Useful Tips

How I learned to save my time and realized that there is not 24 hours in a day


Hello! In this article we will talk about work day planning.

Today you will learn:

  1. Why plan your work day,
  2. Who needs it
  3. How to plan a working day.

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.
  • Slow 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”
  • 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 produces 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.

Before I began to manage my time, I tried to find out where it goes, and faced with amnesia

No, I did not click the timer button every time I went into the bathroom or while waiting for the elevator, but I tried to determine how much time the most important things that make up the day take: work, cleaning, cooking, breakfast, lunch, dinner, activities with the child etc.

For example, it took me 3 hours to write a draft of one article that day. To prepare dinner with several dishes - a little less than an hour and a half. But what took 4 hours?

I added up the amount of time it takes for all these things, added an hour to them for daily little things and subtracted them from my day, which usually lasts about 16 hours. For clarity, I made a schedule that should show where the time goes.

Since my work is remote, I can interfere with borsch with one hand, fight with my son with swords with the other, and respond to work messages with my foot. I understand that work in the office takes much more time, but for those who will do the same analysis, I advise you not to paint all 9 working hours in green, but to divide them into separate tasks.

And it was here that a sudden loss of memory overtook me. It turned out that on each day from 3.5 to 5 hours, it was not clear to me what it took. On the first day, I really could not remember what I was doing most of this time. The next I became more attentive to all my actions.

It turned out that some period of this time was spent on important and pleasant little things:

  • chat with family
  • wander around on ukulele
  • review vacation photos,
  • or just close your eyes and relax.

But all this clearly did not take 5 hours, the rest of the time was spent on less useful things:

  • I endlessly put things back in their places
  • I trained my thumb when scrolling through ribbons in social networks,
  • texted about anything
  • stupidly walked around the hypermarket and stood in a long line, etc.

To hang less on social networks, I changed the phone. Goodbye, convenient messengers, long live calls and SMS

I put my smartphone in the closet on the very top shelf, and the button device replaced it, designed for 2 sim cards. In addition to the basic applications, Facebook, Twitter and some kind of Bluetooth chat were preinstalled in it.

As the hand of a smoker continually reaches for a cigarette, so my hand automatically clicked on the menu for the first two applications, trying to enter them. However, the phone each time gave me a “connection error”, not letting me in those applications where my time would be stolen by long threads, useless posts about politics, hundreds of thousands of memes and comments to them.

3. Use the 80/20 rule

It doesn’t matter how much time you have, but it’s important how and what you spend it on. There is a wonderful Pareto principle, which states that 20% of the effort brings 80% of the result, and vice versa 80% of your efforts lead to only 20% of the result. We work effectively no more than 20% of our working day. Therefore, it is important to do the important first, and then do the rest. The Paretto law also works in everyday life: 80% of the things that are in our house or in the car are practically not used (things that we don’t carry, books that we don’t read, dishes that we don’t use, etc.) . Get rid of excess by freeing up space and energy.

4. Disable all distractions

It’s hard not to react when something is nibbling under your ear. Therefore, we turn off: the sound of the phone, any notification from social networks, automatic checking of mail. And in order not to miss something really important, put an answering machine on your phone and e-mail, in which indicate when you can be contacted again.

7. Finish things through.

Many people like to put things off for an indefinite period and not finish what they have begun. The list of such cases tends to accumulate and the burden of unfulfilled and the awareness of how much you still have to do puts pressure on you every day. Если возьмете за привычку не начинать новое дело, пока не закончено старое, это не только будет вас стимулировать побыстрее закончить начатое, но и научит вас не оставлять дела на потом.

9. В первую очередь выполняйте важные дела

Make a table as shown below and write down all your cases, dividing them into 4 groups: Urgent and important affairs, Not urgent, but important, Urgent, but not important, Not urgent and not important affairs. Of course, first of all, do things from the first group, and you can do things from the last group if you have free time.

10. Keep order

A lot of time is saved when you have order in things, on the desktop and in the computer. Each thing should have its own place, documents should be systematized, one cannot leave work until the workplace has an ideal order. 5 minutes to maintain order will save you hours in the end, which can be spent on finding the right document or thing.

12. Focus on what you are doing.

Our mind is so arranged that we think about many things at the same time and as a result, practically do not know how to focus. If you work diligently on one thing without distracting anything, it is much more effective both in terms of time and effort spent than if you do several things, jumping from one to another. Multitasking will not help you become more productive.

13. Get to work right away

Many people, before starting work, begin to clean up papers or on the table, drink coffee, read social pages, and then wonder where the time allotted for work has gone! If you know what to do, immediately get down to work, and if you manage quickly, you can drink coffee as a bonus and look into social networks.

14. Use time without a trace

We waste a lot of time, but it could be used to good use. For example, during a trip to work, you can listen to an audio book, during breakfast - make a plan for the day, and while standing in line, make a shopping list or browse records, crossing out what has been done and adding new tasks for the evening or this week.

16. Change classes

The body never gets tired completely, usually only some muscle groups get tired at the same time. Changing classes will help to cope with this. For example, if you worked sitting for several hours in a row, switch to the work where you can do something while standing or in motion. And vice versa. Practice this method for at least a week and you will see how much more your body can withstand.

17. Get started early

It is noticed that if you come to work half an hour earlier, you can catch a lot more. If you organize your day correctly, you can go to bed with the children, i.e. no later than 10 pm, and get up at 5 in the morning. For 2 hours in the morning, before the children get up, you can do much more than in the evening from 22 to 24, when you are tired at the end of the day.

19. Set the day mode

We will do much more if we do everything on time and at the appointed time. The daily routine will allow your body to work like a clock. To do this, carefully plan your day, including meals and sleep. You will fall asleep much faster and easier to wake up if it will be at the same time, even on weekends. If you eat at a strictly set time, it will also have a beneficial effect on your digestion and overall well-being. If you leave work at the same time, this will not give you a reason not to finish the work.

22. Get on an informational diet

Nowadays, we are always subject to information attacks, our brain practically does not rest: news on TV, gossip of colleagues, working moments, home conversations, etc. As a result, we feel that our head is swollen from an overabundance of information, we become more distracted and inhibited. Tim Ferris, author of the “4 Hour Workweek,” invites us to go on a “low-content” diet.

23. Optimize performance

Think about what takes you a lot of time. For example, cooking. Now there are crock-pots that will perfectly cope with the preparation of food without your participation. Or take a purchase. Learn to order and buy things online. So you save a lot of time, effort and money. Buying products online, you, firstly, do not buy anything superfluous, but only what is on your list, and secondly, you will not spend time going to the supermarket, standing in line, and thirdly, all of you brought into the house, why do you need to strain again.

24. Only three tasks a day

Want to do more? Eat a frog for breakfast - as Western time management experts say. To eat a frog means to do something not very pleasant, but very important in the morning. When this is done, the rest of the tasks will seem trifling compared to the morning. Plan three important things for today, the first of which will be the “frog”. Having completed three important tasks, the rest of the affairs as far as possible. Thus, every day you will be effective, because at least three things have been done!