Advancing

5 Tips That Will Save You 30 Minutes Every Day

This post about planning and scheduling shares more information.

I’ve heard that 5 minutes of planning saves 30 minutes of doing.

Over the years I’ve tested this, and it seems to be true almost every time. It goes hand in hand with the concept that 80% of your results come from 20% of the time you spend working or planning to get those results. So if we’re going to save 30 minutes by spending 5 dedicated minutes, why do we frequently skip the planning phase? What I frequently hear is:

  • I already know what to do so I don’t need to plan it
  • I don’t have the time to sit down and plan
  • My schedule rarely runs according to whatever plan I’ve set up

Any and all of these statements may be true, but they are rarely effective when it comes to planning and scheduling your day or week to work priorities. And if failure to plan happens, your monthly, quarterly and yearly goals are more than likely being impacted in a negative or nonproductive way. This post about planning and scheduling shares more information.

4 Types of Planning

According to Crisp publications, there are four types of planning, and you may have practiced any one of them from one time or another:

  1. Future planning. This involves getting geared up for events that haven’t happened yet. Taking on a new client, going on vacation, having a baby, etc.
  2. Here and now planning. This involves trying to change a present behavior. For example, staying on  a diet, getting organized, etc.
  3. Follow the leader planning. Modeling after what others have done.
  4. Analytical planning. A step by step analysis of a problem, reviewing alternative solutions and selecting the best solution.

It’s easy but requires focus.

Planning and scheduling seem so easy, but there are steps to consider to make sure what you’re doing saves you time.

5 Tips for Planning and Scheduling

  • Make it a ritual. Make planning a ritual of uninterrupted time. When you hurry or get distracted from the planning process, you tend to underestimate the time needed which crunches your calendar, and this leads to unnecessary stress later. Use the first 15 minutes of every day to review your plan to see if it needs adjustment.
  • To schedule effectively, analyze first. In order to know how much time you will need in the future, you need to know how much time you spend now and more importantly where you spend it. You can track this with pen and paper or by using one of many available scheduling apps. When you see this information in black and white, you become more conscious of where you’re spending your time, where you can shorten the time spent or choose to stop spending time on given activities.
  • Plan with the end in mind. If you have a goal or a vision of where you need and want to spend your time, it will more than likely require several steps or activities. Group larger actions into smaller, more manageable parts. Try grouping similar activities together. For example, run all your errands in one day. And make sure you have room somewhere in your schedule for a ‘Plan B’ event.
  • Think about the approach. This is about prioritizing your behaviors, interests, and energy. Plan to finish complicated activities before you’re too tired. As Mark Twain said, ‘the secret of getting ahead is getting started.’ Take those big, looming activities and break them down into smaller, bite-sized pieces. They are much easier to swallow, and written plans also help squash anxiety.
  • Be realistic. No one likes to work on projects back to back, even the ones you love. And running from one thing to another isn’t healthy or productive. Make space in your schedule for you, your needs and your breathing time.

Developing planning time is where the rubber meets the road regarding execution. Scheduling time to work on your priorities directly impacts your ability to achieve your goals. So plan ahead and keep from skipping this process. It will pay off in the long run!

Also read: How To Achieve Peak Productivity Levels, Even While Procrastinating

About the Author

Cynthia Kyriazis, Founder and President of Productivity Partners Inc., has provided productivity training and coaching for Fortune 500 to small business clients for over 20 years. Recently named one of “28 best online productivity experts”, her passion is teaching employees how to apply the principles of organization and time-management and to help them navigate the 24/7 demands on their time. Cynthia is set to release her second book in February 2016, Get Organized. Get Focused. Get Moving.: How to Avoid Productivity Potholes, a guide for helping business professionals avert common obstacles to productivity.