In This Episode…
Ever since I started this podcast I have been planning my activities on a daily basis. This has its pros and cons. From this week I am going to experiment with extending my planning horizon to look at the impact it has on my productivity. In this episode I share my reasons for doing this and what I plan to do differently.
Edited Episode Transcript
Hi, it’s Michael Tipper and welcome to today’s episode of the Profit Productivity Podcast.
Based on last week’s series of episodes where I focused on developing a growth mindset, my activity to continue to do that is carrying on in the background. I will report on that as and when I’ve something significant to report and I’ll give you regular updates along the way.
In the meantime, I’m going to start looking at other stuff to help develop my productivity. This week I’m going to start a new experiment to play around with how I approach my work.
Since I started doing this podcast and in fact long before, I have planned every single day the night before. I do that because it allows me the time to reflect on the previous day and allows me to plan what I’m going to do the following day.
It also gives my brain and my subconscious time overnight to process that. I’ve often come up with some really great ideas overnight or first thing in the morning that have supported the work I’m doing for that day. So it’s a really powerful approach.
I use a paper and pen approach because it gives me something physical to work with and it makes the things I’m going to do more real than say having it on my smartphone.
This is because as soon as you switch it off, it disappears. Whereas with the paper and pen which I’ve got on a clipboard, I carry it with me all day. It allows me to focus on what I’m trying to achieve.
I’ll take a piece of paper, I turn it landscape and I divide it in half. On the left hand side, I’ll write the times in a vertical column every hour from six o’clock until midnight.
On the right hand side, I’ll write out what my priority is for the day is together with the other tasks I also want to achieve.
Now I’ve experimented with blocking out specific periods of time for the priority and the other tasks. I’ve also experimented with just identifying my free time and then working from the list until they’re done.
I’ve played around with both of those and I’m still not sure which one works best for me because my approach to work hasn’t been too constant yet. But at least I’ve got both options open to me.
Another thing I’ll do on the piece of paper is that I will often record my time log on the piece of paper before I have chance to shift it over to the Google Sheet on my desktop or my iPhone.
When I look back on my week, I basically go through the five sheets for each day of the week and look at what’s happened to do those reviews. When I do for my review for the day I go back and look over the sheet for that specific day.
That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing up until this week.
I’ve been thinking about that approach and have been asking myself what does that do to my performance?
Well I’ve started to realise that by focusing my planning on a daily basis, my horizon for strategy and planning rarely extends beyond 24 hours. That has made me become relatively short sighted in terms of the goals I’m trying to achieve.
Previously I’ve done episodes where I’ve got side tracked and not done stuff well. Now I think about it, I think not having a long enough time horizon has also contributed to that.
I’ve noticed I’ve become more reactionary because I’m focusing on the next 24 hours rather than the implications of what I do over the next week or the next month or the next year.
It’s been really interesting to realise that.
So this week I’m experimenting with planning my week ahead as well as doing my daily plans. But I’ll be using my week’s plan to inform what I’m doing on a daily basis.
So I now have a second piece of paper that I drew up last night that’s got seven columns – one for each day – with an am, pm and evening slot.
I’m simply going to put my major commitments in those slots, and underneath I’ll put my major goals for the week.
That mean’s now I’ve got a slightly longer term horizon for the considerations of things I’m doing on a daily basis.
Previously on a daily basis, I could work out what I was doing minute by minute and make priorities decisions on a daily basis. Now in transferring that principle to a longer time line, I’ve now got a map of what I want to achieve this week.
I’m allowing that to inform how I plan my daily schedules.
I’m going to play with that over the next few weeks and see how that goes.
I’ll report back certainly at the end of the week and then as things develop, if indeed it develops.
So that’s today’s episode.