WHY YOU SHOULD CREATE A PLAN EVEN WHEN IT'S GOING TO CHANGE

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DEAR READERS:

I am really excited to let you know that my first book, Super-Productive: 120 Strategies to Do More and Stress Less will be available on Amazon beginning Tuesday, March 7th.

There will be a special promotion for all blog recipients... STAY TUNED!

For more information on the book, click here.

Back to our regularly scheduled blog...

"Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now."                                                                                                      - ALAN LAKEIN

WHEN SHOULD YOU PLAN?

To be most effective, planning needs to be done daily. Each evening, before you finish work for the day, spend ten minutes doing the following:

Review:

  1. Look at your To-Do list. What was completed and what still needs to be done?
  2. Your To-Do list should include a section for work and a section for personal tasks.
  3. If you’re looking for a great app, I use (and love) ToDoist.
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Prioritize:

  1. Assess and prioritize each task (low-medium-high, 1-2-3, yellow-orange-red...whatever system works for you).
  2. What REALLY needs to get done immediately?
  3. What big projects do you need to start making progress on?
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Estimate:

  1. For each item on your To-Do list, estimate how long you think it till take to complete.
  2. At first, your estimations might be off, but over time you will become pretty precise on repeating tasks.

Degree of Difficulty:

It is helpful to rank the degree of difficulty for each task.

 

HOW SHOULD YOU PLAN?

This is where it all comes together!

  1. Each evening, look at what needs to get done (each task should have an estimated time assigned to it and possibly a degree of difficulty.)
  2. Take out your calendar and be sure to schedule your ‘fixed’ variables (work hours, regular meetings, etc.)
  3. Include your personal ‘fixed’ items (an exercise class, pick-up basketball Wednesday evenings, etc.)
  4. Look at your list of tasks and decide what needs to get done immediately.
  5. Consider the times during the day when you are most alert and attentive.
  6. Schedule your harder tasks during these times.
  7. Allow for regular breaks.
  8. The Pommodoro method suggests 25 minutes of concentration followed by 5 minutes of relaxation. You can use this as a guide or adjust it to your optimal working time.

WHY SHOULD YOU PLAN?

Your calendar will serve as your road map each day. Scheduling a specific time to get  work done will enable you to get your work done more efficiently and you should find that there is also time to do things you enjoy (dinner with friends, exercise, movies, etc.)

Blocking out time in your calendar for the personal things you enjoy will protect that time so work does not creep in.

Following a system like this helps you sleep better at night knowing what to expect the following day.

That being said, we often wake up to crises that need us to change our plans.

Having a plan in place makes you more resilient and flexible in addressing surprises and handling stressful situations.

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For more productivity tips, check out these recent posts: