You drag yourself into your office and sit down for what will be a fun filled and exciting day of pure productivity because you have a “plan”. Ya right – can you say “wishful thinking”, FYI – the rest of the world does not give a darn about your plan or your desire to increase your productivity.
Enter stage left, Daily Planning or the “daily reality check”, as I like to call it.
Let us start at the beginning for a moment. I completed this process twice a day. I do it first thing when I arrive each morning and right before I leave the office (looking ahead to tomorrow). I am amazed at how much can change in the 14 or so hours that I am away from work each day. This should not be a time intensive process. I spend about 5-10 minutes, at the most, twice a day to adapt to changing conditions.
Here is my process, again, if you have some ideas here – please leave a comment.
I review my calendar for appointments that I must keep or that have been added since my weekly planning session. If they require preparation, I book time on my calendar in order to complete the work. Next, I look at appointments that should be kept but are not required. These are appointments that I can reschedule (“push off” but not “blow off”), if needed, in order to prepare for the required appointments. Just a friendly reminder, any appointment or task you can safely “blow off” should never make it to your calendar or task list in the first place. I really try to avoid rescheduling appointments and only do it when it is absolutely necessary.
I now turn my attention to the task lists (personal, projects, and department, in that order) and update the priority of tasks based on any recent changes. I really do not have much to change much here as long as the new tasks are prioritized correctly when they are added. I use this review to keep my awareness up on all the moving parts of the department and to make sure that nothing slips through a crack.
I change task time blocks on my calendar as needed based upon the changes I made earlier. I practice defensive scheduling, and block time out on my calendar to work on my important but not urgent tasks. I really try not to cut into these times, as they are the most important, long-term, to the department.
I review any voicemail and new e-mail. Any e-mail requiring more than a few minutes of work will be turned into a task and prioritized. Most voicemail are deleted with in the first 15 seconds. If the caller has something interesting, I will call them back late Friday afternoon.
I work each day from my calendar. If I am not scheduled to be working on specific tasks or in a meeting, then I am working on my task list starting at A1 and working downward.
No indecision or analysis paralysis here – just doing what is possible so when I go home, I can spend time with the family or play a game with a clear mind.
The links below are to my posting in the series “Time Management”.