Plan your day, before it’s yesterday!
December 12, 2011 by Kay Grossman

The Concept: There’s no way around it. Planning leads to more effective allocation of attention. Unplanned days lead to mind-wandering and jumping from task to task at our brain’s whims. Without set intentions to accomplish specific tasks, we may feel very busy and productive. But at the end of the day, were we effective? Did we accomplish what was most important?

A whole industry has been built to help us in this realm. David Allen and Stephen Covey are but two examples of people who’ve written books and created systems, products, workshops, and Webinars to enhance our productivity. We have thousands of calendars and planners to choose from, ranging from hard-copy to electronic applications on every device we own. A Google search using the word “planning” yields 1.3 billion results.

Yet, while many of us sense the importance of planning, we opt out. It takes too much time. It feels cumbersome or complicated. It reminds us of previous instances when we didn’t follow our plan and felt like failures as a result.

The refuting facts are as follows: The simpler the plan is, the better it tends to be. Planning saves time by keeping us focused on and taking action steps toward our goals. Everybody can successfully plan by following practical guidelines and tweaking them to fit their own brain-style.

Action Steps for Planning your day:

  1. Choose 3 to 5 key tasks to focus on and accomplish today. No more!
  2. Post this short list in multiple places so that you’ll see it throughout the day.
  3. Block out in your planner the time you estimate each task will take.
  4. Hide your long to-do list. (I read somewhere that the average to-do list boasts 150 items. The long list serves only to nag at you and confirm feelings of not getting enough done. It robs your brain of the energy it needs to stay focused on the tasks of importance for today.)

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