I figure you’re no stranger to working with to-do lists. I’ve always found a disconnect between the things I want to get done and the flow of my day.
I’ve tried to fix this by squeezing my to-do’s in my calendar, but that gets messy real quickly. The other way around; inserting my calendar items in my to-do list, is even worse. And the constant switching between your calendar and your to-do list isn’t optimal either.
So here’s what I tried next! After first creating a prioritized to-do list, I write down what my day will look like. I’ll describe picking up work on the first task, describe my first tea break, and some exercises I may want to do in between. And the much-needed transition time I need after a meeting. All those important bits of the day that you normally wouldn’t mention in a to-do list, I would explicitly mention too. And normally you don’t list these, because, they’re not work, right?
The point is, once you start visualizing your day by describing it in detail, you allow yourself to find out if your plan makes sense. It’ll show you if things need to be in a different order, and you make sure that there is a good flow from doing the work to the other things you do in a day. You’ll also automatically find the balance between the items in your agenda that happen during your day, and the task work you need to fit in between.
The main takeaway is to plan your day as a story, not a list!
And maybe you have a focus routine, where you turn off all of your notifications, and do some stretch exercises before you start working. These are perfect to include in your daily plan. Want to take this to the next level? Create a small library of copy/pastable routines that you’ll reuse over time.
And ideally you stick to the script you’ve written, but often something comes up that changes your plans. And that’s okay! You simply adjust the story accordingly. And as you’ll progress throughout your day, you get to use those nice strike-throughs on the bits of the story that did get done. That’s progress right there! And at the end of the day, you have a nice little artefact sitting there which can serve as a journal entry.
After having used this for some weeks I’ve found my plans to be a lot more in line with reality, and that’s the one thing that always bugged me, hard. There, I fixed it!