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How to Plan Better

  1. Put it on paper. Studies have shown that we’re more likely to achieve our goals when we commit them to paper.

2. Time-Blocking

Block out time to work on important and non-urgent projects. On a traditional to-do list, obligations that take hours to complete appear alongside tasks that last a few minutes. Without time-blocking, it can be hard to tell them apart. Fast Company defines time-blocking as assigning individual tasks to manageable time slots.

2. If/Then Tasks

Block out time – after work, if you have enough mental energy, you can use it to do more mentally heavy work like coding or creating. If you are low energy, you can use it for another task like decorating the house or cleaning or working out.

3. Eisenhower Matrix

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Do work stuff immediately. Schedule time for important projects. Be ruthless about how you spend your time and don’t waste it on people who aren’t good to you or on things with minimal return. Try to find ways to make urgent but not important tasks easier – outsource them, delegate, pay someone else, or fit them in when your brain is tired and you need a distraction. Instead of browsing the internet when you’re tired at work, just file your expense report or do that online chore instead.

5. One-Three-Five List

Pick one important goal of the day to finish. Fit other stuff around that. Three medium tier importance ones, like exercising, hanging out, other tasks.

6. Kanban Board

Visualize your progress on projects such as home decoration. Share it with other people.

7. Could-Do List

Sam Bennett likes to be realistic when planning out her day. Instead of writing a to-do list, the author of Get It Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes A Day takes the pressure off by creating a “could-do” list. In order to weigh the importance of her optional tasks, she plugs them into a worksheet. She suggests reserving columns for tasks, time (how long each task will take), expense (if any), inclination (how appealing the task is on a scale of one to 10), and the return on your investment (also scaled one to 10). Based on those metrics, it should be easy to see which items take priority—and if you don’t have time to get to everything, it’s not the end of the world.

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