I promised to explain the planning method. A schedule provides peace and space in the head. If you have a plan, the focus is optimal. I have probably remembered this method from some time management book. If I remember correctly, the Ivy Lee method.
Do I always plan tightly? No, I sometimes forget to plan. That gives unrestly and chaotic days. The method is worth trying. Start the day with a realistic schedule.
The 15 minute method.
- Make a list with the 6 most important tasks for tomorrow.
- Prioritize them in the correct order of importance.
- Focus tomorrow first on the most important (first) task, until it can be checked off. Then on the second, then on the third, etcetera.
- Look back on your list at the end of the working day. The tasks that you may not have finished will be on the task list for tomorrow.
Three basic steps for performing your tasks.
Planning and organizing is only possible if you have a clear overview of what you have to do. What does the task entail?
- Take your task list. View all items.
- Choose the 6 most important ones: which tasks will do the most work and / or give you the most satisfaction?
- Consider how long each of the 6 tasks will take to complete. Then schedule that time in your agenda. Be critical and realistic.
Bussy, pressure, pressure and again pressure?
You can plan your tasks in your agenda like this: other things happen in between. A colleague asks you a question, a customer calls with an urgent issue, your manager schedules a meeting right through your schedule (it happens). Each disruption takes 7 minutes to regain focus on your task. As a result, half an hour quickly expires that you are not busy with your intended task.
Try to defend your task time as well as possible. Make a fort out of your agenda and your desk. Show that you are busy.
What happens after all, simply happens. The thing is that you at least keep your focus on your to-do list. If a colleague taps you on the shoulder with an ad hoc request, collegiality can be put to the test. Parry this (without being un-collegial!) by saying: “I am first working on something important that needs to be finished. I am still working on it until X-hour. Shall I come over to you and discuss your question?”
You remain friendly and do not reject. You get peace of mind to do what you have to do. Your to-do list.
Simple and valuable?
- The 15-minute planning and organizing task list is a regular habit that can be valuable.
- It brings the focus back to your core activities, so that you make your work concrete again. That gives satisfaction in the work.
- This focus prevents you from being easily distracted by peripheral issues, colleagues or other ad hoc tasks that will always be there.
- It makes it easier to start a task even when it is difficult and you would normally prefer to postpone it.
- The planning and organizing method forces you to do single tasking (1 task at a time), instead of multitasking. Nobody can do multitasking.
- You do the most important things in the morning. At the most ideal moment for thinking.
If you keep repeating the 15 minutes and 3 basic steps. Every day again. The theory says that after 66 days you have mastered a planning method that works well. It keeps stress at bay, provides insight and overview by creating, prioritizing, planning and organizing. This way you go home with satisfaction at the end of your working day.
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