In my last blog about getting your days back on track, I shared a solution which works for many people. That’s unusual in my world, because so much of organization and productivity is about strategies and systems which are tuned to our how own unique mind works. What gets us started? What does the environment need to be like? How to get our brain engaged? And so forth.
This one idea, though, is one of the best. I talked about why it is such a useful idea in the last post.
Today, I’ll get specific about what I mean and how to create yours. Think of this as a checklist. A starter idea. You’ll build on it as you experiment.
This paper based solution works, even among those who are heavy technology users (count me in that group). You will still use technology for keeping the master list and for reminders and more.
This is more about WHEN you create your plan for the day (in my last post) and how MUCH is on the plan (in this post). So essentially, the plan for the day is a subset of the ‘big list,’ which you’ll still keep in your technology if you choose that route.
A Plan for the Day: What’s in & Not in?
- Plot out your day by 1/2 or full hour increments. Try this; you might be surprised at how useful and not-so-rigid this is. [I was.]
- I use the pictured notepad, small enough that my large handwriting won’t fit much on the page! It is fun and artistic and I can use my colored pens. It is simple to use (no learning curve!), won’t pull me in and onto other things, and is visible, in front of me all the time, not hidden inside a device I can ignore.
- This “short list” has only the top 2-3 tasks (not full projects, but steps or tasks).
- Exact times for meetings and appointments. With travel time, assuming traffic, or technology issues if virtual, and with followup time. Or at least “breathing time” to clear your head before the next meeting.
- Breaks, meals, getting your 8 glasses of water, taking your walk.
- Include “white space.” Do this by making each task, meeting or break longer than you really think it’ll take. This gives you a built-in buffer throughout your day for when things do not go as expected. [Which is all too often, right?]
- And keep a space where you track of what you did instead of what you’d planned to do. These are the uncontrollable, ideally. Examples could be an extra long but very important phone call. A client request. A new prospective client. The things you wouldn’t have said “no” to. This is another reason to have a “short list,” and not the full master list in front of you.
- NOT IN: Do not use your master list of everything you need to do from now until forever as your day’s plan. It is overwhelming and you’ll spend more time choosing what to work on/not work on or organizing the list than doing what you committed you’d do, whether to others or to yourself. Think about which feels better. [That’s the great place where you do want feelings to show up, as motivation, during our days.]
- NOT IN: All the details of a multi step project. These are kept on hold elsewhere.
Good luck. Let me know how it goes if you like. Or ask any questions here or in an email to me. I am happy to get you going.
If you’ve never done this before and would like some advice or coaching, try out a few phone call meetings and we’ll get it in play for you.
603.554.1948 or Sue@CoachSueWest.com