- Time study data collected by Pace Productivity indicates the typical knowledge worker plans his or her day for a total of 2.3 hours per week. Results from sales reps indicates that those who spend more time in planning tend to be more successful. Here is how to plan your day:
- Visualize your long term picture of success and put it in writing. Review your goal frequently. Your goal should be specific, measurable, achievable and compatible with where you are now. There should be an end date as well. Steven Covey calls this “Begin with the end in mind.”
- Write out a To Do list every day. Include items that can be completed, such as “Prepare exhibits for monthly report”, rather than just “Work on report.”
- Separate your To Do list into A, B and C priorities.
- “A” items are important to your long term success (If you had nothing else to do today, these would be the activities that would affect your results one month from now),
- “B” are things you must do today as part of your job description (they may be urgent but not as important)
- “C” are unwritten or unavoidable but necessary (administration, travel, personal)
- “D” are things you could delay, delegate, or delete
- Start with the A items. Don’t work on a C just because it’s easy to do. Also, break your A items into small manageable chunks, so they’re easy to accomplish.
- Check off items as you complete them to give yourself a sense of accomplishment.
- Block off time for major activities. This might include a block of time for working alone on major tasks. If someone wants to meet you during that time, say “I’m sorry, I already have an appointment.”
- Don’t jam your day full of activities. Leave time for emergencies, special opportunities and thinking time.
- Be your own manager. Ask yourself if you have met your goals, and what changes you plan to make to achieve them.
- Do it now. People will often say “Call me next week, and we’ll book an appointment then.” Respond by saying, “Let’s save ourselves a call and do it now.”
- Always plan time for balance; include family, fitness, recreation, social and spiritual activities.
- Conduct a time study to see how you’re doing and where the opportunities for improvement lie. Many people are only able to spend one quarter of their time on top priority activities. Moving this up to one third of the week means almost 4 more hours per week on key activities.
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