Planners know no rest, whether furiously typing away, plodding
ceaselessly along the halls, or orchestrating perfect set-ups. Going
according to schedule and smoothly too, are paramount to calming the
inner OCD that planners tend to possess.
With limited time to spare, carving out the extra minutes or hours
requires steadfast discipline, focus and putting the talent for planning
to good use.
Here are some reminders to start 2022 on the right foot:
Plan in advance
It’s basic, but worth belabouring
the point. Have a line of sight to the week ahead, and leave pockets of
time for unexpected things that crop up so as not to derail the
completion of action items that are already locked in.
Colour coding the calendar always works too to make it easy to
reference at a glance. Besides your own personal list, there are also
myriad apps available on project scheduling and management that help
with organisation and time efficiency as well. It just takes a little
bit of time to get used to a platform, but after that, you are off and
running. Besides Teams and Google calendar, check out other apps with
more features. For eg, Asana, Timely, Freedcamp, Trello.
Prioritise your time
What action items should you
work on first? The more pressing ones, the big chores or the simplest
task that fits into the two-minute rule? Commit to the checklist and
work through it systematically.
Frame up the action items that are important to tackle on a list. Go
through the list from the top in order of importance and do not skip any
items. This checklist allows you to also check off the mental load and
it eases the mind. It’s a simple act that has an impact in influencing a
positive mental state.
Determine your optimal time for productivity
does your level of productivity vary over the course of the day? Are you
a morning person or do you need more time to work up to the more
mentally intensive tasks? Figuring out your most optimal time of the day
will enable you to churn out more deliverables in a shorter amount of
Then, importantly, work according to your most optimal productivity
level and the timing for it. For instance, if the morning gives you the
best buzz, then tackle the bigger action items that are more mentally
intensive and challenging to do. If you don’t know yourself and work
according to your natural momentum, it’s like driving in sixth gear with
the hand brake on. You’ll get worn out in due time. Here’s a useful
self-test to take from Psychology Today.
Routines create flow and momentum
get chaotic, the best way out is to literally put the best foot forward
and continue to move in a familiar routine. It helps to keep things
going on days when external factors may threaten to slow you down.
So, adopt a routine, or several, and stick to it to help you stay on
track. For instance, going for evening runs to clear the mind daily;
prepping and freezing dinner portions for the week to minimise cooking
time; or setting aside time before going to bed to recap and remember
learning points for the day.
Give yourself reward points
worry about a thousand other things, except themselves. To become the
lean, mean planning machine they have become, they may have forgotten to
think about themselves and to enjoy the small daily rewards that help
keep them going on a positive track.
Establish your own detailed reward system for the things that you
achieve at work. Set up a points system for the various tasks that you
complete, and accumulate your points for a reward. Depending on whether
it’s a small or big task you have completed, or a project goal you have
achieved, the reward will make it all the sweeter and satisfying. An
appointment at the spa? A dinner reservation at your favourite omakase
restaurant? Or maybe just simply an hour of your favorite Korean drama?