding parking.

  • Build emergency cushions of time into your day. Keep some of your time unscheduled, just in case a meeting runs long or you need extra time to gather your thoughts.

  • Don't sweat revising your schedule. It's not set in stone. "Each of my schedules goes through many iterations," Alliegro admits. When you make a first draft of a schedule, be sure to insert any questions or notes you may have for yourself or your client.

  • Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. When Plan A goes to pieces, you've got to have a Plan B. "If you prepare for all sorts of scenarios and build multiple contingencies, you can relax with the knowledge that you've anticipated everything," Alliegro advises. "Don't take things for granted."