Every day has 24 hours in it.
We all have the same amount of time each day.
How you choose to spend your 24 hours is up to you, but managing your time and planning your day is one of the most important things you can do. Planning your day, and getting tasks done, gives you a sense of accomplishment and helps you achieve your goals.
In today’s world, it is easy to become distracted by emails, phone calls and social media. You may feel stressed and over-whelmed with the number of tasks you need to achieve, finding it hard to focus and concentrate on the important things, and by the end of the day you are left feeling that very little has been accomplished.
By following a few simple steps, you can plan your day, prioritise your tasks and achieve a happier work/life balance making you feel more in control of your life.
Plan your day the night before.
Spend 10 minutes at the end of each day planning the next.
Using a diary or journal to write down all the tasks you need to achieve will help you to remember everything, visualise your day and help you sleep better. By completing this at the end of the day, your unconscious mind can work on your list and come up with solutions or ideas for the tasks whilst you sleep.
Prioritise your tasks.
Prioritising is an essential tool to time management, especially when time is limited and your to-do list is exhaustive.
Make a list of all the things you need to achieve.
Determine the urgency – does it need to be completed tomorrow or can it wait a few days/weeks/months?
Determine how long each task will take to complete – be realistic and allow for interruptions.
Decide whether the task be delegated.
Put the tasks in order of priority and always make your most important task the first one you complete. Especially if it’s a difficult or unpleasant task, as you will keep wanting to put it off until you either run out of time or rush through it and not complete it to the best of your ability.
Review your workload regularly.
Look at your list at lunchtime and consider what you have achieved and what still needs to be done. Throughout the day re-focus on your task list and cross off the ones you have completed. There is nothing better than the feeling of achievement when you cross tasks off your list. Especially the last one!
Keep a record of how long tasks take to complete.
This will help if you have regular tasks – perhaps daily, weekly, or monthly. Logging how much time you spend on each activity will assist you in planning your day the next time the task comes around.
Don't over-load your task list each day.
Having a long to-do list will have a negative effect on you and your productivity level if you constantly leave tasks uncompleted at the end of each day.
Always be realistic with your to-do list and if you complete all your tasks before the end of your day
– fantastic! You can get stuck into tomorrow’s tasks. This feeling of over-achievement has a positive effect.
Allow for unexpected events
Sometimes though, however well you plan your day, something happens and it’s not on your task list – the car breaks down, a customer’s delivery hasn’t turned up, the computer system crashes.
Allocate time in your daily plan for the unexpected. This will ensure you are not taken by surprise and have enough time in the day to deal with any unforeseen circumstances.
Include fun tasks
Life is not all about work. Allocate time for relaxation and fun. Whether this is daily or weekly, it is important to rest and reward yourself. This may be a long soak in the bath, a trip to the theatre, a weekend away, or a games night with the family. Whatever you choose, you have earnt it so enjoy it.
All these steps may sound easy enough in concept but it takes time to develop positive planning habits and put them into practice. Managing your time needs to become a habit if you are to be successful and achieve all you need to in the time you have.
IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU PLAN TO FAIL