Just Start- Tips for Planning Your Day

I was recently given a big project. I really want to make things happen and I have so many ideas, but the hard part is figuring out which task is the biggest priority. If you can identify first things first, then you’re that much closer to success. (A little deep breathing and yoga helps too!)

It’s great to take those notes, but there comes a time when you need to put them into some sort of cohesive order that allows you to start taking action, and “ship it” as author and marketing expert Seth Godin suggests. Make it a plan to take action on something every day. If you keep the pipeline full, you’ll always see results.

From Analysis Comes Paralysis

Yes, I know there’s so much to do; you’re excited and have so many ideas and you take a multitude of notes, but too much organizing can have the opposite effect–you don’t take action. Here’s my example–this blog. I’ve been caught up with planning pages, fancy graphics and sidebars and wanting everything to be perfect, but here’s the plain truth– “from too much analysis comes paralysis.” Some blog authors have been known to challenge the perfection principle by adding in a typo or two into a blog post on purpose. Now that’s pretty daring, but seriously– someday we’re all going to pass from this world and no one will give a heap about a silly typo. This practice certainly can put things into perspective. I just might give it a try. (someday)

Create the Roadmap

  1. Write down the most important things that you need to accomplish today.
  2. Number tasks in order of importance— use something that business guru Brian Tracy calls the “ABC Method” in his book Eat that Frog.
  3. Identify the biggest tasks— The “A” items are the biggest “frogs” and those must be “eaten” first. If you get those big tasks out of the way first, the rest of your day will be much easier. I try very hard to ask myself the question– what is the most important thing that if I started now would have the biggest impact on my day? That’s the task to begin with.
  4. Set the stage for the tomorrow–At the end of the day, move the remaining times to the next day and spend 10-15 minutes determining what your biggest tasks are, and repeat these steps.

Try to avoid the “busy work” syndrome. Indulging in frivolous email or low-level tasks can make us think we are accomplishing things, when in fact this is not the case. Start with the big tasks at the time of day when you have the most focus, and save the low-level tasks for the time of day when you’re not as focused.

If you can manage to figure out your priority items, you’ll be so much more focused and centered throughout the day. The feeling of spinning your wheels only to find you’ve accomplished nothing of importance is frustrating and creates even more stress. If you plan ahead, you’ll never have any emergencies and missed deadlines! Also, you’ll find that you’ll be able to accomplish so much more in one given day just for taking those 10 to 15 minutes at the end of each work day to plan for the  next.
Plan for Tomorrow Now
  1. Create an “idea bucket” or journal to dump all of your ideas. This helps free your mind because this is a place that you can relieve yourself of all those ideas that pop into your head. You can revisit them later when you plan your next day or week.
  2. Write out two major goals that you wish to complete in the coming week.
  3. Plan your week- add priority items, then sprinkle in items from your “idea bucket.”
  4. Identify low-level, administrative tasks– this is where an assistant is crucial. Do not spend any time on low-priority items!