Almost since I began my working life, I’ve worked in fields requiring me to be clear about what needs to be accomplished daily. From my time in hotel management to teaching, I’ve always needed to know what was happening in the day.
In hotel management, I had to know what functions were on — how many conferences, banquets, and other events were before I began my shift — so, as the duty manager, I could check everything was ready for when the guests arrived. While teaching English, I had to know what my classes were, when and where.
So, working for myself today, that “training” in my previous occupations has conditioned me always to be aware of what needs to be accomplished each day. From what content requires to be created to how many coaching calls I have. Without that knowledge, nothing would ever get done because I would be operating on a reactive level — waiting for emails or messages to tell me what to do.
Time dislikes a vacuum. If you have nothing planned, something will always fill up your time. Low-value emails will be elevated in importance; doing more “research” because you have not made it clear what needs to be done next and mindlessly scrolling through websites looking for inspiration.
If you spend most of the day “procrastinating”, look at your plan for the day. Either your plan will be a blank piece of paper (i.e. No plan), or your plan is trying to achieve the impossible — too many tasks, no clear outcome etc.
When we talk about having a plan for the day, it does not mean you need each minute of the day planned out. In today’s rapidly changing environments, that would be impossible, anyway. Instead, having a plan for the day means knowing what you want to accomplish. For instance, a paper you are writing needs finishing, a podcast requires editing or your kids need collecting from school.
Knowing what you want to accomplish each day before you start gives you focus. It also helps you avoid being caught up in procrastination because the battle against procrastination begins with knowing what you want to get out of the day.
However, you do need to avoid the temptation of overplanning. It’s tempting to plan to complete five or six things; the trouble is you won’t be…