16 Oct 2013 Why creating a daily plan can improve your productivity
Is this a typical end to your workday? You stay back for a few minutes to try and complete an important task before you leave work for the day. After 30 minutes or so, you realise it is getting late and you really must go or else! You quickly pack up, close your laptop, and decide to finish what you are working on first thing in the morning.
You stay back for a few minutes to try and complete an important task before you leave work for the day. An hour later, you realise it is getting late and you really must go or else! You quickly decide to finish what you are working on first thing in the morning.
When you arrive at work the next morning, you open your laptop and check for any email messages. There are a few messages you need to deal with, but you keep working through them. One email message leads to another and an hour or so later, you realise you are not going to get to the work from last night any time soon. So, you push it aside and continue with your workday, hoping to get back onto the task later in the day.
Before you know it, your day is nearly over, and you still haven’t found any time to finish that important task from last night. So, you decide to stay back a little longer, or perhaps you even take the work home to try and complete it after the kids are in bed!
If this sounds typical for you, can I suggest that before you leave work for the day, you spend some time making sure you plan and prepare for your next workday.
Spending 5-10 minutes at the end of each day to create a daily plan and organise your next day ensures:
- You start the day more focused on what you want to achieve.
- You are prepared to minimise your time wasters.
- You start the new day without being weighed down by yesterday’s baggage!
- Last minute arrangements can be organised if required. (Especially if you have an early morning meeting.)
- Finally, you reduce the likelihood of having to try and remember too many things overnight. That is, you keep your mind clear of those persistent work thoughts.
Not starting the new day with a clear plan for how you intend to manage your time, almost always means lower productivity and reduced effectiveness.
Think about it, you would not tackle an important project without some sort of a plan. And yet, we often treat our most important resource, our time, without a clear plan for how we intend to manage it productively.
A good idea is to create a recurring appointment in your calendar at the end of each day to develop a very clear plan for what you want to achieve the next day. A daily plan in other words. During this time, you can:
- Consider what you need to prepare for
- Review your upcoming meetings
- Update your To Do list
- Be clear on your priorities for the next day
Try not to fall into the temptation of thinking you will plan your day the next morning. That almost never works! It’s practically inevitable your day will run away from you, and you’ll likely be less focused and less productive as a result.
Thanks for reading and I hope you found this little article helpful.
Geoff Prior – Lingford Consulting, October 2013
Workload & Email Management Training/Coaching. MBTI Consultant