Learning to plan requires a shift in mindset and tactics. The following tips will help you build healthy habits that can make planning one of your strengths.
1.) Plan your day out the night before
We wake up every day with X amount of will power. Research has discovered that will power uses up the same cognitive resources we use to make decisions. By the end of the day, will power is all about gone. Plan your day the night before and help yourself focus.
2.) Plan your day before you turn on the computer
As helpful as technology can be, it is also a curse because of the endless distractions it offers. Before you turn on any technology, look at the plan from the night before, or if you did not write one out, jot down your most important focus. Next, write down the steps needed to get there. From those steps, select the ones you can realistically get done in a day. By doing this before your mind gets cluttered from the digital noise, you will be able to identify important details that will make your day run more smoothly.
3.) Embrace ritual
A ritual is a habit that you have made even more special by adding in mindful attention. Start your day with a power hour or power half hour. Do half your time in prayer and then half exercising. You will be inspired and focused.
4.) Use chunking to manage your time
Time chunking is when you group similar activities together and attack the activities in micro-bits when you do not have large chunks of time available. Only have 5 minutes? Do what you can in that category and then finish up in your next segment for that activity.
5.) Don’t be afraid of lists
Lists can be your friend. First of all, most people live life distracted so writing everything down can be a help to your memory. Now that you are learning to prioritize, you can set up your lists with a numbering system, so you will tackle those items identified as “Number 1,” items that are essential for you to accomplish your goals.
6.) Set Boundaries
Having the above tips in place, like time chunking, when the time is up you have to stop working on that activity and move on to the next thing on your schedule. This is how you respect your boundaries. It is also good to focus only on work, when you are at work and when you are home, be fully at home. This idea of single tasking takes some time to do, but it is one of the power tools for getting more done and enjoying the process.
7.) Schedule everything
Just as you are writing everything down, you are also scheduling it on your calendar. Even if the activity is short, like 5 to 15 minutes, put it on the calendar. Schedule in everything, from your power hour to important meetings and your ‘mindset reboot’ breaks throughout the day.
8.) Revise and Review
Set up checkpoints throughout your day and throughout the project to review and revise your activities. This will keep you on track. Get in the habit of asking yourself, what I productive inn the last hour? Am I doing things that matter? Use the Daily Review and build in a habit of reflection.