Are you familiar with the paralysing feeling of an overfull to-do list? A clogged agenda, mixed-up priorities, and not being able to see the forest for the trees. A relatable experience for many people. Both at work and at home we are overwhelmed by tasks. There is something to do, always and everywhere. Many people are discouraged by their overfull agenda and their endless to-do list. Those who feel like they have no grip on their tasks become stressed, tired, or frustrated.
So, what do we do? We make plans, schedules, and lists. Which we then fail to accomplish. But did you know that the cause of not sticking to a schedule is often the schedule itself?
A GOOD SCHEDULE MEETS FOUR KEY CONDITIONS
First of all, a good schedule is a realistic schedule. That means that it is feasible. Very often, people tend to underestimate how much time they need to complete a task. It is a common phenomenon that has been given the name 'planning fallacy' by researchers Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky.
We are often way too optimistic about the time we need to finish work. That is why it helps to split up your planning and indicate how much time you will spend on each part. This way, you get a better overview of the time that is needed. Don't count two hours to write a blog post. Instead, count thirty minutes for the concept, twenty min to determine the tone of voice, one hour to write, thirty minutes for adjustments, and 20 minutes to post on social media with a nice picture. Maybe afterwards you will even have room for a 20 minutes coffee break. A quick calculation brings us to 3 hours, which is certainly more realistic.
Secondly, a good schedule is always concrete. Make your tasks as specific as possible. When is the deadline for your post? When is the first version due? Does the blog post have to go to a customer for approval? Try to make sure that there will be no surprises. Draw up a retrospective schedule in which you count backwards from the deadline. Your planning will be much more feasible and manageable.
Thirdly, a good planning gives you an overview of your priorities: We often get lost in the bigger picture. And we cannot work on everything at the same time. Then the question arises: "What is my priority?" It is important that your client first approves the concept and tone of voice of the blog post. That is perhaps the most important task today. Important: make sure that the number of priorities in one day remains manageable. Take into account point 1 from your overview and think about what is realistic. You have to write your post, but your daughter also has ballet lessons, and your son wants to go to art school. Divide your working time between the day's priorities. Redopapers sells daily planners with three lines so you can write down three top priorities per day.
Last but not least, a good planning is something personal. There are as many planning preferences as there are people. Are you someone who likes to work with a tickable to-the-point to-do list? Or are you more in need of an overview, split up per week or month? There is no perfect planning tool or a specific way you should follow. You can find out for yourself what works for you. After all, planning is not a straightjacket but a way of structuring your range of tasks as best as possible for yourself. Get to work, test, try and find out what is easiest for you. Keep the above conditions in mind. Redopapers has planning tools for everyone. We bet you will feel a lot more encouraged to finish your duties straight away.
Reading tip: 'Grip: the secret of smart working.' By Rick Pastoor.