Suppose you have a big day tomorrow. You have to wake up at 6am, get ready and head out to work. You also have to go to the bank for some work that has to be done within afternoon. Also, you have to meet a client who is really important from work. But unfortunately, you promised your old friend that you will meet him in the morning a week ago. Your wife asked you to come home early so that you guys can go to a movie. In the middle of all these you wanted to go to a game of football in the evening. Ugh, pretty hectic day right? What should you do? How do you plan your day?
Now consider another case. Suppose you have a holiday tomorrow. You can wake up whenever you want. You are free to do anything in the entire day because you have no plans at all. You might even be bored to death. You don’t know what to do. Your mind wants you to do something productive but your heart says chill and sleep all day. What should you do? How do you plan your day?
Both these cases are quite contrasting, but with one common feature. You have no idea what to do and how to plan. This article is going to help you ease out the way in which you should handle such days. Murphy’s Law says that “If something can go wrong, it will”. So basically sometimes we have days where every second counts and some days where we cannot go through those long hours waiting to pass without any work.
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR A BUSY DAY
Let us first define an “event”. It can be work or meeting someone or watching TV or shopping with your girlfriend. Every event has a priority level. It can be divided into four categories which are shown in the image below.
- URGENT-IMPORTANT is a case where the event has a deadline or was pre-planned. It can be a project or your wedding anniversary. This is a fixed time slot and cannot be compromised.
- URGENT-NOT IMPORTANT is when you have to go through this as part of your life but they are not important as far as the productivity of the day is concerned. It includes brushing your teeth, having food and many other daily chores. It is a dead time and cannot be postponed.
- NOT URGENT-IMPORTANT includes long term plans or things that does not cause a nuclear attack or an alien invasion if you don’t do it in time. This is the most important factor for planning due to its adjustability and can be moved to various time slots.
- NOT URGENT-NOT IMPORTANT is basically what we do to take a break during various times of the day. It is not a compulsion but, breaks are necessary for improved efficiency.
Now our mission is to fit various events in the above format and then prioritize the order in which it has to be executed. The planning of the day involves the following steps:
- Priority setting: Events will be prioritized based on the above image into a priority table.
- Time division: Events should be listed down and the time required to accomplish them should be written in the next column
- Collective planning: If two events can be completed simultaneously then they should be noted as a collective event and can be accomplished simultaneously.
- Rationalise: Events may also depend on outside factors. The best example is when we have to wait longer than expected for someone. So a small room for adjustment should be provided for flexibility.
- Elimination: After listing down the events along with the time taken, it is time to eliminate the tasks that are difficult to be accomplished and can be moved to another day accordingly.
- Execution: The plans made should be executed on the day.
- Feedback: If the execution was at least 90% close to the plan of the day, it can be considered as a Perfect productive day. A 10% error is acceptable. So the feedback is taken from previous day to improvise the next day.
Here is a sample priority table to make it clear:
|1||Brushing Teeth||5 minutes||Go for it!|
|2||Feed the Devil||15 minutes||Go for it!|
|3||Go to bank||1.5 hours||Do it!|
|4||Achieve World Peace||7.5 years||Nah! Some other day|
|5||Drums Class||2 hours||Do it!|
|6||Watch Kung fu Panda||1.5 hours||Maybe|
|7||Master Mandarin Language||2200 hours||NOPE|
PS: Devil is my cat’s name
PLANNING FOR A BORING DAY
On weekends or holidays when you have nothing to do but to sit around and waste your time, but your inner self tells you to get off your ass and do something. Following things that can be done on a boring day
- Start something new: Take up new hobbies or start a new project.
- Complete something from yesterday: Finish a book you started reading yesterday.
- Contribute for a long term plan: Do something today that saves time for tomorrow.
- Go out, meet people: Why? Because it’s fun!
It is very difficult to find motivation on such days. The best way to overcome this is to plan along with a reward. For example, if you achieve a task think of something to self-reward that can get you excited. Ask your friends to push you into doing this. Ask your girlfriend for rewards (If you know what I mean!) for every task you complete (You might have to buy her some flowers, a pair of shoes, a cat, a house and 3 helicopters before you ask for this from her!). Or, you can CLICK HERE and spend 5 minutes to learn the secrets of getting motivated.
The biggest challenge one faces in doing all these tasks is mixing one’s personal life with work/academics. It is very important to make sure that these two do not interfere with each other but can have crossovers while execution. The priority table can be constructed separately for both of them, but ensure that both of these go smoothly.