Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” For some, this idea feels restrictive. For others, it feels more secure. Regardless of where you fall on the matter, learning how to organize your day for efficiency and flexibility is important.
When you’re learning how to organize your day, it looks less like a checklist and more like a best practices list for you to choose from based on your own personality and work/life demands. What works for you may not work for someone else and vice versa. Here are some options to consider.
Set a morning routine
How you start your day impacts the productivity, efficiency, and mood of the day to come. If you are hurried, frazzled, and running behind, it’s hard to be at your best. If, on the other hand, you can move about your morning at a more relaxed pace, the day ahead is likely to yield better results and a better you. Some best practices for your morning routine including waking at the same time daily (without snoozing!), eating breakfast, enjoying a shower, and getting in a workout or some stretching.
Schedule in blocks
As you begin to consider how to organize your day in a way that’s best for you, think about chunking your day into blocks. Much like a school day, do certain tasks for a period of time before moving on to the next one. Having a “time limit” on where you focus our time can help you tackle the things you don’t like more easily when you know it’s going to end! It also puts a cap on the things you do like so you don’t get lost in the flow of something you enjoy at the expense of other things that need to get done.
Schedule by category
While similar to scheduling in blocks, this option offers more flexibility than the “school day” block structure. This option still revolves around blocks of time, but rather than being filled with specific tasks it includes general categories. For example, “The Davinci Schedule” includes time for deep work, admin work, fitness, meetings, networking/meetups, and play. These categories become the “to-do’s” and allow for broad choice within the categories. Knowing when you do your best thinking, focusing, and socializing are important so that you can be most productive with this kind of schedule.
Tackle the Big 3
When you sit down to work, make a quick list of your to-do’s for the day. Identify the 3 most important tasks in your day and do those things first. Make it a priority to get through those three items before you do anything else. You can also consider making this list at the end of one day so you know where to start the next day. Tackling the hard, or “big” things first often leads to a greater sense of accomplishment and productivity for many.
There is no one-size-fits all plan when it comes to how to organize your day. Instead, your personality, daily goals, and work demands will dictate what your day looks like. As you read through the list above, choose one that feels most like you and try it out in the week to come!