Happy Sunday my lovelies! Can you believe that today in one week it is the last day of February already and we are starting March? That means, for most of us, we went into the first quarantine (or really started speaking and hearing about Covid-19) one year ago. But instead of dwelling in the past let’s look brightly into the future and how to plan and schedule your day for ultimate success at work. Today I am sharing with you my top 6 tips on how to plan your day ahead for a successful work day (and you will get a freebie at the end!)
Plan your day before you start
Whether you want to plan your day the night before from laying out your clothes all they way to what you will eat or just in the morning after your workout, meditation or coffee – try planning your day before the actual work starts. For many it is easier to plan the night before, others want to see how they wake up (to see how we feel and what we are capable of that day) and then plan. Both works in my opinion.
Make a list of the most important tasks
I find making lists super helpful in organising my day ahead. Whether you want to time-block the whole day out or just list the most important items for the day is up to you. Depending on when you work better (morning vs afternoon), you may want to prioritise the tasks not only of importance but the focus you need to get them done. For me, I usually start my day with the most easy emails first, checking what emails I received over night and flagging the most important emails first. Since I work with the US, I try to answer the most important ones before noon my time so that they have an answer in their inbox first thing when they wake up and start the day. Tasks that take less effort, such as proof-reading presentations, working on certain layouts, or just calling people to catch-up I enjoy finishing shortly after lunch.
Use a list, but use it wisely
Ok so now that you may already be using a list or thinking about using it, don’t overdo it, either. Now even though this may sound obvious, I know people that write down a list of 30 items they want to finish that day – or the other extreme, write a list with 2 items only – and usually, these people fail. Make sure to keep your list realistic. Think about how long each task will take you to finish and calculate in some time to just sit back and relax. Trust me when I say: even if you do not find time to relax, you will most likely take longer for the one or other task and feel relieved if you have planned in some extra time.
An extra tip: try tracking your time to see how long you need for certain tasks that you tend to do often, this way you will get a better idea of how much time you will need to plan in next time.
Tell people you are busy
There is nothing I hate more than trying to concentrate on tasks and my phone constantly vibrating from receiving texts from friends, with co-workers peaking over and talking to me or people in the company calling in to see what I am up to. If you are using a shared calendar add a time block called “busy” in so that people know they should not call you then. It is also OK to write your friends that you are currently busy, need to concentrate, will put them on mute and get back to them later. People understand, but people need to know – so share it.
Do not multitask
We all say we are amazing multitaskers – women even more then men, but let’s be honest: multitasking is not the way to go if you want to really focus on a task and finish it on time. This means no eating in front of the computer whilst trying to finish an email, no speaking on the phone to a friend whilst working on a powerpoint (I can guarantee you, you will make mistakes!), and no online shopping when on the phone. Again, this may be obvious, but I see people do it all the time and it such a waste of time (and rude, if you are working with or speaking to someone else!).
Striving for perfection should not always be your goal
Who doesn’t love to be perfect, right? I surely do. In all honesty, though, sometimes it can be really annoying to strive for perfection because in utmost cases, there is no perfect. One of my biggest pet peeves is people writing and rewriting an email for an hour if it could be done within 20 or 30 minutes. Yes you want to make sure you said everything important, yes you want to use the right grammar and yes you want it to be “perfect” but unless it is the final email before a client decides to work with you or not, you can always write another email or give them a call to say you forgot to mention something. Also, how often have we received emails and seen mistakes in them? I am pretty sure we all have. Of course you also should not be rushing it. That reminds me of another pet peeve of mine: People that clearly sent a copy & paste text to several people and then forget to change the name or do not make the email at least somewhat personal at all. Usually, these kind of emails will not receive my utmost attention and greatest reply.
Now that you have my top 6 tips on how to best plan your day ahead, why not start? Below you can download your freebie – a printable “My Agenda For Today” task list!