Actually, I’m not too fond of plans – you can be less spontaneous and flexible, and following a ready-made scheme is quite dull. An exception for me, however, is planning my day. I just caught myself deviating from my plan again yesterday. Instead of finishing this blog article, I made a few changes to my website ‘just quickly’. Result: one hour lost, and not everything was completed in the evening. Very frustrating. It gets even worse when there is external interference.
How To Manage Time In Three Steps
Step 1: Identify Your Top Priorities
Every plan starts with the question, what is the desired end state I have in mind? That is why I set my priorities in the first step.
General priorities are more long-term, e.g., set annually, while current priorities are defined weekly or daily.
Let yourself be guided by what is important to you, what you enjoy, what you want to achieve, and what provides meaning to your life and work.
Possible subject areas could be:
- Professional priorities: what do I want to achieve? Where is my responsibility? What do I have to do?
- Personal health/well-being: having a good night sleep, eating healthy, exercising, relaxing, personal growth, etc.
- Social contacts: spending time with family, friends, club activities, etc.
- Leisure time activities: your hobbies
Once you’ve determined your priorities rank them in order of importance. The most important thing is in the first place, which can vary from day to day, from week to week. When planning the day, I set a maximum of three priorities; otherwise, it can quickly become too much.
My top priorities for the day could be:
You will later dedicate 95% of your time to these top priorities, but not evenly allocated: the more important, the more time you can spend on it. You assign the remaining 5% of your time to other activities, necessary activities, e.g., doing administrative tasks, processing emails, going shopping, etc. It is not a rigid distribution, but you can use it as a benchmark.
Step 2: Determine Your Activities
Once you have listed each activity, you subsequently determine how much time you need to complete them.
A rough estimate will be suffient. But feel free to be generous.
Now, you will classify the tasks into three categories:
- Important, urgent tasks: planned time expenditure 1-2 hours
- Action Items (everyday tasks): planned time required 20 minutes
- Quick tasks: 5 minutes
With each task, ask yourself: Is this activity essential? You simply should ignore all tasks that are neither important nor urgent. Most of them are time thieves who only tempt you to lose your focus and end up in chaos. Do I really have to attend the meeting?
Step 3: Time Blocking And Task Batching
After outlining the idea of how to manage your time and organize your ‘ideal day,’ part 2 of this article is about implementation.
Next time you will learn how to create time blocks, and we’ll discuss the advantages of this method for managing time.
- With an effective way to manage time, you can reduce your stress level and be more productive.
- In the first step, you set a maximum of five top priorities.
- Based on this, you define a goal for each priority that you want to achieve.
- Next, you determine the necessary activities and the time required.
- Enter every single task in the calendar with the allocated time.
Do you have any questions? Please get in touch with me.
What challenges do you face when planning your day? What additional tips do you have for us?