Time management Monday: Morning planning

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You’ve probably heard the advice that you should plan first thing in the morning. But how exactly do you do that? What does that look like? Here’s a step by step guide.

Have your planner and/ or bullet journal with you while you go through the following steps:

Planning all the time: First of all, any appointments and scheduled events should already be in your planner, because you should write them into your planner as soon as they come to you. Keeping your planner updated at all times lets you see your evolving schedule in real time, prevents double booking, and very importantly helps you see when you are at your limit and need to start saying no.

Transferring from digital to paper: If you prefer to schedule using your phone/ electronic calendar, first thing in the morning (or the evening before) is when to move your schedule onto paper so you can see the details in front of you and can prioritize your time for the day.

Review your schedule: Take a look at anything you have scheduled for the day, where you need to be and when. Is there anything you need to do to get ready for these scheduled events? (Meetings, sports practice, classes, etc.) Write any related tasks into your planner at the times when they need to get done. Don’t forget to pad your schedule to allow for travel and transition times.

Check your task lists: Look at your weekly and monthly tasks, and recurring tasks. What do you have space to fit in today? Put your highest priority tasks into your schedule, and if you have time for your lower priority tasks then think about where you can fit them in. Be sure to make time to take care of “mosquitoes,” those little things that tend to pile up if left undone for too long.

Get up and move around: This helpful step is often overlooked. There’s something about physical motion that gets the brain going and brings up all those little things you forgot! Keep your planner or notebook next to you while you do some stretches, toe-touches, yoga, jumping jacks, or whatever, for 5-10 minutes. Letting your mind relax a bit while you focus on your body seems to let in those ideas that previously slipped away.

Finalize your schedule: Now that you’ve written in your schedule and tasks for the day, take a second to check that you’re not over-tasking yourself for the day. Is there anything you need to take off? Make sure to allow some flexibility in your schedule for the inevitable unexpected things that come up.

Remember the purpose: Remind yourself that you are not a productivity robot. The point is not to get as much done as possible. It’s to do the things that are important to you so that you can have a good life. This includes taking the time to have fun! Be sure you enjoy the journey, and aren’t just focusing on reaching the destination.

Have a great day!

Planner shown: the Trinote, Minister, and Academic Minister weekly planners allow you to schedule your days alongside your weekly task lists.

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