How Planning Will Improve Your Personal Productivity

Have a look at the way you work. Do you arrive at your desk with only a vague idea of what you are going to be doing for the rest of the day? On the other hand, do you arrive at your desk with a neat list of 47 things that you must do today because they are number one priority? The third option, is to arrive at your desk, drink your coffee and wait for the phone to ring to tell you about the first crisis of the day.

If this describes you, then you have a problem. It is extremely likely that you will go home at the end of the day tired and unfulfilled. The first description involved no planning. If this is you, then you are setting yourself up for a hard day and an unproductive day. In this situation you will be reactive, not pro-active. In a reactive situation is very hard to be productive because you are at the mercy of other people. Their lack of planning becomes your crisis.

The second situation where you have a neat list of 47 things to do, is totally unrealistic. You won’t finish them all during the day but you will add to them. Even if you put them into priorities, sooner or later the lowest on your priority list will become the highest.

The third situation is the worst. Think about it. It phone didn’t ring, you wouldn’t do anything. This is the ultimate in passive working. At the end of each day you go home exhausted and wondering what you achieved. In reality, you put out a lot of fires. It is amazing, because the people who are good at putting out fires-get lots of them to put out. This means that anyone who has a crisis will call up and ask for help. You are employed to be active and to contribute. Being passive and not planning is giving your employer a bad deal.

How about you try this. Sit at your desk and make a list of the five most important things to do that day. Start off with the hardest and progress through. If, at the end of the day you have not finished your five most important tasks, carry over what is left for the following day and let that be the basis of your list for that day. Alternatively, do your planning at the end of the working day so you come in the following day knowing exactly what you are going to do. This will get you off to a flying start.

Personal productivity is a pro-active activity not a passive one. You will get more fulfillment, more pleasure and be less tired the more productive you are. If you are not planning to be productive, you won’t be.