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Four Steps to Better Plan Your Day

When we take the time to plan the day ahead, we realize a number of benefits:

  • Reduced stress and frustration
  • Increased likelihood of achieving our goals
  • A feeling of satisfaction at the end of the day

Here are four steps to better plan each and every day to get on a better path of achieving your goals:

  • Check for urgent items. At the start of your day, take just 5 – 10 minutes and do a brief review of emails, your calendar, and voicemail to look for any urgent items that must be completed. This is the first step in better organizing your day.
  • Create a daily to do list. Use any urgent items as the start of your “to do” list. Consider what else needs to be accomplished, or what projects you would like to start on, and add them to the “to do” list. Don’t add too much to your “to do” list; keep it to what you can reasonably complete in a day as well as tasks that should be started so that they don’t become last minute projects. The goal is to either get through the items on your list or make a good start on progress. Prioritize your “to do” list.
  • Develop your schedule for the day. Schedule time to work on the tasks on your “to do” list as well as urgent items in your calendar. I often also block out time to make phone calls and return emails. When working in an office, I always blocked time to check in with employees and team members.
  • Take time for breaks. And don’t forget the need for some breaks! You need to have some time away from the computer in order to refresh. A short 5 – 15 minute break is all that is needed to recharge. (Ideally you also take time off for lunch!). If you can’t get out of the office, use that time to check in with colleagues and co-workers. (It’s a great way to nurture working relationships.)

These are just some ways to better plan your day. You’ll find that taking some time in the morning, or even the night before, to plan out the day ahead that you are more productive overall.

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