If you show up at your desk in the morning with no plan other than to move from meeting to meeting, you won’t feel good about how you spent your time by the end of your day. And you won’t accomplish as much as you could.
You need a plan.
Once you have a plan, you will assure yourself of getting more done, and you will feel less overwhelmed. And you will be less stressed and start the day with greater focus if you develop your plan the day before.
Developing your plan the day before makes sense because you are closer to the major issues left undone from the previous day. Plus, it means you can begin the new day with a focused direction.
As I wind up my day, I check two things. First, I look at my calendar for the next day. This is crucial because I need to know how much time I will be spending in meetings instead of the time I will have for other projects. I then review my task list, and I look for the most important items for immediate action. My goal is to write three to five action items on a 3″ x 5″ notecard to guide my next day.
If I need to be working on an important project that will require several hours, I need to make sure there is time on my calendar to fit it in. If that isn’t possible the next day, I need to work with the person who manages my calendar to balance all of my priorities so that I have time to get tasks done before they are due. While I don’t believe in time blocking every hour of my day, I need to have an ongoing balance.
Your daily plan will make you more productive as it will allow you to focus on the essential items of the day as soon as you begin your new day.
There is a necessary caution. Don’t overestimate how much you can or will get done. There is a natural tendency to assume you will get more done than you realistically can do. Your plan might devolve due to an emergency or a new matter that will distract you from your best intentions.
Doing this advance planning will likely only take a half hour or so, but it will allow you to get a good night’s sleep knowing that all the loose ends have been noted and the plan awaits your arrival the next day.
I have many more ideas on how you can be more productive. Check out my online course, “Pathway to Productivity and Better Time Management” to get more done and feel more accomplished.