Planning turns abstract goals into concrete work.
For most people, the challenge is making sure we get the big-picture projects done, those that make work fulfilling. And it's hard to achieve them without breaking them into a coherent set of concrete actions you can take on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
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When you take notes, you need to filter external information, summarize it in your head, and then write it down.
Your brain decides which pieces of information to hang onto for later, partly as a result of how much work you do to them upfront–so the more you mentally manipulate a piece of information, the better you’ll remember it.
Once you write down the tasks you need to perform, you then have to clear space in your day to put some of those tasks onto your calendar.
This calendar maintenance is itself a useful exercise for fighting the tide of interruptions you’re always facing. It pulls your brain out of a reactive mode and forces you to think about the long term.
Some tasks really pay off in the long term, and others just keep you busy and in the long run, don’t matter at all.
Focus on those big tasks, that will make a name for you, that will generate long-term income, that will give you lasting satisfaction and happiness.
If you have an upcoming meeting or an important phone call, create a list of things you want to discuss, so you don’t risk forgetting something.
Keep this list handy on your desk, so when things pop in your mind you can jot them down.