Fine tune your plan­ning skills

The Daily Courier - - HOMES -

Proper plan­ning can make each day go more smoothly. A wellplanned day can leave a greater amount of time for work and play, and that can help peo­ple avoid the stress they may ex­pe­ri­ence upon fall­ing be­hind at work or if they can’t find time to blow off steam away from the job.

Plan­ning may not come nat­u­rally to every­one. Those who want to be­come bet­ter plan­ners can heed the fol­low­ing tips.

• Write things down as they hap­pen. Write down ev­ery­thing you do each day and what time you do them, mak­ing sure to note how much time each ac­tiv­ity takes. This can give you a pic­ture of what your av­er­age day is like and whether or not you’re wast­ing time through­out the day — and just how much you’re wast­ing. Write things down for a few weeks so you get the most com­plete and ac­cu­rate pic­ture of your typ­i­cal day.

• Write things down be­fore they hap­pen. Once you get in the habit of putting things on pa­per, you can then start to write items down be­fore they hap­pen. Make an ef­fort to plan one day in ad­vance and then grad­u­ally add more days. Use a plan­ner or the cal­en­dar app on your smart­phone. De­ter­mine how much time each event, such as a work meet­ing, trip to the gro­cery store or a work­out at the gym, should take, and then al­lot the ap­pro­pri­ate amount of time in your sched­ule. Leave some time be­tween tasks for un­ex­pected de­lays, and stick to your sched­ule as closely as pos­si­ble.

• Stop pro­cras­ti­nat­ing. Pro­cras­ti­na­tion is the en­emy of plan­ning. Pro­cras­ti­nat­ing has a domino ef­fect that will af­fect the rest of your day, and maybe even the rest of your week or month. If you typ­i­cally pro­cras­ti­nate, make a con­certed ef­fort to change your ways. It might take some trial and er­ror for those ac­cus­tomed to push­ing tasks off to kick their habits, but other plan­ning skills can help you over­come your pro­cras­ti­na­tion. For ex­am­ple, if you’re prone to putting work projects off un­til the last minute, sched­ule some time each day to work on var­i­ous projects so you can get each of them done on time. This can al­le­vi­ate the stress as­so­ci­ated with rush­ing to meet a dead­line and can pro­vide a sense of ac­com­plish­ment at the end of each day.

• Learn to an­tic­i­pate what’s com­ing. Rather than tak­ing a re­ac­tive ap­proach, try to be proac­tive. When work­ing on a project at work, imag­ine all likely sce­nar­ios once the project is com­pleted. De­vise a way to re­spond to each sce­nario. Do­ing so can make it eas­ier to ad­dress is­sues as they arise.

Prompt and ef­fec­tive re­sponses to prob­lems en­sure time isn’t wasted and that your ex­ist­ing sched­ule won’t be turned on its head by un­fore­seen, unan­tic­i­pated cir­cum­stances.

Fine-tuned plan­ning skills can help busy men and women be more pro­duc­tive at work and at home.

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