This is a trick question – do I plan by time or task?….the answer – plan by time AND task!!
Please don’t panic, I am not going to overwhelm you with some new crazy planning style that requires two hours and three pages of a notebook per day. This way to plan might just revolutionise your productivity. I know that’s a grand claim, but I really believe this way to plan is the best thing since sliced bread.
We all have the same amount of time: twenty four hours per day. We all have the choice about how that time will be used. Just as we are encouraged to spend money that is within budget, I think we should really be mindful of our time and use our time budget wisely. But, on the other side of the coin, there are always those thoughts that come into our head, like…oh I must get around to unsubscribing from useless emails!! There are tasks that come into our mind that we really do want to do. But the idea of micro-planning every minute of our day….who wants that?
So…what can we do to harmonise these two very different types of planning?
First of all, get an app on your phone that allows you to brain dump all those tasks that come into your head!
Next, each week spend a little bit of time (and I mean a LITTLE bit) putting together a master plan for your week. You will need just two sections, a time master plan and a task master plan.
TIME MASTER PLAN
For your time master plan, the first step is to decide what categories of time are really important for you. Categories could be…work, time with family, housework, self-care, socialising, volunteering…etc. What is it that you want to spend your time doing, what are your priorities? The next step is to decide what your time goals are for those important activities. For example, a week might look like this for a part time, self-employed person: work – 20 hours, volunteering – 10 hours, self-care – 10 hours, housework – 5 hours. Or, for another example, a full time worker, who wants to just plan his work time, might plan it like this: meetings – 10 hours, emails and admin – 8 hours, project work – 20 hours, developing new skill – 2 hours.
Hopefully, you can see that setting your time goals down on paper will make your time usage much more intentional. It’s not micro-planning, or hour by hour scheduling…it’s just noting…this is how I want to use my time this week! I can honestly say, that, using this time plan method has enabled me personally to achieve so much growth in areas like self-care, which, without this plan could so easily get left off a to-do list.
TASK MASTER PLAN
For your task master plan, you can get as detailed as you want. But basically, it’s the same principle as the time plan, you decide what your task goals are for the week. They might include tasks from the time categories, but they also might include other tasks too. I suggest you add tasks that you do every week, but also take a look at that brain dump and add a couple of those items too. So, an example task list might be: *nature walk *clean kitchen appliances *organise art collab *ring home *bring bag to charity shop *read 3 chapters of book *get wedding gift and card *declutter paperwork.
Again, hopefully, you get the idea that setting your task goals for the week will give you focus and see what tasks it’s important to get completed. You can chip away at all those brain dump items, without getting too overwhelmed with a huge long list of things to do. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so it’s important to get to that realisation, that you are on a continual journey. There will always be something that we need to do! It never stops! But being intentional and realistic we can get through a lot of things in a week.
Now that you have your master lists in place, the daily bit is really easy. Just sit down for a moment in the morning and do a mini version of your weekly plan, using two questions? …. What are my time goals for the day? and….What are my task goals for the day? Work from your master list!
You see…it really is the simplest way to plan. I believe as humans we are wired to work with goals. It seems a universal truth amongst all people that we can work to accomplish goals. So… set your goals for the day and just watch for a few weeks how much you get accomplished.
I’ve done some surveys in the past and it definitely seems that the majority of people struggle with time management. I believe that it has been made so complicated by many varied and complicated systems that people try and feel like they have failed at. But, it really doesn’t need to be complicated. Please try this and hopefully you will find that you can manage your day rather than your day managing you.
Happy planning…thanks for reading bujoplanner friends!