I’m always fascinated by people who are organised and know exactly what to do for every part of their day. The positive people that never say “I haven’t got time to do it” or “I wish I had more time”. The pro-active people that get serious stuff done, not just ever so often but consistently and successfully.
What is their secret?
Well, I’ve been having a play about with some ideas around time management and have been implementing a few of those thoughts over the past few months and so today I thought I’d share a few of those idea with you my readers, who are always very productive!
Go, Go, Go!!!
There is no way around it – if you want to get the big important stuff done there are only two ways to achieve it:
- Complete work by the seat of your pants every day, reacting to everything as it goes along and hope everything gets accomplished.
- Get organised.
Schedules, to do lists, planners – are all great ways of structuring time but of course the more structure you put into your the day the more you feel like you’re being strangled by the very constraint of it.
Well, at least I did, then I had a go at this scheduling idea and have been pleasantly surprised by the results. Whoever said mapping your day out creates freedom is indeed correct.
You don’t need to manage every hour but having blocks of time allocated to specific projects, tasks or work can be extremely productive and actually make you feel successful.
See, I am what they call a ‘Scanner’. I’m one of these people who have many interests and am constantly on the look out for new ideas, new things to try and new projects to have a go at. Nothing is off limits and I don’t want to miss a thing. However it also means I usually have multiple activities and ventures on the go at any one time.
One of the down-sides to being a scanner was that I never used to finish anything. I’d always start, get bored and move on because there was just so much going on, and I didn’t want to miss out. Then I’d feel utterly disappointed with myself for never having achieved anything conclusive from any of it.
That was until I gave a detailed schedule a go. It was actually inspired by this video by Early to Rise:
By the way – I don’t follow that video to the letter. I like the principles it inspires and fits to the core values in my life. Everyone is unique which means everyone’s principles and priorities will be completely different. The trick is to discover what those principles and priorities are. Then structure your day the best it can be around those core values.
Armed with a weekly schedule, a project list and a daily to-do list I am now able to not only be more creative but achieve so much more daily, weekly and monthly.
Of course like many personal development sites, all of which offer varying shades of the same ideas as shown in the video above, it’s important to remember that we’re human being’s and not robots. I am not creatively productive every day. There are days where I don’t wake early, time scales that slip on my projects and thing’s on my to-do list that just don’t get ticked.
Life can be full of unexpected demands, and emergencies that just can’t be managed but by attempting to stick to an 80/20 rule (follow the virtues 80% of the time and don’t worry about slipping the other 20%), it’s a great way to live.
By designing your perfect day you get to not only take control of your time (something I value more than anything, and you should too), but you complete quality work, consistency, which in turn makes you feel good about your achievements and by having finished work you get that freedom and more time to spend doing things you truly love.
By adding structure to your day there is no limit to what can be achieved!
What would your perfect day look like?
Cover photo courtesy of Alex Eylar
Well I always find arranging meetings for 3.30 on a Friday afternoon is best. Little argument, maximum agreement. Helps even more to start with “I want to reach a conclusion on this today and I’m happy for the meeting to continue into the evening if necessary.” It never does.
Wow, yup I can imagine that tactic working very well!
I like the 80/20 idea. I’m forever making lists, and seldom completing everything on them–though I have learned to not get too upset over that. Shall see if the 80/20 works. Thanks. 🙂
Always worth giving new ways a go. I find the 80/20 rule takes the pressure off yet still achieve more.
Good luck 🙂
In 1993 the employer I worked for sent all employees to a Franklin Time Management seminar and scored great discounts for us each to get set up with our own Planner – the 2 things I remember vividly from this was:
A. The graphic chart of 4 areas of life presented during the class –
I. I spend little to no time putting out fires.
II. I spend some time putting out fires.
III. I spend most of my time putting out fires
IV. My entire day is a never ending fire-drill (picture IV as a graphic with flames covering it… 🙂
B. I observed my co-workers who took it seriously, bought their planners and spent time to map out tomorrow, next week, used the system, etc., and those who tried, but couldn’t keep using it – –
I have become a fan of Whatever Works for a myriad of reasons since then – but I always, ALWAYS, remember the slide graphic for life type IV (fire drill) and if I find my daily life represents IV – well, I do what’s needed to exit that area, ASAP 🙂
I really enjoyed your article. Because I am an idea person too, I tend to jump from thing to thing. In order to complete tasks, I rely heavily on a to do list and from there I prioritize in order what I should do first. I work my way through the list over a period of days and then begin a new one. I get very overwhelmed by detailed schedules with times,etc. but I do put times for appointments on a calendar or on my phone. Everyone does it different. I applaud your efforts and wish you much success. Great writing by the way. I love your site!