Have you ever felt like you did so many things for the work day, yet it seems like you accomplished so little? With so many things going on in our lives, it’s now more crucial to learn to manage our time and try to achieve the most out of every day. Here are quick tips on how to plan work days and significantly boost your productivity.
1. Clarify and set your goals.Tony Robbins says, "Setting goals is the first step to turning the invisible into visible." Click To Tweet
If your mind isn’t clear about what you want to accomplish at the end of the day, it’s likely that it will just go with the flow and take whatever comes.
This is usually the reason why it feels like nothing productive has been done at the end of the day, even if you were very busy ticking off items in your to do list.
If you report to a manager at work, take time to sit down with him or her and align with your goals and must-dos for the week. This way, you avoid going back and forth with your priorities.
What may seem important to you may not be as important to your manager. Be clear about your objective and always seek your manager’s inputs. This way, you know you’re on the right track when you have your manager on board.
When you move from being task-based to goal-based, you can align your daily activities based on what you want to achieve. You can also avoid being side-tracked by tasks or requests along the line that could pile up on your to-do lists.
When you learn how to plan your work days effectively and make it a habit, you can effectively make the most out of your day.
2. Do a brain dump.
Before your day officially starts, just take 10-15 minutes to do a brain dump. It’s literally dumping everything that’s in your mind in your notebook or journal! It’s best to do this when you just got out of bed or when you’re drinking your morning coffee.
Think of all the things swirling inside your head and write them all down. Don’t worry about organizing them yet — just write and write until you captured everything that’s on your mind.
Now look at your list and review them based on the goals that you have set. If possible, rank them according to priority so you know which of the items in your list are your must-dos for the day.
Using the brain dump technique teaches you on how to plan work days more efficiently by making sure you capture everything and there’s nothing left behind.
3. Schedule it.
Now that you’ve written down everything in your head and have prioritized it according to your goals, schedule the most important items on your list. When you schedule, you’re telling yourself you’re making time to accomplish this particular task or item on your list.
Do you ever notice that you always show up for meetings or events that have been scheduled in advance? This is because your mind has anticipated this event, and your body follows by showing up for it.
Similarly, when we want to make sure that we get things done, schedule it in your work day to have a definite time for you to accomplish it.
Divide your work day into 30 minute blocks or less, depending on the task. Write the schedule in your journal or calendar and review it before you start your day.
4. Focus and get in the zone.
One of the things I struggle with when I go about my work day is focusing on my task for the moment. In the midst of it all, I could get a phone call or email that diverts my attention somewhere else. Sometimes, I could simply think of many other things while doing my task.
To prevent distractions, I write the word FOCUS and keep it in front of me to remind me to put my attention on that particular task in my schedule. It keeps me grounded and reminds me that I could do the other things later.
If you’re the type who likes their email inbox clutter-free and tends to read all emails, emails can be such a time sucker and not every email is important. Schedule a block time just to read and answer emails.
To efficiently manage emails, check out some of these tips from Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week, on How to Decrease Email Overwhelm.
5. Give yourself a break.
By now, you’ve probably learned enough tips on how to plan work days that would be of some value to you. If you implement any of these tips, you’re sure to improve your productivity at work.
Here’s a last tip: Go easy on yourself and give yourself a break! Don’t push yourself too much that you will experience burnout during the day.
When you feel stress, your body will respond negatively and it will be harder for you to be efficient and productive in what you do.
Take 5-minute breaks in between your block times and just refresh yourself. Learn the Pomodoro Technique, a popular time blocking system which teaches that you break down your tasks in 25-minute focused time blocks, with 5-minute breaks in between.
Taking breaks allows you to renew your energy and help you focus on the next task ahead.
I hope this has helped you in any way, and you have learned how to plan work days more efficiently. If you need a calendar to give you a visual reminder of your plan for the day, please check out our dry erase calendar! You can mount it on the nearest wall beside you so it’s easy for you to see what you need to focus on.