Sometimes, life will keep piling task after task on your existing heap of work and no amount of strict planning will help you manage it. You’ll find that you’re failing to finish your work more often than not. At that point, you might give up on your planning strategies because they’ve proven ineffective. But don’t give up just yet! Smart planning might be what you need to carry out important tasks. Here are some steps to help you implement it.

Make a Daily To-Do List

You might have already been following the to-do list method, but maybe it wasn’t working out for you. What we recommend that you do here is to categorize tasks according to their priority. Put the important tasks you have on top of the list so you can do them first, then you can rank other tasks below them. 

A system of rewards should also be integrated into your to-do list, as it will help you feel like you’ve achieved your goals for the day. That said, make sure that you’re consistent when it comes to following that list and making a new one every day. Whether you’re using plain white paper to make your list or an application, make sure that you’re consistent when following it.

It’s All About Scheduling

Because time is invaluable for everyone, wasting time wondering what task to work on next will not do. This is when you should make a monthly, weekly, or daily schedule of important events, projects, etc. However, this will require good planning skills and the right tools. You can start planning your day once you wake up. 

Take 30 minutes or so to schedule your day. As for the tools you should use, you can either use a scheduling software or find a resource website that will provide you with schedule templates to suit your needs. Make sure that you plan your day wisely and don’t overload your schedule in hopes of finishing more tasks, as this will end up with you feeling disappointed for not finishing what you wanted to; thus, you’ll feel as if you haven’t accomplished anything. If your schedule is manageable, on the other hand, you will certainly feel like you’ve achieved a lot. 

Work and Life

Everyone has responsibilities both in their personal lives and work. Sometimes,  important tasks at work might get pushed over due to not prioritizing them over your personal tasks. That’s why we advise that you make separate sections in your schedules for these different tasks. 

If you divide what you want considering work and life, you’ll be able to compare all tasks and group items if necessary. This should also help you stay balanced and avoid overworking yourself. You can start doing that by making an equal amount of lines under life and work, then you can fill them up with tasks as you see fit. 

Avoid Distractions

No one can deny the fact that distractions are the bane of productivity and are one of the main reasons for procrastination. What’s even worse, is not following a daily plan and being distracted from your important duties. Several methods can help you eliminate distractions. Unless you can manage to multitask efficiently, you will need to compartmentalize your tasks and take one thing at a time. 

Make sure that you clean your workspace and remove any source of background noise. Some people like to listen to music in the background as it helps them focus. If that works for you, then you can surely do it, but otherwise, make sure that you remove any sources of noise. If your phone is distracting you, be sure to keep it away while working and take breaks regularly if you’re going to work for long periods of time.

Write Down Your Goals

We all have a couple of goals that we want to achieve, at least by the end of the week. Knowing your goals and writing them down are two different things entirely. When you’re preoccupied with a lot of things, you might forget your main goals, so make sure that you identify and write down at least 3 goals. This will help you know which activities and/ or habits are helping you reach these goals and the best practices you can follow to achieve them.

Smart planning isn’t really rocket science. You only need to be persistent and consistent when you follow a daily plan or try to finish your to-do list. If you don’t like writing these plans manually, there are multiple applications that can help you with that and can even lock your phone for the duration that you have to work. Once you do that, you’ll enjoy executing more tasks, as you will find that doing so is very rewarding.