One of the most requested topics we hear about from you all is time management. This is something that we almost universally struggle with because our brains are focused on survival (expelling the least amount of energy possible) while our ambition is focused on success. The two competing forces often lead to the frustrating feeling of not enough hours in a day.
When I first began my study of time management, I focused heavily on daily planning. Winning the day by waking up early and making the most of the morning hours and staying efficient through regimented habits. What really made the biggest difference is when I added an element of weekly planning. For me, I tackle weekly planning on Sunday afternoons/evenings. It serves to wind down my weekend and allow me to hit the ground running on Monday morning.
Just imagine how much more productive you could be if you kicked off Monday morning by getting straight to work on tasks you know you needed to accomplish instead of making a list of those tasks! But weekly planning is a bit different than daily planning because it takes the big picture into account.
Step One: Define Your Goals
Proper planning starts by defining what your goals are. Often times, we make ambiguous goals and struggle to make plans to accomplish them because the goals are so loosely defined that a plan is next to impossible. Instead, focus on your top 3 goals. Don’t limit yourself just to business either. What are your goals for your personal life too?
Step Two: What Impacts Your Goals
The next step requires you to complete a sort of objective analysis of what is happening in your life. You need to be really honest with yourself and define - what things have a big impact on these goals? These could be activities, habits, or even plans. Most importantly, they have to have an impact on your level of success. Take care to be honest about both positively and negatively impacting things. Remember, your success is in your hands but we understand that there are always outside influences at play.
Step Three: Time Block For Your Goals
The difference between planning and calendar management is a key distinction to understand. Planning is about strategically reviewing your actions and your schedule to see how you can give yourself the best chances of success. Calendar management is simply a supply/demand exercise. Yet, together - the two are one of the most beneficial ways to develop great habits. During both Step One & Two, you’re able to objectively review the actions you need to take. You have no excuse of time constraints and don’t even need to answer the question “when?” until now. The final piece of the planning puzzle gets you to not only say what you need to commit to do, but when you will commit to do it. It establishes personal accountability, which can be a powerful factor in getting things done.
Whether you’re just getting started with planning or this is a practice you have long held, these tips can help you quickly become a better planner. You’ll begin to see things objectively and really benefit from only a few minutes each week and each day seeing the impact almost immediately.