5 Mistakes You’re Making When You’re Planning Your Workday

Posted on - in Planning & Organization

When you walk into work every day, you probably have a general idea of what your routine is. You clock in, take care of your morning responsibilities, enjoy a lunch break and finish the day with more work.

Even though you may experience the same routine every week, the fine details are easy to change. That may affect your productivity, depending on how you plan your workday.

If you feel like your productivity could use a boost, check out these five mistakes you’re probably making while planning your workday. A slight shift in how you approach your day could make all the difference to how much you end up accomplishing.

1. Writing Your List Too Early

You may know ahead of time that you have a lot going on tomorrow. You feel like it’s best to write out your to-do list now so that when you get to work, you can jump right into what you have to do.

That could actually hurt your productivity since you never know what will be in your inbox or on your calendar until you see it in the morning. You may unknowingly not schedule enough time for the most important tasks, which throws your entire day off.

Fix: Schedule Your Planning Time

Make a recurring calendar event to schedule ten to fifteen minutes in the morning to plan out your day. Use that time to sort through your inbox and look at your calendar. After refreshing yourself on what’s coming up, you can make an accurate to-do list that will be helpful all day long.

2. Trying to Multitask

People like to mention how they’re great at multitasking. It’s a skill that makes people feel like they can conquer anything and still churn out quality work when they’re focused on different things. Studies have shown that multitasking decreases your overall productivity by tearing away your focus, which may be what you need to fix.

Fix: Have a Single Focus

You can still get many things done in one day without multitasking. Oprah Winfrey is known for her many accomplishments, but she maintains a singular focus because she purposely schedules her day with one thing at a time. Do the same for yourself and see how much more you get done.

3. Not Scheduling Breaks

When you’re facing a day full of deadlines and meetings, you may be tempted to plan everything out by pledging not to leave your desks for extended periods of time. Not taking even a quick break only results in burnout, which ruins the quality of whatever work you do.

Fix: Take Regular Rest Periods

Even when you’re at your busiest, take regular rest periods to recharge your mind. A quick walk down the hall or trip to the restroom will leave you ready to go with a clear sense of purpose.

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4. Leaving Things Up to Chance

Do you catch yourself planning your day and hoping you can fit a few important tasks in before you clock out? That’s leaving things up to chance and that won’t do anything to help your productivity. You’ll only have to push those tasks off until tomorrow, which puts your work behind and leaves you rushed.

Fix: Use a Productivity Tracker

Stop hoping you’ll get more done by using a productivity tracker to break your bad planning habits. You’ll get real-time feedback on things like when you slow down, speed up or could improve on your work. That’s much more helpful than hoping you’ll work on more projects tomorrow.

5. Writing Down General Tasks

On your to-do lists every day, you might write down things like “sort through inbox” or “make the powerpoint presentation.” In reality, there are many steps that those tasks require that could take a lot longer than you imagined.

Fix: Get Specific With Your Goals

Every morning, think about what your goals are for that day, then break down those goals into actionable steps. Getting specific will help you decide how much time you really need to spend on each project and what your day will actually look like.

Try Something New

You might have had the same planning habits over the course of your career, but if something isn’t working, it’s time to try something new. Try these time-saving tips out for yourself and watch your work life become more productive as a result of your efforts.

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