Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.
If you want to make the most out of your day, stay calm, motivated, working on different activities without stress, the planning of your day is one of the crucial aspects that you should be focusing on. In our day to day work, we do multiple tasks, multiple roles to play at office and home. Everyone needs to have some kind of plan and of course stay on top – to have control over the things we are doing. Life can be stressful, tensed, depressed with out your proper plans. Plans are the steps to reaching your destination. This will relieve you from lot stress, depression, and won’t let you feel sad about achievement at the end of the day.
A goal without a plan is just a wish.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Preparing a proper plan, maintain it daily basis is not an easy task. It required a lot a dedication and practice to follow it. Personally, for me, it took over few years to have some sort of controls on how I do plan my daily work. This does not only help me to plan and manage my office work, also helped my daily personal work at home, my blogging, social networks, everything I do. This gives a lot of confidence and motivation to do something more.
You will find a lot of articles, video on how to plan your day better. There was a time, I used to read a lot of them, watched many of the videos, learned it, improved it day by day. This post is based on my personal experience, and mainly what worked/working for me.
I have always use the pen-paper method to keep track of daily things to get it done when I am in the office. However, I manage my overall plan using One Note, and move my paper notes to One Notes at end of the day; just to access from anywhere and any future reference, review, and analysis. Sometimes, it looks like a duplication of effort as I do back and forth of writing down task from One Note to paper note, by I don’t mind to do that as long it is helpful to me.
Planning for the Day? Take a Step Back
What about Weeks or Month?
You must have your long term plan. It does not necessarily to be what you trying to achieve over the years (at least in this case. but ideally you should also have that thing on your list too.) but something that you are trying achieve or execute over the next Month. So, Break it down!
- Monthly Target / Goal
- What you want to achieve each Week
- What you want to achieve each Day
- Then plan your day to achieve what you have planned for that and forget everything!
Keep track of plans like below, a One Note (you can prefer any other medium) Section for Each month, and Create Pages for the plan it. Monthly Planner page has my monthly goals and then I divided it for Each Week, and then Each Day!
Plan to start the week from Saturday/ Sunday, as it’s a weekend, you can think through and spend a good amount of time to plan my week.
Have a section for Review and Analysis. This is your self-assessment! What you have done over the week or Month! What could have been done better!
Stick it on Wall!
It’s a very good practice to stick your monthly, weekly plan on the wall / in front of your working desk. With this, you visualize where you are and what needs to be done to achieve your goal. Here is how generally keep them stick!
Plan your day the night before to start with a better morning
The first, and most important is to have a daily plan in place. Plan it the night before! It will help you to make your mind ready for the morning and so that you can just start into actions!
Here is your check list for your Tomorrow’s Plan
- Check your Tomorrow’s Calendar
- Check your Tomorrow’s Action Items / Deliverables
- Check your Email for pending responses.
- Check Your This weeks Plan and What you want to fit for Tomorrow.
- Check Your Today’s Task / TO DO List and see What you could not finish and want to move for tomorrow
Consider all the above factor before you plan for tomorrow.
Keep in mind, that you have to include your personal plan to in your daily plan. your personal plan too. If you have a dr. appointment, or have planned for movie or dinner with family make sure you block the time for it. This is really important to have the equal balance in your work and personal front.
Keep Your Personal and Official Work Plan List Separate
Use two different column for official and personal work. List down all personal work and office work separately so that you can focus on right things on right time.
Adjust it before jump into work – If and When Required
You have to make your plan flexible enough so that you can adjust if there is any high priority task jumped in. It’s not recommended to start your day by scanning emails, calendars. But there could be something important arrive into your inbox over night, and this is expected as we work around different time zones ( mainly applicable / do for office work. Don’t randomize your personal study, blog, learning plan here..)
Here is your actions item
- If there are nothing importance and no need to change the plan, you start focusing
- If there is any important task that you need to look over before something else which was already planned for today, you need to adjust your plan and push something for tomorrow – Don’t over booked!
Execute It with out any distraction
Execution is everything.
Start your daily plan – First things first, if there is something that you do it for your own learning, own personal plan, for your passion, I would recommend you to do it early morning / before you start your office work. So that you can focus on right things on right time.
I woke up very early morning and have allocated at least 2 Hrs. for my personal community works. Where I mainly following activities
- Do blogs, write Tips at Daily .NET Tips
- Scheduled you post / published your post
- Reply to queries asked through my blog
- Manage Social Networks for Blogs, Sites.
- Preparation for any Conference
- Reading Book
- Learning New Things.
Before you start your office work, make sure you review and adjusted your daily plan / task list are handy for the day.
Break Down Your Work
If you know one big task is going to take around 90 minutes to complete. Make sure you are breaking down to 3 smaller unit of 30 minutes. Each 30 minutes breakdown can be a logical end of the end of some portion of an entire task. If the task is even bigger, you can make it further smaller unit. Objective is to keep a piece of work, that you can finish at a time without destructions
Use Pomodoro. I am fan of this technique , and I am sure once you start using it, you should also be, !
Break is Important !
Have a break once you done with a smaller unit.
Stay Away from Everything
- Stay away from Social Network –It is difficult, but if you do practice, it’s not impossible. Don’t check social network when you are doing the task. You are free to do so during the break that you are taking!
- Don’t check email always, keep specific time for it.
- Turned Off all Notification – Email, Communicator, Skype .. and of course messenger like Whatsapp over the phone.
- Will come..
- You can’t plan for it..
- But surely you can avoid at max.
Marked it When Done !
This is also an important factor to track your progress. I marked them with colors when done in my diary! This gives actually good feeling when I review it at the end of the day and map things back with One Notes and checked them as well.
Track, Analysis and Review It for better tomorrow
This is a practice, and you can’t do in overnights! You need to keep track of things to make your plan better.
Ask this question yourself daily while planning your work.
- How was Today ?
- What you have done better ?
- What could have done in better way ?
- How many task pending from today and I need to move for tomorrow ?
- Why I couldn’t finish those items that required to move ?
- What causes your most destruction ?
- What is the best times works for you ?
Use the Weekly Analysis and Monthly Analysis section to keep tracks of task in terms of % or numbers.
This steps will help you over the days ! Months and Years !
Do share your thoughts and let me know if it helps you!
Picture Credits : Pexels
Thank You !