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10-12 minutes invested in planning your day will save at least 2 hours of wasted time and effort throughout the day – from “Eat the Frog” by Brian Tracy. 

As a previous Franklin/Covey time management facilitator, a factoid I often share with the players I have coached is that taking 10-15 minutes uninterrupted time to plan your day contributes to increasing your productivity by 20%. 

Even with those facts, many still resist.  Players I have coached realize after a few discovery questions that a contributor to not getting from where they are to where they want to be is a lack of planning their day.  I have heard the following reasons for not experimenting with making such a shift:

  • I don’t have time to plan
  • I have the type of job where it is impossible to plan
  • I love my freedom
  • I tried it doesn’t work
  • I’ve never been organized it just not me
  • I put all my appointments on a calendar isn’t that enough
  • I keep it all up in my head
  • I don’t like to plan
THE TRUTH:   IF YOU DON’T PLAN YOUR DAY SOMEONE WILL PLAN IT FOR YOU

The players I have coached that experiment and make the shift to planning their day report significant results.  Planning your day is only part of the process for managing your day.  You have to find what works for you.

DR. SUESS DISCOVERY STYLE QUESTIONS

Could you, would you Plan the Night Before? If you don’t have time to plan the morning of, then have you experimented with planning the night before?  This technique is especially powerful for those who have kids, elderly parents they’re caring for or a busy life.  Those that get distracted by early morning stimuli either at home or work and even those that aren’t early risers have found this a great time. 

Could you, would you Plan When You Get Up in The Morning? Before the day starts, before others are up, and before you begin your day’s activities, early morning is highly researched as the best time to plan one’s day.  My routine is to get up, eat breakfast, plan my day, shower, walk the dog, and then when back ready to tackle the day.   I am an early riser-up at 4:30.  There is evidence that states if your not a morning person don’t try to force yourself to be one.  Shifting your sleep pattern does not necessarily result in better performance if it is not part of your natural rhythm.

Could you, would you Plan Before You Leave Work?  The majority of people tend to be less productive in the last 20 minutes of their day and start counting down the minutes and even the seconds.  Ending the day buried in work can contribute to “I am buried” mindset at the start of the next day.   What are the benefits of taking the last 10-15 minutes of your workday to review and closeout what you accomplished and plan for tomorrow?   May create a less stressful evening, reduce time waking up in the middle of the night, and start the new day with a plan.

Would you plan your day if you could Plan Anywhere?  If your excuse is that you can’t find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted, then shift your mindset. In your vehicle before you walk into work. The lobby of your office. On the bus, on the train, on your morning walk or even in the shower.  I do some of my best planning when I am walking my dog early in the morning.  When I return, I take my planner and list my tasks on my prioritized daily task list.   Get it out of your head.

Could you, would you shift your mindset to Some Plan is Better than No Plan?  Unconsciously or consciously, we often avoid planning because we are worried that it won’t be good enough. Or that a perfect plan will take too long. A set time of 10-15 or 10-20 minutes to plan your day is there to shift the mindset that planning your day has to be time-consuming.  Plus, having a time limit pushes us to get it done in that time frame and not overthink.  Another belief people have is that you can’t add things after your daily planning ritual.  Not true. Remember to balance your time (appointments with others/self) and tasks. 

Let me explain if you have 4 hours of meetings and plan on working an 8 hour day you have 4 hours to focus on tasks.  An old rule of thumb I learned in facilitating workshops on managing your day was to anticipate that 50% of your day might have unforeseen emergencies.  It helps you not over plan your day, and if that 50% does not show up, then you can always add more tasks.

Could you, would you Plan Your Day if I told you Planning Saves Time? Each day we are all allocated the same amount of seconds (86,400), minutes (1440), and hours (24).  We can not save time, give time away, loan it, or borrow it.  We can waste it!  So when you say I don’t have the time to plan–I call Bull S_ _T!   The shift to planning one’s day has really to do with what we value not about time. 

Planning actually “saves time” in your day so you can spend even more of your allocated time to the things you value in life. As mentioned above, at the start of this post a few minutes planning before you begin, can save you hours of wasted time throughout your day.  It can reduce stress and increase efficiency. 

Could you, would you Plan Your Day if I told you Lack of Planning on Your Part impacts Others?  Many want to say, “Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part.” The truth is, many people have a tough time telling people how one’s lack of planning impacts them.  

THE EXPERIMENT

Start today.  Spend a little time every day planning your day.  You will see a difference in many areas of your life, both work and personal.  What if you added this to your big game?  What shifts are possible?  Let’s Discover what is possible.

Meet The Blogger

Hi, I’m Jane Weddle
a Business & Life Coach

Jane has a master’s degree in organizational development and a background in human performance & business and has 30+ years of coaching and consulting in a variety of industries.

She also holds many coach-specific certifications and is a lifelong learner with a few other certifications in her related field.

Her passion helping small business owners, solopreneurs, leaders, and executives who are ready to tap into their true potential from the inside out!

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