Haven’t we all caught ourselves in our lives when we desperately felt the need for that 25th hour of the day so that we can finish all our tasks properly? Of course we had, I personally wished this to be one only, but it has happened to me so frequently. There are so many books, videos, podcasts and many other types of educational stuff that tell us to do this, to do that, to avoid this, to avoid that, but honestly, much of all those things that I have come to, were not of big help.
What if we had not only that 25th, but also a 26th, 27th and so many more hours in the day available to us? Yes, this is possible! What will YOU do with all this time available to you? Before you jump into thinking, and forward planning, let yourself first read, learn and master the living a life with these many hours. As perfecting my time management, was one of the best personal development skills I ever achieved, and definitely one of the most valuable skills I needed in life as it helped me maximizing my productivity, becoming successful and efficient, herein I share tips from my experience with you so that you take a step further into achieving your life goals!
Why is actually self-organization so much important? Well, as A.A. Milne puts it, because “Organizing is what we do before we do something, so that when we do it, it is not all mixed up“
And, how do we maximize productivity and how do we better self-organize?
It all starts with a planner. Yeah, yeah, I am sure you have heard it at least dozens of times as have I long time ago, and eventually for the same reason as I, you did not put it into practice – there was no one to provide practical tips, few tips on how to properly use a planner. Besides the fact that it is 21st century – the era of technologies, I warmly recommend having this planner in the old way, the old school way. Just visit the nearest office equipment shop and ask for a planner – notebook for the recent year, with separate pages for every single day, by hours. Or, if you cannot find one, simply download some worksheets from the internet.
The recommendation for doing it the old-fashioned way for beginners lays in that it is a lot more easier to have it physically next to you, so that you constantly keep care of it and develop a sense for self-organization.
The following are the steps for how to use it (don’t cheat on some of them 🙂 ):
- For us to be ready to grasp the day (finish all our tasks and have those 25th, 26th, 27th hours in our day that I promised to you), we need to wake up early in the morning and by early I mean 5:30/6 a,m, . This way we have plenty of time to plan, hit the gym, run, eat a proper breakfast, and whatever else we all usually do in the mornings.
- The next step is the first moment we interact with our planners, and, plan our entire day in details. For planning to give results, two things are important: 1) we should dedicate around 30 – 60 minutes to it; and 2) we should do it early in the morning before the phones start ringing, or customers arriving at our offices. The time before “the days” is the only part of the day when we can solely focus on ourselves, therefore, be selfish – don’t let others take this time from you!
- When planning our activities and subjects for the day, we should always leave a blank space of 30-45 minutes in between tasks. This way if we get stuck behind with our previous task, we still have plenty of time to finish it, and we will be just in time for our next subject. Anyway, we can always use this time to reply to our e-mails, answer our calls and many others besides being small things, do take our time.
- When beginning to use a planner, we should add no more than 6-7 tasks in our daily planner. This way we are not over-booked. We can always add an extra one or two or even three once all the subjects have been properly managed.
- We shall stick to our schedules and avoid as much as possible jumping from task to task. Just let it run smoothly, as planned.
- Before the beginning of the working week (if it starts on Mondays for you, I recommend Sunday evening), we shall prioritize – set the big goals for the upcoming week briefly, hence schedule our most important tasks first for the upcoming week. This way we are ready to start immediately, without wondering what we have to do, what we did last week, what tasks were rescheduled, when we have meeting and on the like.
- It is optimal for beginner to use the planner this way for at least 3 months, and only afterwards, after gaining experience and we start improving, can we easily reduce the time we need to plan our days, the free time/blank space before tasks and easily adding dozens of tasks for the day, and managing them without problem. What we will also experience is the more free time that we can have it for ourselves.
I did my plan for today. What are you waiting for?