Matthew Cornell has a great little PDF out called Where the [email protected]#% did my day go? He has offered to let me give a copy away here on Productivity501. See below for information about the contest.
“Where the [email protected]#% did my day go?” is designed to help you adopt a daily planning routine. It assumes that you have some type of task management and calendar system in place, already. From that standpoint, it kind of picks up where other system leaves off–once you’ve captured what needs done, how do you execute? Here are some of the things I found interesting:
- Task selection – Matthew has some really good points about how to select tasks so that you feel good about what you’ve accomplished for the day. Just getting work done isn’t enough–you need to feel good about your day when you head home.
- Task order – There is a nice discussion on the benefits of different ordering strategies.
- Interruptions – There are some great suggestions for dealing with interruptions and how to integrate potential interruptions into your planning process.
- Estimation – It is hard to plan if you don’t know how long things will take. Matthew suggests that you estimate and then measure how long a task will take. That way, you keep getting better at estimating over time and your accuracy will increase.
- Worksheets – The PDF includes several worksheets to help with the planning and measurement process. I particularly liked the idea of the “interruption worksheet” to keep track of what is interfering with your planned execution.
- Examples – There are several examples of actual worksheets and plans. It is surprisingly interesting to see how someone else has planned their day.
- Measurements – The process tries to encourage a lot of different types of quantifiable measurements from tracking interruptions to giving you a way to check if you are on or off task every 15 minutes.
I really liked this quote encouraging people to try to create a work plan for the day and follow it:
It’s as if a very smart person who is intimately familiar with your work has figured out the best use of your time for the day, then written it out in plain language. You don’t have to think about what to do next. You simply work each task in order, relishing the feeling of flow and accomplishment.
I enjoyed reading the PDF. It isn’t particularly long, so it doesn’t take a huge time investment to read and I can’t imagine anyone who won’t get something out of it that they can apply immediately to help make them more productive.
To enter the contest you have to leave a comment. Give us an example of how you successfully do your daily planning or how you don’t plan or a story about your boss who doesn’t plan, but needs to, etc. (If you draw a complete blank, you can just say “enter me into the contest”.)
We will pick a winner in a week or so and send them a shiny new copy of the PDF!