Most people are fully aware that to spend a really effective day, on of the most important things to do at the outset is to make a simple plan to maximize your time. Here are 5 key tips to make sure that your planning is simple, effective and completely in line with your goals.
Tip #1 â€“ Why. The point of planning is to manage your time effectively and give you the opportunity to be realistic about what you hope to achieve. It is a good idea to decide which tasks take priority and which ones will take the most time, require you to be in a certain place or demand certain equipment.
Thinking about these things in advance makes sure that you know exactly what you need to prepare so that you can take action immediately and not go back to pencil sharpening mode.
Tip #2 â€“ Where. Find a quiet place to do your planning. You need the time and the space, without distractions, to think about the bigger picture of what you are trying to achieve. Your daily plan is the building block of your overall construction and you need the perspective to make sure youâ€™re not putting on the roof, before you have built the walls.
Tip #3 â€“ When. One of the dangers of planning is that the very act of writing down what we intend to do is capable of taking up all the time that we planned to use for action. I call this the â€˜pencil sharpeningâ€™ habit; spending all your time preparing instead of doing.
A very simple cure is to do your planning the night before. That way it doesnâ€™t eat into your action time. It also allows your subconscious mind start work straight away, while you slumber, on some of the issues ready for when you wake up. Just make sure that you donâ€™t stay up all night, planning! You need your sleep too.
Tip #4 â€“ What. Try not to get carried away with your planning process. A day chart with coloured time slots and flow charts may look great but it is certainly not necessary. A simple list of tasks in time order is all thatâ€™s required. Highlight the ones that must get done and recognise that if they overrun, then the less important jobs can be allowed to slip.
Tip #5 â€“ How. Carry your one sheet plan with you all day or pin it up over your workstation. Keep it up to date and cross off the tasks as they are completed. Remember to carry over unfinished jobs, but give yourself authority to discard them too â€“ the very fact that you didnâ€™t get them done may mean that they were unnecessary in the first place.
A plan is a guide to your day, not a rigid and unbending framework. It is there to help you make realistic judgements about how much time you have and let you see what you still have to get done, but donâ€™t become its slave. Allow yourself the flexibility to react to things that happen during the day.
That does not mean allowing yourself to get distracted by trivialities, but no one will ever thank you for being rigid, if that means turning away from immediate opportunities.
So, donâ€™t forget; just before you go to bed. Grab a pen and paper, shut yourself away from the family and TV for ten to twenty minutes and put your plan together. You will be amazed at how much more you can achieve each day in return for that small investment of time.
Hi my name is Andrew Grant, I hope you enjoyed this article. If you'd like to see more on positive thinking and goal setting or subscribe to my newsletter go to http://www.money-and-mind.com