If you are interested in time management, you know that planning daily is absolutely essential. Plan of the day – step by step instructions.
Perhaps you already have a calendar, notebook, or application where you create to-do lists. Today I would like to show you how to plan effectively. How to do it, so that it is not burdensome. And that the plan does not remain only written sentences in the calendar, which you will not complete anyway.
Planning is not an end in itself. It serves something. In the case of time planning. It is used to perform tasks. You plan for the tasks that must or want to be done. You distribute tasks in such a way as to take care of what is more important than other things in the available time.
Few people have so few tasks that they have enough time for everything they would like to do. Anyway, such a person is not looking for knowing how to plan his day. Because he does not see the need to do it. So he certainly will not find this page.
Planning is an individual process. It is to serve you first of all – so you need to know what is to be included in your daily schedule.
What to plan in?
Before you start looking for the perfect calendar or application that has a lot of functions and possibilities, answer the question – what do you want to plan in them? What are you planning for? What tasks will you save on your calendar?
Back in the day, when I was crazy about the daily organization. I needed a huge calendar where I could write down everything: purchases, expenses, new ideas, to-do lists, phone reminders, and a daily schedule. And for scheduling such tasks. A comprehensive application would probably be best suited. I didn’t have it – anyway. I don’t like to plan in applications, I prefer analog methods – so I used a large and heavy calendar.
Now I plan my work and activity time after work. So I just need a regular weekly planner in which I write down tasks, meetings, and matters to be done every day.
This year I decided to plan in a notebook because I couldn’t find anything suitable for sale. This is not a perfect method for me, so keep looking. I am thinking of creating my own calendar. But it is on the “ideas, ideas, maybe someday” list for now.
Contrary to appearances, what to plan is the least important thing. I know that it is the end of the year and that shops. Bookstores and social media accounts are flooded with planners that are supposed to tempt the buyer with their beautiful setting and create a feeling that with such a planner in a bag you will be organized. Effective person and you will become a master or master of implementation tasks.
The tool is not as important as the planning habit itself and the decision about what you enter into your plan. And then determination and self-discipline in carrying out these tasks.
Why is this happening?
With a lot of space, you save a lot of tasks. Not all of them are important, and some of them are even completely unnecessary. But since you have so much space, you feel a bit strange typing just two tasks into it. So you are trying to fill the surface. When you have less space to write down. You focus on putting on the calendar what is most important, what you cannot forget. In this way, you do what is important. And you do not remember about less important matters, or at least you do not enter them in the calendar. Because there is no place for these matters in it 🙂
There is something about it.
So if you plan to buy a calendar for the new year, think carefully about where you will take it with you. What you want to write in it and what it should be used for. Remember that it is worth keeping the plan in mind during the day, have constant access to it.
Time scheduling is deciding what you want or what needs to be done in the time available.
Remember this definition well because it is crucial to the entire planning process.
You do not plan to enter everything you can do in the calendar. But when you plan, you choose and decide what you will do in the available time. And this available time is crucial. Realize that your mother will plan differently on parental leave. That a self-employed person will plan differently. That a freelance worker will be different from that of a full-time employee.
You need to know what your goals are and what tasks you have to perform in relation to achieving your goals. Nobody will figure it out for you and make such a decision.
Once you know that, it remains to allocate tasks within the available time.
Define your available time
Maybe you have 8 hours of work in the office, 3 of which are meetings and only 5 hours are your work. Perhaps you work physically and everything you want to do is only possible after work (or before). Maybe your day is subordinated to the nap times of the children (yes, dear parents, I understand that I also went through it). In this case, you have 30 minutes to 4 hours. Depending on how much your child sleeps during the day.
What time do you have? Once this has been determined, move on to planning.
Begin with a list of tasks to be done
Start by writing down on a piece of paper all the tasks that come to your mind and that you want to perform. Remember what you put off for a long time. What do you want to do in the future? What needs bought, renovated, repaired, returned, cleaned up, etc. Throw away everything you carry in your head so far and you think you remember it. Don’t worry that some tasks will be trivial and others will be big projects (such as losing 5 kg, changing jobs). The idea is to empty your head and see on a piece of paper what you really have to do.
Did you get a lot of tasks?
Or maybe you are looking at the list and you think that you thought you had a lot more to do?
Both situations are equally likely.
ATTENTION! Do not start carrying out these tasks. The to-do list is not a plan
Now it’s time to define what on your list is important and what is not important. What is already expired or the deadline is approaching, and what may still wait. You can mark the really important tasks in red. Among these tasks, find and mark those that are close to completion. These are the things that need to be dealt with first.
The remaining tasks require a decision – when do you want to and do you want to complete them at all?
Yes. Just because you have these tasks in your head and think they need to be done, doesn’t mean you have to do them. Deal with the fact that not all the tasks that would be fun to be completed need to be completed. You plan and manage your time so that you have time to complete the tasks that are most important to you, not all of them. Note that if you devote your time to performing insignificant. Trivial tasks, will not be enough for you to do what is more important for you. Which will bring you the greatest effect.
Now that you know what you should be doing. It’s time to create an action plan.
Break tasks into small steps
Break down your important tasks into small, small steps to be performed.
Save the task and ask “What do I have to do to get this task accomplished?”. And list everything that needs to be done. The finer these steps are, the better.
What are you doing this for?
Do you know what tasks perform?
Being able to get into the calendar every day and complete any task that brings you closer to your main goal.
Being able to monitor the progress of work on the project.
Overcoming the feeling of being overwhelmed by the size of the target.
Just to focus on the next step, and not on the ultimate goal, which can be overwhelming and unattainable at the moment.
To make your head aware of what exactly should do?
Of course, if your task is to take out the rubbish, vacuum the apartment or send an e-mail to Gosia – do not write it down into small steps.
But if you have a task to create a website, change your job, write a thesis, it will be difficult for you to implement these projects without writing down small steps.
And what’s next?
Now, cross out those tasks that are the least important. Those are those tasks that are unnecessary to complete.
So you have to choose those tasks that will quickly translate into the expected results. Do this so that you don’t waste time dealing with insignificant matters. You will deal with them later. And believe me, the head likes to choose what is insignificant because these are usually easier, more enjoyable, and less demanding tasks.
For example: if your goal is to write a thesis, the important tasks include: conducting research, collecting literature, writing substantive chapters, preparing research results. (I am writing this on the basis of experience – I am a doctor of management and I already have several engineers and masters.) These are the tasks the implementation of which will allow you to finish your work. Meanwhile, students start with formatting the file, looking for the best way to create a list of literature, or correcting the introduction to the work. These are just unimportant tasks.
Enter tasks in the calendar
Once you know what to do, take your calendar or open the application and start entering tasks into your schedule for the day, week, month.
Remember, however, that you are not planning in a vacuum. Now you have some chores and tasks that fill up your day. Maybe you take care of children, maybe you clean, cook, watch TV series, or play games on the console. I assume you are not lying staring at the ceiling and thinking “what to take your time?”
When creating an action plan, adjust the tasks to the context. Take into account your previous activities.
If it turns out that you do not have free time to achieve your goal and the resulting tasks, you have to decide what to give up.
And this is the stage that people are often unable to cope with. Suddenly it turns out that everything is so important that it is impossible to take the time to complete additional tasks. But unfortunately, everything you do in life has a price. So maybe for a while, you will have to give up a long lounging in bed, watching your favorite series, working on a project, or free time. Life is a choice and you have to decide what is more important to you at any given moment.
Remember how you spend your day and determine at what time, at what time you will take care of tasks that will lead you to your goal. So take the calendar and write it down when you do the task on a given day. In the calendar, also write down other tasks that you are to perform on a given day.
There are two approaches here
You plan tasks for a specific time, i.e. you create a daily schedule. It looks like that you enter from 8:00 to 11:30 you do task 1, then breaks for the second breakfast, and 11: 50-13: 00 you do task 2, etc.
You write down tasks that you are supposed to do on a given day, without specifying a time to do them. At specific times, you enter only those tasks that have a fixed time, e.g. meetings with other people, visits to the doctor, organized classes. All that, regardless of whether you arrive or not, will take place at the agreed time.
The choice of approach depends on you and your preferences. In the past, I used approach 1 because it allowed me to discipline myself and did not allow me to stray from the plan I set.
Today I use approach 2. But I also have discipline in carrying out tasks. In addition, this approach gives me the flexibility that I need as a mother of two young children and working as a trainer and lecturer (and therefore irregularly).
Test these approaches and see what will be more effective for you – because the results are all about here.
Enter in the calendar what you have to do on a given day, but also without exaggeration. Don’t try to overload too many tasks in one day. Remember that your normal life will not stop just because you start to organize and from now on you are an effective person.
It is much more effective to plan and accomplish three important tasks per day than to set yourself a lot of tasks and not complete them later. Needless to say, this causes frustration and a loss of self-confidence. Give yourself a chance to be successful. If you carry out your three most important tasks each day, you will see how quickly you move forward in your activities.
WHAT ABOUT THE TASK LIST?
Keep the list of tasks created at the beginning of the process visible. I stick it to the wall above my desk. When creating your plan each day, check the list and decide by asking the question “can I do any of these tasks today?”. If you have time space for a task, put it on your list and complete it. Of course, the to-do list is not an exhaustive list. You can delete from it tasks that have been completed or those that you have decided that you will never take care of. Also, add to the list the tasks that came to you every day and which should be remembered.
How to increase the chance of planning effectiveness?
Set a block of time to deal with the task on the agenda.
Let it be even 20 or 30 minutes, but specify that at a given time you are not doing anything else, but working on this specific task.
Leave your list in a prominent place and keep it in front of your eyes at all times.
Let the tasks on the list haunt you and keep you from forgetting until you complete them.
Take breaks while working.
It is a cliche, but many people who set out with energy and enthusiasm forget about it. And yes, in the first days they can do it, “press” and have results. But after a few days, fatigue and discouragement come. You need breaks for a short recovery between hard work sessions. Make good use of this time. Do not go to FB, YT, or Instagram. It will be much better to look out the window, ventilate the room, have a drink or a snack.
Don’t be busy.
When you have your plan of action, do your best to implement it. Everyone’s life is full of distractions – incoming phone notifications, e-mails, social media, television, ringing phone. It all makes us break away from what is important and not for a moment. You know very well that distractors can drag you for many quarters of an hour. Make a resolution not to look at your favorite distraction activity until you have completed the most important tasks for the day. You will feel uncomfortable for a few days, you will fight the reflex to turn on the diffuser, and after a while, you will find that it is not worth spending your time in it.
Learn to say no.
It is very important. In everyday work, there are many people and events that will want to steal your time. If you want to be an effective and organized person, you have to learn to oppose it. This also applies to your ideas and ideas that come to your mind. Focus on your goal and think hard about why you can say “yes” and why you should say “no”.