In his article, "An 18-Minute Plan for Managing Your Day," author Peter Bregman explains the importance of creating a daily planning ritual at work. According to Bregman, intentionally training yourself to focus and being aware of the need for focus will naturally lead to a more productive day. Making a plan for the day needs to become a habit. This way you will stay on top of your to-do list and be more likely to achieve your day-to-day goals.
Before turning on your computer, make a list of the things you must finish by the end of the day, and the things you would like to do by the end of the day. These may include writing letters, making phone calls or setting appointments.
Divide the tasks into three groups by order of priority. The priority 'A' list should be composed of the most urgent tasks, 'B' should contain slightly less important tasks and 'C' should list tasks that it would be good to finish if the time is available.
Beginning with the most difficult task in column 'A,' work your way through that section of the list. When that is complete, employ the same tactics for list 'B' and 'C,' making sure to take time out for a minimum 30-minute lunch break.
Bregman suggests taking a one-minute break every hour to refocus. Set an alarm to ring every hour. When it goes off, check your list and determine whether or not the previous hour was productive. Managing your day on an hourly basis will allow you to remain focused.
At the end of the day, take five minutes to review your accomplishments. If you did not complete a task, try to figure out why so that you can remedy the problem the following day.
Tips & Warnings
- Don't procrastinate. See your activities through to completion, and avoid putting off simple tasks that can be done immediately.
- Be disciplined. Stick to your daily plan and get rid of all distractions.
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