Disclaimer: NONE of this advice will be useful unless you are actually willing to put in the work. So are you?
As the new year sneaks up on us, a lot of you have asked me to write a blog on effective daily planning.
Perhaps it's because we all want to start the new year fresh, organized and willing to take on and conquer all challenges. Maybe you want to stay on top of everything or hone in on your goals for the remainder of the year.
Well, whatever your reason, one thing you need to have for sure is a working strategy; and it requires quite a bit of effort, discipline and the willingness to make it routine.
So how does one plan effectively?
You need to understand that there is no single method of effective planning. This advice is based on what I do and what those around me who have successfully made the most of their time do.
First, you need to understand what kind of person you are.
Are you the kind of person who likes to see all your plans for the day at a glance, or are you more interested in analysing every single hour of the day?
This is really important to know as it will help you to be more productive.
The person who wants to see everything at a glance will have tasks written in 3 to 5 dots for each day on a sheet of paper or planner so that they can see everything at once. They plan weekly.
On the other hand, the person who is more interested in detail will want to know what they have to do, delegate, follow up, what meetings they have and when they have them.
They plan on a daily basis, and all of this is likely to be measured in hours.
So are you a daily planner or a weekly planner?
Now that you've established where you are, you need to find the right time in the day/week to plan and the right tools to plan with.
You need to be in the right headspace, with your mind and physical space clear of distractions, when you write down your plans. This is very personal, so I suggest you answer the following questions to find the right time for you.
When is your mind clearest? Is it in the morning? Is it in the afternoon, or perhaps in the evening or at night before you go to bed? Is it at the beginning of the week or at the weekend?
Whatever the time, schedule it for this activity.
I also encourage you to get a journal or planner, but the most concrete advice I can give is that you use one type of planner, journal or calendar for everything.
Just make sure you choose the right one for you, depending on the first step. Keep everything in one place so you don't have to consult so many planners or calendars.
We've determined the kind of planner you are. ✔
You've got the right tools and figured out when your vibrations and senses are most active.✔
So now let's use this tool efficiently. 👍
Something I cannot stress enough is to make sure everything you write down is crystal clear.
If you have a meeting with Suzy, don’t just write “Suzy”, write it down as “meeting with Suzy at Cafe XYZ about last week's invoices”.
Try your best to write full sentences. These sentences should have key content (and context), so that when you look through your planner you are able to tell exactly what it is you intend to do.
Now that you're clear on your intentions, make sure you check your planner frequently because there’s nothing worse than getting to the end of the day and having done everything in the world apart from the things you had intended to do. This happens to the best of us.
Yes, surely some things are out of our control but do not let that become the norm. Take charge and be in control of you time.
Walk with your planner, check it at work, during your break, at the coffee shop, etc. and make sure that it’s always near you and ready to be used.
Jot down those future meetings and tasks in real time!!
Lastly, you shouldn't feel any pressure to fill your planner up. A lot of planners come with extra space for those who think they could use it but no one should feel like they have to fill every dot point or blank space.
Pssstt, if you feel you absolutely need to, draw something!! 😁
Do not over task yourself. Figure out what you need to do, and plan for it in a reasonable manner.
You can only do so much in a day. You're better off using your time to do one thing and have the most fantastic outcome, rather than 10 things in a mediocre manner.
Now, all that's left is for you to take these steps and be actionable and intentional so that you can make the most out of the last couple of months of this year.
Start setting yourself up for your future now!! 🙂
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