Choosing your planning tool
Now that you've decided on the productivity approach, it's time to pick your tools:
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Many of us start our mornings with dozens of things we need to get done, but later realize that we haven't crossed any of them off our lists. We did get stuff done, but none of the things we planned.
A balm against hectic days that pass without progress is to choose a single activity to prioritize and protect in your calendar. If you struggle to select your top priority, ask yourself, when you look back on your day, what do you want the highlight to be? That's your priority.
The Eisenhower Matrix productivity method lets you consider the urgency and importance of each task. This method breaks tasks into four quadrants and prescribes how we should deal with tasks in each block.
To start, create your regular to-do list, then sort them into the four categories. Once completed, act on your to-do list accordingly: do, schedule, delegate, and delete tasks from your to-do list.
This method is best for people who enjoy working in short, focused sprints with frequent breaks. It forces you to consider how long your work will take.
With the Time Blocking method, split your day into distinct blocks of time. Then, dedicate each block of time to completing only a specific task or set of tasks.
Ensure to include blocks for things like lunch, breaks, and commutes for the most accuracy. If a task takes less or more time, make modifications to your list to gain a better understanding of how long tasks take.
Some mornings we feel motivated to create a to-do list, but that is often the exception. We need to get things done, even when we feel disengaged.
Start by setting the alarm for your daily planning session at the same time every day. Tack your new daily planning session onto an existing habit like drinking your morning coffee.
'Eat the Frog' is an excellent productivity method for putting your highlight into action early.
It is often the task we most want to avoid (therefore, eating the frog). It could be a task that feels too big or makes us uncomfortable. During your planning session, put your "frog" at the top of your to-do list and assign a time. Then add your other tasks below.
Make time for a weekly review to consider whether your planning process is working or could be tweaked. Consider these questions:
Time commitment to get started: Low
Type: Visual, Tactile
Perfect for people who: Have a tendency to start a lot of projects but finish very few of them.
What it does: Helps you visualize progress on all of your projects.
Using whatever medium you prefer (sticky notes or a whiteboard work well), split your projects into three categories: To Do, Doing, and Done. That’s it.
We usually give priority to unimportant tasks when there is a sense of urgency around them.
We’re actually psychologically wired to put aside important tasks in favor of tasks that feel more urgent. But spending our time taking care of urgent tasks can leave us feeling exhausted and unaccomplished.
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