Once we realize the importance of focussing on non-urgent but important tasks we are ready to set our diaries to work. When entering into your diary it is best to tackle the whole week and this can easily be done over a half an hour period. I review my coming week every Sunday as I find it puts me in a focussed state of mind for the week ahead.
I have to agree with Stephen R Covey that when planning your week it is best to consider when you are most awake. Are you a morning person or do you feel more productive in the afternoon? Leaving the most demanding activities for when you are most alert will result in superior work. Now you have your diary and you are ready to plan your week, Stephen R Covey recommends entering in time for all of your non-urgent but important tasks first, such as working on your goals. After that schedule in your urgent and important tasks like working on goals or projects that are approaching a deadline for example. Leave slack or ‘free time’ for urgent but not important tasks such as phone calls and some mail which may crop up throughout the day as this will help make your schedule realistic. Last but not least, take time to schedule in fun and relaxation. If we fail to make time for fun and relaxation we can leave ourselves vulnerable to stress and even burn out. In my upcoming feature this December I will look further at stress and together we will explore how to not only manage our stress levels, but significantly reduce them too. So, in order to avoid our stress levels rising, it is vital to schedule in fun and relaxation, as no matter how focussed we are, we all need time to unwind and play. It is no exaggeration to say that this approach to time management has completely transformed my productivity.