“When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” – Unknown
Plan your day the night before; plan your week the week before. It’s just that easy!
How can this simple activity enhance your productivity? First, it forces you to prioritize what’s important and what’s not. You only have so many hours in a day. You’ll need to make a decision about the top three or four high-value, high-return tasks that you can reasonably commit to completing.
Second, it releases tension in your mind and body. It’s part of clearing the decks. Having a lot of things floating around in your mind consumes bandwidth and, thus, your energy. It’s draining and unproductive.
You know how some car mirrors have a message posted on them that says “objects appear closer than they are”? Well, it’s similar when you have things on your mind. They appear bigger than life itself! It’s amazing how writing things down puts things into perspective! Once you’ve jotted things down in your schedule or calendar, there’s no more reason to think about it . Move on and continue to enjoy the rest of your day.
The third reason this strategy is so important is that it commits you to getting things done. Just as writing down goals is important in making them ripen to reality more quickly, planning your day provides you with structure to get things done. The next day, get up and dive into your list and start making things happen.
Planning your week the week before
Now, take this one step beyond – plan your week the week before. Friday morning is a great time to organize yourself for the following week. Why Friday morning? First, it’s nice to get this task out of the way. Second, as things change during the day, you can revise your schedule at the end of the day. And, then you can enjoy a relaxed weekend because you don’t have anything more to worry about.
Your next week is planned. The work will be waiting for you on Monday and now you can disengage and use your time to enjoy your family, friends, hobbies and some good old-fashioned rest and relaxation. Yes, it can really be just that simple!
Design Your Days in Detail
Here’s a bonus tip for you and one that I know that works wonders. If you have a business such that you can dedicate certain days of the week (or parts of those days) to certain types of activities, then do it! I’ll discuss the value of batching your work and making the most of your high energy periods in a future tip so stay tuned.
So what do I mean by “design your days in detail?” Let’s take a look at a few examples. Consider a typical 5-day work week. Perhaps you spend 2 hours a day on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays returning phone calls. Maybe Friday is your administrative day where you set aside time for working on your business rather than in your business. Or, perhaps, you see clients on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and actually take off Tuesdays completely!
You might be thinking, “My business doesn’t really work this way?” Well, to that I say, find a day, even if it means outsourcing some other activities so that you can customize at least one day of the week to maximize your productivity!
Dedicated days or dedicated parts of days designed to engage in focused activities can increase your productivity tremendously. Focusing time-boxed segments ((I’ll cover this concept shortly) on selected high-value activities will allow you to accomplish more – faster, easier and with less effort!
If you’re ready to work with a coach and get your life and business on track, organized and more productive, let’s chat!
To Your Productive Day!