One can find inspiration in the unlikeliest of places… Today’s nugget comes to us from a blog post on Alice.com (yes, the online home essentials store – neat, right?). They have a very brief post from last May that describes how to plan your day in just four steps.
The original post appears to focus on planning a day for someone who works from home, but I think that it could easily be applied to office work, too. What appeals to me about this method is that you’re really only focusing on getting up to four things done on any given day. The hardest part may actually be choosing only four things to focus on!
Here’s my interpretation of their four steps.
- Pick three “must do” things for the day. These are the three things you can’t leave the office without accomplishing.
- Add another priority task. This is something that is important but not urgent, and likely is something you’ve been wanting to get to for some time. It should be something in addition to your three “must do” items.
- Routine tasks. This includes checking email, voice mail, filing paperwork and things like that. These tasks will fill in the blanks in your day.
- Leave yourself open time. Give yourself plenty of buffer time to accommodate those urgent things that always seem to pop up.
Pulling it all together is the trick, though, isn’t it? How do you decide when to schedule all of these things? My suggestion is to schedule your top three for as early in the day as possible, with breaks in between, and leave the priority task for later in the day, with your routine tasks falling around the time of day when you always seem to fall into a slump. The routine tasks generally don’t require a lot of brain power, which is ideal for that lower energy time of day.
If you’re like me, and you don’t really know when your low energy time of day is, you might try tackling your routine tasks during breaks between your top three and your priority task for the day.