In last week’s piece Debbie shared with us some great tips for planning an effective and productive week. This week she shares with us her daily planning practice.
She’s trained me in the same process and I have to say doing the weekly planning and the daily planning has made me uber-productive. It helps me to think actively about what I can delegate every single day (which really improves my delegation skills) and also ensures that I’m working on stuff that matters.
Over to you again, Debbie.
Every morning I take a look at the weekly list and pick today’s to-dos. I also add anything new that has come up (making sure all tasks are in line with what I’m trying to achieve this quarter and are delegated if they can be).
From this list I select my three weeds; important yet unsavoury tasks I don’t really want to do but have to (either because only I can do it or in a moment of stupidity I volunteered and now I can’t get out of it). I do these as early in the day as possible to get them over and done with, otherwise they weigh me down.
Then, I select three seeds; these are tasks with growth potential. For example, if I’m looking to build a relationship or partner with a company, a seed task might be drafting and sending the initial email. Or if I’m working on a new FP Advance offering, maybe I’ll carve out half an hour to really flesh it out and see if it’s a goer. I’ll often ask myself: What can I plant today and reap the rewards of later?
It’s always nice to go back through my seeds to see which ones flowered (and which ones didn’t!). Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of just how far we’ve come, especially if I am working through a project that seems to be moving at a snail’s pace – a quick flick through my seeds helps to remind me that it’s all good!
Set your own terms
Next I plan the day, putting my tasks into the day’s schedule (for me, this is iCal). This is the most important step of planning for me, as it ensures I dictate how long I spend on each task rather than the other way around. I say “I will spend this long on you today, task.” rather than the task saying “Debbie, you’ve given me free reign and I will take up your whole day, sucker!”
Sitting down and planning my diary each morning (which takes no more than 10 minutes) keeps me on course and saves me hours each week. I feel like I’m in charge of my diary and my to-do list. I set the terms.
The Last Two Steps: Do Not Skip
These last two steps are important to me, yet as stated before, they are easy to skip over.
Firstly, I try to plan a daily Savour; something special to acknowledge my efforts. I name the Savour and I dedicate it (usually to a weed). For example; This half an hour strolling around town is for getting all the paperwork through to the marketing team today.
Secondly, I like to show some gratitude. Author and motivational speaker Brené Brown, believes that gratitude is not “an attitude” but a practice. I practice daily. Just one thing I am thankful for. I like to write it down in a fancy font (to feed my artist) but it can be a thought, a whisper, a small declaration. A thank you, even when it feels like it’s all going to hell in a handbasket.
As is the usual, this post seems to have complicated a very simple system. In practice, this planning is foolproof and gets two thumbs up at team FP Advance. Give it a try. Drop me an email if you’d like more clarification. I promise the task to reply won’t end up in my weeds.