Productivity P #3: Planning (Tips 2 & 3)

On my last post, I gave you Planning Tip 1. Here are Planning Tips 2 &3. ? Whether you’re using a planner (may I recommend this one) or a digital of sorts (will share my recommended tools on my next post), these planning tips will help you get more out of your chosen planning buddy.

If you stumbled upon this post and haven’t read the earlier posts in this series, please do read through my earlier posts first:

  1. The 4 P’s of Productivity
  2. Productivity P #1: Purpose
  3. Productivity P #2: Prayer
  4. Productivity P #3: Planning (Tip 1)

Continuing on with my Planning Tips. ?

2. Schedule the Planning

Don’t just schedule the plan, put it in your schedule to plan! As you saw in the sample weekly grid, take the first 15-30 minutes of your workweek to plan your week. Take the first 15-30 minutes of the rest of each of your workdays to plan your day. Here’s what you do during this time:

  • Take note of your scheduled meetings.
  • Identify what your top three priorities are for the week/day. (Remember that what is priority to someone else may not necessarily be priority for your role. Go back to the purpose of your role and allow yourself to say “no” or “later.”)
  • See if there are (other) people you need to meet with.
  • See if there are tasks you need to plot out in your calendar. (If there are tasks that would take time to accomplish and they’re priority for the week/day, it will be best to block off a certain schedule to do these tasks, similar to how you block off your calendar for meetings.)
  • Move items from your Task Dump (see #3) onto a day on your planner (or give them a due date, if you’re using a digital tool).

3. Task Dump

Whether you’re writing on a planner or using a digital task management tool, always put a date to when you’re going to do a task as the task comes in. If you’re writing on a planner, place that task on the date when you’re most likely going to do it (or when you need to do it). If you’re using a digital tool, make it a habit to key in a due date as you type each task that comes in.

If you can’t decide the date right on the spot, you need to have what I call a “Task Dump.” A Task Dump is a place where you write all tasks that you don’t know yet when you’re actually going to do them, whether the task has a deadline or not. You can have a weekly Task Dump using your planner’s weekly spread, or you can have one Task Dump in some other part of your planner. For those who prefer digital, just one section (or category) dedicated to your Task Dump will be efficient. I’ll show you more about how this can work with my chosen digital tool on my next post. ?

Additional Tip for Planner Users: Productivity Pen!

I have called my 4-color ballpoint pen my “Productivity Pen,” because it really helped me become more productive! You can also just use different pens for this purpose, but I find that holding one pen with quick-access to 4 inks is efficient for me.

I found that 3-4 colors are the best to use (it works, and it’s not too many). At a glance, I get to know what’s ahead in the day for me:

  • Black: Regular task (task written on a date but can be done on the date or within the week), notes, Task Dump tasks
  • Red: Tasks written on a date and must be done on that date
  • Green: Follow-up items (If I delegated something to someone, I make it a point to write a task reminding me to follow-up with that person on a certain date.)
  • Blue: The ink I use to write down on my planner the name of anybody I closely work with who will be out of the office on a specific date. (If you’re going reduce it to 3 colors, this is probably what I recommend you to take out.)

It might sound like it’s too much to take in, but try applying one tip at a time and build on from there. Then let me know how any of the tips helped you, okay? ?

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