Updated: Apr 13, 2021
Get up at 7, coffee at 8, work at 9 and lunch at 1. Everything seems easy peasy lemon squeezy when your day goes as planned. But when something a bit different, like the drive to work taking a bit longer than expected, your routine goes down the drain. Does this situation sound familiar to you?
To relieve some of your burdens, we came up with this handy dandy guide so your workday will be structured. Yes, even when something out of the ordinary happens.
Write down all your to do’s
Plan your workday ahead, preferably the night before. It not only helps you be more focussed and less stressed, it also gives your brain the time to process the information and come up with some cool things for the next day.
On top of that it gives you time to prepare for your day. If you have meetings, you can check the agenda and go over your notes. Got a lunch date or planning to hit the gym? Prepare your meal or pack your bag so you're sure you aren't forgetting anything.
Prioritize first, goals first ;-)
Unfortunately we can't do everything in one day, so it is important to set priorities and make sure to spend some time on them for maximum goal achievement.
Ask yourself these 3 questions:
Wat are my top 3 goals for today?
What activities are linked to my goals? What should I do to obtain my goals?
When do I plan them in?
Prioritizing is all about blocking your time proactively so you can do all your activities.
Planning also requires a good amount of self-knowledge in order to be as productive as you can be. It's important to know when you're the most productive to do actual work, when you're more in the mood to plan, strategise or even brainstorm and when you are able to have meetings. This way your productivity will be through the roof.
Figure out your:
Flow time: the time of the day where you can focus on your most important tasks, where you get most of the hard work done.
Semi-flow time: time to do tasks that will help you get back to your active tasks. This could be research, training or processing, as well as emails and administration.
Since checking your emails and admin is almost a daily task, you can consider giving it an own category in your schedule.
Passive flow time: this is the time where you know you're not productive. So things that you can do is coffee meetings, web/email stats, read work-related articles, go through your LinkedIn.
Once your to do’s are all mapped out to your own mental energy levels, it's time to plan your day.
Plan your workday
Here are some steps you can follow:
Use an agenda, this can be online or offline whatever works for you.
Have a morning routine: it's your choice to include them in your work plan.
Plan in blocks: This can be blocks of 50’ or 2 hours with a small break around 25’ - 30’.
Use different colours for different tasks and topics. It makes it even easier to create a system in your to do’s so you can link it to your flow time. Bonus: it makes everything look pretty.
Plan your breaks: they might be 1 min. to 15 min. Important here is that you allow your mind to shift tracks to another area of focus. Go grab a cup of coffee, call someone, stretch, go for a walk, etc.
End of the day: use your last block to prepare for tomorrow. It can also be used for some tasks that need to be wrapped up.
There are a lot of different ways we could plan our workday to be more productive. Also, everybody has different energy levels and deadlines to work with. Just as that every work situation will have different challenges.
S, it's important that you have a structure but can be flexible as well in order to customise your plan to your own liking.
Tips that would help you plan your workday to make it as efficient as possible:
Plan small breaks in for coffees, teas and toilet breaks
Batch tasks such as mails and administration in a time block
Follow every meeting with a buffer of 15’ so you can rest and prepare for the next item on your agenda
Don't multitask, task completion is one of the most important things to do if you want to be productive
Use the pomodoro technique to go through your tasks.
Create habits: for instance plan your workday everyday at the same time
Bringing structure in your workday may seem daunting at the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, it's quite easy to do. The key to success is planning ahead. So, at the end of each day, take a few minute to schedule the next day. So, while everyone is working hard, you'll be working smart!