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Planning The Day In Advance


By Solomon Thimothy, president of OneIMS, who is on a mission to help as many entrepreneurs start and scale their businesses. Connect with him at Thimothy.com.

As business owners, we want to present the best possible example for employees and colleagues. They say people will learn more from what you do than what you ever say, and I couldn’t agree more.

Some of the common “rules” of our office are set in place because they help each individual reach success. These include being on time for meetings, respecting each other’s space and letting each voice be heard. Some of these office rules aren’t exactly written verbatim but have become commonalities that everyone strives to implement. These include giving a helping hand to employees who are struggling, making an effort to connect with your co-workers and being an employee who strives to bring something of value to the table.

Within all the rules (written or not), the number one thing I always recommend is planning your day in advance. Not only does it bring the most value to the organization, but it sets each individual up for success inside and outside of the workplace and can be implemented into their lives to help them succeed wherever their career takes them.

Today, I want to talk about the best way to plan your day in a chaotic work environment and some ground rules that will support you to do so.

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The Day Before

The best time to plan for the next day? The day’s end! All it typically takes is the last 10-15 minutes of your workday to close shop on everything else and peek into the next day and coming week.

One tactic might be to break your day into four parts: two in the morning, a break for lunch and two in the afternoon. From here you can evaluate your own energy and productivity levels so you know which tasks to delegate in front of each other, keeping in mind when your energy is optimized.

Other employees prefer to write out their tasks by order of importance or most urgent. They know they can get these things done between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. and follow up the rest of the day with items that are less pressing.

We can also visualize how we will handle and execute each task to mentally prepare just like an athlete might do before a big game. This helps us regulate our cortisone levels and manage stressful situations better.

The Day Of

It’s important to set the tone and your mood for the day by doing something that will help you get in the right state of mind. Whether that’s in the office or at home, use tools like mediation, reading your favorite morning newsletter or indulging at your favorite coffee shop.

After setting the stage, take a look at your to-do list to refresh your mind about what’s a priority, secondary and so on. Make a mental note to yourself to stay present and execute what you need to in any given time period. With highly productive employees, getting ahead of themselves faces a challenge in itself. If 9:00 a.m. calls for a group meeting don’t get ahead and start thinking about the next project you want to start at 11:00 a.m. Stay present.

Many employees’ productivity shines when they can physically cross things off a list. That’s why when you plan your day ahead, writing it down in a place where you can keep track of it all is key. If something doesn’t get completely finished, make a note of how much you did get something so you’re still monitoring your progress.

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Lastly, it’s important to let yourself reset throughout the day. Going full-steam-ahead for eight hours is a recipe for burning out. Right down the things in your to-do list that bring you peace or joy. Is that visiting your favorite co-worker? Maybe it’s a walk around the building while listening to your favorite podcast. Find ways to fill up your cup throughout the day.

End Of The Day

Instead of diving into how much you got done and what you still have to do, take a moment to reflect. Make notes of what you’re proud of, how certain meetings went or perhaps things you want to discuss with co-workers or managers.

If you feel like your day isn’t quite being optimized from a productivity standpoint or your own satisfaction and fulfillment, consider how you might rearrange things. Maybe you need to speak to your boss about saving meetings for the afternoon so that the mornings can be spent taking care of more pressing matters.

Again, write out what you need to do for tomorrow, and don’t be afraid to share your productivity. I always tell my employees to pat themselves on the back so long as they’re putting their best foot forward each and every day.

Planning Your Day Optimizes Your State Of Mind

Unplanned items will come up. The goal for planning your day is to go in with clear intention. This way you can track and be proud of what you get done. As you get better at your job, you’ll realize how much more productive you’re getting as it will prepare you for the next stage in your career.

My last tip for employees? Avoid the crash-and-burn cycling by avoiding coffee after 3:00 p.m. But that’s an article for another day.



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