What is Planning your Time and why is it important?
Now, how many articles do you read every single day about how you can be more productive... how you can do more things with just 24 hrs in a day... and still, have that energy to do something more.
There are like millions of articles, apps and tools out there which can help you in managing and planning your time effectively... but jumbling around and trying to figure out which one is good for you and will work for you can some time be overwhelming.
I used to be that guy who never used to plan his day...so I took a challenge for 30 days where I have to plan every single hour of my day and see the difference.
Sooo... here is how I did it.
1. Used a Pen and a Paper
Like I said earlier, I use an old school pen and paper to sort what I need to do in a day.
First thing I did was, I used a pen and a paper and made a full 24 hr TO-DO list with 1 hr gap.
Then I divided my work into 3 categories/column - URGENT, IMPORTANT, LEISURE
The 1st category I used to fill was my "Important category".
Doing so it helped me to find out which work is urgent and which is important and I can do that once I am finished with my urgent works.
Replying to emails, working on your project, marketing, research, building a growth strategy all these things I used to drop it under "Important category".
Urgent category I include replying to my clients, doing a presentation for a day, banking etc.
Next, I used to fill my "Leisure category".
"Leisure category" included my workout, cooking, watching movies and TV, washing my clothes, decluttering my surroundings, and all those productive works.
2. Choose your Time Category
5 A.M. - 9 A.M. - LEISURE
9 A.M. - 11 A.M - URGENT
11 A.M. - 1 P.M - IMPORTANT
1 P.M. - 2 P.M. - LEISURE
2 P.M. - 5 P.M. - IMPORTANT
5 P.M. - 11 P.M. - LEISURE
This was my Time Category and again, I am not saying it has to be for you too, but at least this is a time frame for me.
Now, let me tell you why is it necessary to divide your categories like this?
This is important because it will help you to know how you can distribute your work without jumbling around doing everything... like instantly.
I took some time, planned it and put all of the activities of my day in their respected categories.
3. Allocate Work
Now, after I am done with Categorizing my Time, I used to allocate my work in those slots.
This helped me to break down my work into a more simple form.
It also helped me to stick with my routine and made me competitive to give my 100% to finish the task within my allocated time.
4. Set a Deadline
Next, I used to set a deadline for my tasks.
Do you remember the exams where you have to stop writing once the time is up?
I did the same thing... I used to stop stretching my work once the time was over.
This practice helped me to get more competitive and boost my energy level to finish my work within that time frame.
There is no way you can finish everything in time but at least you will boost your energy level to give your 100%.
Now, this wasn't applicable for my urgent category and for some of my important works too, but it was definitely for my leisure category.
5. Start Tracking
Now, after I was done with all these... it was time to track my work.
When I first started tracking... it was so hard for me to balance between my work and with my schedule.
I couldn't finish my work within my allocated time, I got too distracted and lose my focus while working... just because I needed to get the work done on time.
Then, instead of focusing on pushing myself to work, I started pushing myself to start tracking the amount of work I completed within my allocated time. And this helped me a lot.
This showed me my capacity of finishing my work in that time frame.
Now, that I had the data I could now easily plan my work schedule accordingly.
Instead of pushing myself to boost my work speed at 5x, I started pushing a little bit extra over my limits.
It's like weightlifting... you start your reps with a lightweight and then you increase your weights with each set.
This helped me to gradually increase my capacity and finish my work without sacrificing the quality.
6. Analyze the Result
It's the day 30... and it's the result time.
To tell you the truth... I couldn't believe that report.
And no, it wasn't because I could work more within that time but because of the time I used to spend on my leisure time.
Now, as I already told you earlier... there is no problem in taking time for yourself, that is totally fine, but overspending time on your leisure activities... it's surely going to impact your performance.
And that's what it showed me... I used to spend more time watching tv, youtube and social media which I didn't have to.
Instead, after I knew exactly how much I was spending my time on all these activities, I could now start planning my new routine... an effective one.
So, on my 31st day, I started with my new routine and that routine helped me in achieving so much which I couldn't have done it otherwise.
Now, of course, your schedule and priorities are different from mine, but this is how I did to straighten up my daily life and you should do it too according to your timetable.
Be brutally honest with yourself while evaluating the results, because that is what you need to do the adjustment and make yourself a better you.
Now, this article is in no way meant to make you feel bad or guilty.
It's all about making you understand, how you spent your entire day and how you can tweak a little bit and get more things done within 24hrs.
This exercise will help you build your confidence level and become more productive.