Useful Tips

Effective planning and organization of the working day: methods, rules and why it is important


Remember your biggest failures in life. Quarrels, misunderstandings that have changed your whole life in the negative direction. Failed exams, job interviews, etc. The reasons for such failures are similar, as a rule, they are the result of poor preparation and thoughtless actions, below we will look at how to manage everything and plan the day / week.

What will happen if an athlete stops training a month before the Olympics - skills and muscle strength will weaken significantly and he will take one of the last places. As in sports, in any business you need good preparation, without which the chances of success are greatly reduced.

A key factor in preparation is planning. There is "Rule 6 P": Properly undertaken planning prevents a drop in productivity.

Below I will give 7 ways to keep up with proper planning of the day, week.

What is the task list for?

To begin with, we will analyze how our brain works. It was found that we can keep in our heads under control no more than 7 + -2 cases or important thoughts. To make sure of this, count how many circles are shown in the pictures:

Fig. oneFig. 2Fig. 3

Fig. fourFig. 5

Most likely, in order to determine the number of objects in figures 1, 3 and 4, one glance is enough.

And for figures 2 and 5, one glance was not enough, it was necessary to consider separately. The fewer objects, the easier it is to manage them. The limit in the brain comes when the amount becomes more than 7 + -2.

The situation is also with thoughts, at the same time in our head we can store no more than 7 + -2 tasks, the rest is forgotten.

Work day planning

In the 21st century, the rhythm of life has noticeably accelerated and continues to gain momentum. If earlier, in order to be successful, it was necessary to carry out one amount of work, but now to achieve success, much more needs to be done. And people are starting to run into a lack of time. If you pursue all the everyday tasks that life throws us every day, there is absolutely no time left.

Working day planning is a tool that helps not only to efficiently use working time, but also to reduce it. This is not a banal to-do list that must be completed in strict order. Planning is the ability to choose what needs to be done, why and when.

That is why competent planning not only structures everything that you do in a day, but also frees up your time. First of all, you need to perform the most important things - this is the main rule of time management. It is useful for each person who has free time at work and does not have a clear schedule to distribute his time correctly.

What does planning include?

Work time planning includes:

  • Prioritization
  • The selection of important tasks.
  • Search for the best ways to solve them.
  • Search for employment in your free time.

Prioritization helps you understand what needs attention, what can be resolved on its own, and which issue you just need to ignore. Time and information have become much more valuable than before, and to get angry at what does not produce a result is a pointless thing.

Choice of important tasks - Almost the same as setting priorities, only within the framework of one working day. You choose what will bring important results, what needs to be done urgently, and what can be postponed.

Finding the best ways to solve problems - a very important point. When planning, you must consider not only what you will do, but also how it is best to do it. It is important not only to save time, but to do everything as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Work with free time should also be included in the work plan. Are you free 2 hours a day that you can spend on something? You can say this to the boss, and he will load you with work, you can do self-education, or you can make efforts to develop your own project.

Why is it important to plan a working day

Everyone who has ever encountered freelance, business, or “voluntary work” (like a taxi) understands the importance of arranging things during the day. But, for example, most office workers do not consider it necessary to plan their work day.

In fact, the main reason for planning your work day is to increase your own efficiency. If you listen to your own body, you can understand that some things are given to you better at one time, and some - at another. For example, it’s more convenient for you to make calls to other companies after lunch, as you’ve already woken up but haven’t got tired yet, and monotonous work is faster in the evening, so it’s better to postpone the information into the database until 5-6 hours.

Working day planning takes into account not only the basic elements of problem solving, but also the personal preferences of each person. Time management was not done in order to impose on everyone the same template of high-performance work. You must adapt your tasks to the characteristics of your body.

Organizing and planning your work day allows you to do more in less time, leaving time for what you like.

Who should plan their work day

Everyone should be able to plan their work day. So you can save time and work more efficiently. But there are 3 categories of people who are simply required to engage in personal planning.

Freelancers. The most undisciplined employee is a freelancer. He does not have a clear schedule, but only the deadline reminds that it is time to sit down to do something. That is why it is very important for freelancers who work with several clients to plan their work day. It often turns out that new orders appear with a difference of one to two days, and if you pull to the last, you may not have time to work on two projects.

Businessmen. Everything here is almost the same as in freelance. Especially if it's a business online. On the one hand, you can relax at home when your employees work, but on the other, this approach will inevitably be a failure. In the West, among businessmen, the cult of workaholism thrives. They believe that if you do not work 60 hours a week, then you are lazy and you have nothing to do in business.

Executives. A leader will not always be a businessman. The owner of the company may not take an active part in the affairs of his company, but its director assumes responsibility for the operation of the whole mechanism. That is why the leaders of medium and large companies should use their time effectively, because the future of the company in the long term depends on their decisions. Planning a leader’s working day is the way to most effectively distribute your time between strategically important tasks.

Working day planning methods

There can be many methods for the proper planning of a working day. But one of the most effective is Eisenhower matrix. Its essence is as follows.

There are 4 squares:

  1. Square A - Urgent and important matters.
  2. Square B - non-urgent and important matters.
  3. Square C - urgent and unimportant matters.
  4. Square D - non-urgent and unimportant matters.

Square A almost always should remain empty. With proper planning, all important matters should settle in box B and be executed as they approach A.

Square B - These are important things to help you achieve your goal. This includes all the tasks that need to be completed within 1 business day.

Square C means urgent and unimportant matters that need to be transferred to other persons for execution. A vivid example of urgent, but unimportant matters is to call a potential client. An employee can do this, you better focus on other things.

Square D means that there are non-urgent and unimportant things that do not bring you closer to the goal, do not give positive emotions and, in principle, are not needed. This square is worth writing down all useless ideas.

Such a separation of cases by their importance and urgency allows you to understand what you need to pay attention to during the working day, and what you can safely forget about. The matrix helps not only in work processes, but also in everyday life. If you want to learn English, it is interesting to you and will help you in your career - this is square B. But if you want to learn Spanish just to know it - this is D, and you can safely forget about it.

Rules for planning working hours

There are several rules for how to effectively manage your work day. For convenience, we divide the day into 3 parts:

  • The begining of the work day.
  • The main workflow.
  • Completion.

Morning is the most important stage. Depending on how much you slept, how you got up and what you did, your mood, psychological attitude and performance will depend.

The principles of a “correct” morning include the following:

  • Positive attitude. If you wake up every day with the thought that you hate your job, productivity will decline. Try to start the morning with pleasant thoughts.
  • Try not to “swing”. Have you noticed that after you get up in the morning, you need another 30 - 40 minutes to finally come to your senses? This is a time that is not worth wasting. Immediately after waking up, take a shower, make coffee and instead of half an hour “nowhere”, you can have breakfast in peace.
  • Unhurried breakfast and way to work. Starting a day without haste is very important. When you are in a hurry, the body spends extra strength and nerves that could go to a more productive job. If you can not afford a hearty breakfast and a leisurely trip - go to bed later and get up earlier.
  • Key tasks Most successful businessmen tend to argue that the most important tasks need to be addressed in the morning. As the saying goes, "If you want to be in time, eat a frog for breakfast." The role of the frog is a matter for which you do not want to undertake at all. Do it in the morning, and the positive attitude that the “frog is eaten” will remain for the whole day.

The main workflow consists of the following tasks:

  • Solve urgent tasks. It is important to understand that if some urgent business has fallen on you during the working day, you do not need to turn all your attention exclusively to it. First you need to understand whether it is important or not. If important, then you need to immediately proceed to it. If not, transfer responsibility for its implementation to another person.
  • Follow the deadlines. Every day you should set yourself approximate dates for which you must cope with the entire volume of tasks. It’s important that this wasn’t “Do it all until 6 p.m.”, but “At 14:00 - start making a plan, at 15:00 - analyze the indicators, at 16:00 - draw up a report”, etc.
  • Workplace order. This is an implicit but very important point. If there is a mess on your table, your eyes will constantly be lost among it. And if there is some extraneous document at the workplace, you can start to study it and simply lose 20 - 30 minutes.
  • Do not follow the impulses. It's the most important. There are some triggers that make you switch your attention from work to something less important. Call a friend when you analyze a sales plan? It’s better not to do this, then you will lose concentration and you can easily lose your working mood.
  • Group a routine. It is very important. If you need to make 60 phone calls during the day, it is better to break them into several small groups, 10 to 15 at a time. After you called, you can perform another task. By constantly switching from routine to vigorous activity, you can do much more.

The completion of the working day is based on the following principles:

  • Finish the necessary. There is a group of cases that are included in the “important, but not urgent” square. It’s best to finish them during the working day, and keep the “important and urgent” square always empty.
  • Check the results with the plan. All that you have done in a day, you need to compare with your plan. If you have just started planning your work day, then small deviations from the plan will be in the order of things. Try to keep as few as possible.
  • Make a plan the next day. This is best done at the end of the previous working day. So you keep the working spirit and, but it is important to draw up a real work program.

If you are a leader, you should work closely with your secretary during the working day.

Remember that these are general tips. They do not take into account your individual characteristics. If it is more convenient for you to do urgent work during the day, and not in the morning - this is your right. If you prefer to do the big and difficult thing last, and this does not affect your mood in one day - make it the last.

Work day planning should be individual.

Key mistakes in planning a working day

Despite the fact that the practice of time management is firmly settled in our lives, most people make typical mistakes when they plan their work day. Here are a few of them.

Mistake 1. Incorrect prioritization.

The Eisenhower Matrix tells us that we must do important things. But many people can easily confuse what matters to them. Square A, which should remain empty, and responsible for urgent and important matters, they are often confused with C, where unimportant matters have accumulated that require immediate intervention.

It is important to remember that you should spend your energy exclusively on what is important to you at a given time. Work for the future should be when things can be postponed and properly planned.

Mistake 2. Too much time is spent on trifles.

In order to explain why, first of all, you need to make a “base”, and only then the little things, we will use the Pareto Law. It says that 20% of the effort gives 80% of the result. That is, when you work on something important, you spend 20% of the effort and achieve 80% of the result. When you work on small things, you get a result 4 times less, and spend 4 times more energy.

Consider a small example. You need to run an advertising campaign. If you create 10 creatives, select keywords and phrases for them, and run them on prepared sites, this will be 20% of the work, which will give 80% of the result. But if you take the time to edit fonts and images, select and refine phrases, search for additional platforms for advertising, then spend a lot more effort. All this will need to be done, but after the start of the advertising campaign, when you reach the first result.

Mistake 3. Lack of time for personal affairs.

Each person should have a personal life and freedom of choice of occupation. If you have a lot to do, and you do not find one - two hours to go in for your hobby, then this is poor planning of your own day. Planning your work time is important not only because it allows you to do more. It gives you the opportunity to do things without haste that you like.

How to learn to plan your day?

Very simple: starting to plan it!

Finding the best option for forming your own day is rarely possible for anyone immediately. Why?

  1. Each type of personality and character traits require a special approach. The system of blocks works better with visuals, digital - they like time-based accuracy, and audials often choose timers.
  2. Any habit takes time to introduce. Therefore, there are kickbacks in planning, and the rejection of daily lists, and new returns, and the search for solutions.
  3. The benefits of plans are not immediately felt. First comes the understanding of how to plan your day, and only then the effect of the work done is realized.
  4. Symbiotic options are suitable for someone, when on the basis of many schemes a unique “personal” is created, most of all corresponding to the needs and goals of a person.

For incentive and as a systematic experience, I propose to see how successful people plan their day - on the example of A. Parabellum. I’m not sure that this is his permanent option, but he talked about such a scheme at one meeting of the “business cafe” format.

Planning from Parabellum: Flowchart and Origami

For myself, I called the origins of the plan of the leading coach of our country “origami”. Do he have any official name - they can’t say. Therefore, let it remain “origami”: clearly, clearly and reflects the essence of the method.

Parabellum most often talks about two planning techniques:

  • blocks - focal, buffer, communicative and for relaxation,
  • Origami is a compact daily plan for business people.

Block diagram for planning

In this method there is no minute-by-minute control over affairs, but there is a list of cases in the “body” of each time period.

In total, it is recommended to use 4 blocks that combine the same and similar things!

Buffer - work or home routine. Those tasks that appear on the to-do lists all the time and, in fact, form the whole day. It is impossible to allow “victories” of buffer blocks over the rest, therefore it is important to limit them: time and volume of affairs.

One block no more than 3-4 hours, occupancy rate of each - up to 60% of the temporary volume.

  • Having clear timelines for execution.
  • The most important tasks by any criterion.
  • Emotionally difficult things.
  • Small questions.

Focus Blocks - Development and Strategy. These are the most important parts of the plan, as it is they that move us forward. They can not and should not be many - enough 2-3 per week. Ставить фокусные дела нужно только между буферными, чтобы уже была сосредоточенность на работе, структурное мышление и ориентированность на решение задач.

Важный нюанс – полная отдача поставленному делу. Without distractions and external influences.

Ideally, spend this time alone with yourself - with messengers turned off, without a phone and even without the Internet. In an environment of isolated brainstorming, the best ideas are born.

Communicative block - all types of communication. These are calls, letters, meetings, meetings - all the small tasks that distract us if you do not combine them into one unit.

For communications, it is best to take time in the morning and evening - this is the most productive. How much to allocate? It is difficult to say, since it depends on the intensity and quality of communication - from half an hour to a half.

Advice for freelancers who need instant messengers. I advise you to put the communication unit in short half-hour intervals - about 3-4 per day. This is enough to solve even urgent issues.

Rest or slowdown - 4 block. Now it has become fashionable to use the word "slowdown." It implies that we "rush-rush", "think-think", "decide-decide", and then once and off the race.

Planning time for rest is important and necessary, therefore, it is impossible to exclude these blocks from the weekly plan.

How to plan your day - an example of a block diagram of a standard office work day:

Origami Plan by A. Parabellum

Perhaps someone else is using such a scheme. But I met her once and only at the training of Andrei Parabellum. For me, this is a real life hack from the series “Tips from successful people: how to plan your day.”

  1. A sheet of A4 paper of the most ordinary office paper is taken. We doubled it in half. We get natural blocks in one fourth - the A6 format.
  2. We give each block its own to-do list. The choice is slightly different than in the previous scheme, since there are more sections for to-do lists.

It is convenient to use the “call”, “write”, “buy”, “read”, “rest” lists, as well as the standard block diagram format. It turns out a block diagram with decryption and additional things for the unexpectedly freed up time

  1. We carry out things according to the block diagram and additional ones from the list.

Example: did the buffer block end half an hour earlier than planned? We look at lists of additional cases. We choose the optimal task for the current moment. Ideally significant according to the Eisenhower matrix. We do it. At the right time, go to the next block according to plan.

Here are two options so far. They will help you understand how to start planning your day. Where to start. But there are many options for drawing up your own daily routine. I will sort them all out gradually.

Imagine a situation from life

You get up in the morning and go to work, on the way you remember that:

When did you come to work:

The head is already full, but time does not stop, a client, a close person, a colleague can call you, an unforeseen situation may happen, etc. What happens in this case? We forget something. If we forget to buy food in the store, then of course nothing bad will happen, but you can forget the more important thing: Do not come to an important meeting, take medicine, etc.

Moreover, the more things we have in our head, the worse our analytical abilities become, because energy is spent on remembering information.

Notebook Benefits

Notebook - removes all the problems described above and has the following advantages compared to working from memory:

1) Writing is always faster than remembering. For example, burning a cell phone is 10-100 times faster than remembering. Also with business.

2) Energy saving. In order not to forget the important, we often recall that energy is wasted on it. Notebook removes this problem.

3) Reliability. What is written with a pen cannot be cut down with an ax. Any business can be forgotten, against the background of fatigue, emotions or other things. But if you write down the tasks, then forgetting is much more difficult.

You can keep a list of tasks on a regular sheet, notepad, but it is better if it is a notebook, because it has a calendar. The list of tasks for the day can be on a computer or paper. The most important thing is that you have it because it is the basis for planning, like the foundation at home. If the house does not have a foundation, then the maximum that can be built is a small one-story structure without heating from plastic or plywood. Also, in planning without a list of tasks for the day or notebook, of course, you can do, but you will be very limited in possibilities.

The most important thing in the task list or in the notebook is the list of tasks that need to be done during the day. The 2nd most important part is the calendar, in it you can see the tasks that need to be completed on a given day. Therefore, a notebook is preferable to a regular list, because there is a calendar.

2 way: Work with the task list every day

The most important thing when working with a time organizer or notebook is to work in accordance with a previously drawn up plan. To do this, regularly look at your notebook to find out if you have done everything that you planned for today. You can view the list after completing the current case. It is very important to add important matters to your organizer that you must do today.

Method 3: First write, then do

If a new task arrives and it is not urgent, then first write it in the notebook and proceed only when it comes to it. Any new tasks seem very important and we begin to take on everything: check mail, make phone calls, etc. But as soon as you begin to write down all incoming cases in your notebook, you will find that there are more important tasks.

All movements of the right side of the body are controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain, which is responsible for logic. When we write down a new task with our right hand, we activate the left hemisphere of our brain, which is responsible for logic. Enabling logic when recording with the right hand will help us make better decisions.

Writing all the things in the notebook before you start work, you can perform the most important tasks during the day and be able to withstand the secondary tasks that constantly distract you.

4 way. First important, then urgent tasks

All planned affairs should be carried out in the order of their importance, and then by execution time. Starting from the most important and gradually moving to the less significant. Write things down in your plan for today in order of importance, then sort by urgency and start working with the highest priority.

For example, a friend called you to chat. A phone call, an urgent matter, because the phone is ringing right now, but it may not be important. If you have more significant tasks, for example, to prepare a report on the work, it is better to first do all the more important tasks, in particular the report, and then, if you have time, call back and talk with a friend. But not vice versa, otherwise, due to an insignificant call, you may not have time to do a more important thing.

Importance prioritizes urgency. Urgent affairs should be taken only if you are in control of the situation and are confident that you will be in time more and more important.

5 way: Electronic organizer

There are a huge number of electronic notebooks. The electronic diary has undeniable advantages over paper:

A. Saving time. On an electronic diary, you don’t need to rewrite tasks from the last day to the current one, and you can also work with it on a computer or on a phone or tablet, synchronizing data on all devices.

B. Volumes and speed: In an electronic diary, you can very quickly copy a large amount of information for further work. For example: You want to bake a banana pie in the evening and you need to write down the necessary ingredients in advance before you go to the store. If you have an electronic organizer, then you can quickly copy the entire recipe from the Internet to the diary, in literally a matter of seconds. At the same time, to write down only ingredients by hand on a piece of paper, you will need more time than the entire recipe in electronic form. And in the store it will be enough to include a diary on the phone to quickly understand what to buy.

B. Convenience. It is inconvenient to use an ordinary notebook in transport, a store, on vacation, in these places it is difficult to write down and watch notes because the paper diary is large and you need 2 hands to open it. But the electronic notebook on the phone will always be with you, wherever you are: Transport, shop, street. You can quickly record on your computer and then sync so that these notes appear on your phone in seconds.

Among electronic organizers, I recommend to everyone evernote with free synchronization with a computer or our more advanced Russian analogue of leadertask, but synchronization is paid for it.

6 way: Plan the next day in the evening

Make an action plan the next day in advance, the best time is the end of the working day before you go home. This simple action will help you sleep better, because often the cause of insomnia is that in the evening we go over the memory of all the important things that we need to do tomorrow to not forget them in the morning. And it is precisely these thoughts that prevent us from relaxing and falling asleep calmly, but if you write down all your plans, you will ensure not only a calm sleep, but also the evening.

In addition, when you make a plan in advance, your subconscious mind will constantly work all night on how best to do what is planned. Solving complex problems can itself come to you at breakfast, on the way to work or even in the middle of the night. It is in the morning that most often new ideas come and you will use this time to the maximum benefit, you just need to write a to-do list the next day in advance.

By the way, if you have questions that you want to get an answer to, then before you fall asleep and close your eyes ask them to yourself, preferably aloud and fall asleep right away. And in the morning get ready to immediately write down all the thoughts that may appear at the moment when you wake up or later.

Method 7: Plan complex tasks to peak your activity

Make a plan for the day so that work requiring large energy costs falls at the peak of your activity, when you have a lot of strength and you are as productive as possible. As a rule, the peak of activity begins in the morning, because after sleep you have a lot of strength and a fresh head, but it happens that the peak of activity can occur in the daytime and even evening hours.

The most energy-intensive occupations are things for which there is no talent. As a rule, these are those classes that you don't want to do the most. In time management, these things are called frogs, because it’s unpleasant to start these tasks. There is a rule in time management - start the day with a frog, i.e. from an unpleasant business. This rule will allow you to work more efficiently, because usually in the morning the most forces are needed, and these forces are extremely important to do the most unpleasant work.

Let me give you an example from my life, I have a technical mentality, therefore, exact sciences such as: Physics and mathematics are easy for me, but with humanitarian subjects it’s harder, therefore, when I was at school, I often prepared for a control in English in the morning. I got up 1-2 hours before school and learned English. It was in the morning that I had the most energy, so at that time it was easier for me to do the difficult task, to which I had the least talent. The results of the preparation exceeded all my expectations, I got excellent or good in a subject that I did not like.

Plan the most unpleasant tasks at the peak of activity, for example, in the morning and you will see how you will do more and your personal effectiveness will increase.