How To Plan Your Day Effectively - Master Your To Do List In 7 Simple Steps. In this productivity tutorial, you’ll discover how to plan your day effectively and master your to do list in 7 simple steps, so that you can become more productive.
How many times have you written down what you need to do, to get to the end of the day and notice that you haven’t made a dent to even half of your to do list? That ends up giving us the opposite of a sense of accomplishment, and makes us feel like we are lagging behind, right? This builds up and results in guilt and stress. The good thing is that it is easy to completely switch gears to finally master your to do list and actually get everything done. Just follow these steps:
Get a piece of paper, or even an online to do list like Asana, and write down everything you need to do. This can be a large-scale project, like create your own website, or something simple such as walk the dog.
Now for those large scale projects, make sure to break them down into tiny chunks. Create your own website, for instance, is out of reach and sounds unfeasible. As such, you can break it down into four medium sized projects - ideation and brainstorming, creation, customization and promotion - and then break those down even further into bite-size pieces. Below you can find a link to the Complete Website Creation Guide that goes through all the steps you need to take to get your site online, already broken down into small pieces.
The next step is to prioritize. Is there a certain activity that you need to do on a particular day, is a task repeatable on a daily basis, or is it something that you can put off for a few days? Get your list and number it, from 1 to the number of items you have, in order of importance. If you need to accomplish something on a certain day, make sure to add the exact date next to it as well. This will give you a framework to work with.
Just look at your prioritized to do list and determine what you will be working on each day of the week, Monday through Friday, or the next day if you are planning for the next day the night before. Things of utmost importance should be done earlier in the week, whereas things that are not as vital can be left for the end.
Take into consideration any other events that are going on during that day (calls, meetings, brainstorming sessions, lunches with friends - get them from your calendar and add them to your list), as well as the hours when you are most productive. For example, I am more efficient in the mornings, so I always add things that involve more brainpower during that time. I leave less stressful and more mundane tasks for the afternoon.
The same goes for scheduling meetings. Do that around the tasks you have to do to accomplish your work, rather than let that dictate your day-to-day activities.
Don’t forget to add ‘check e-mail’ to your to do list as well, in 30 to 45 minute chunks, about 2-3 times per day. Checking e-mail is a huge time depletor, and it is better to check your e-mail during specific time periods, than to check it whenever a new message comes in.
The last step is to reassess your progress either every hour or after you finish each item. Did the time slot you allocate to an item actually correspond to the time you took? Did you write down 4 items to complete during the day, but managed to do 6? Was your brain fried when you attempted to work on a project early in the morning? What worked and what did not? When were you most focused, and when did you get distracted? By answering those questions, you will start understanding how you work in terms of pace and efficiency, and improve next time.
I now have an action item for you. I want you to write down everything that you need to do using the steps we discussed, and create a plan of action to tackle it all.
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