Not a lot of people take the time to create a productivity plan; a plan for their time each day. But, not doing so is a huge disadvantage.
In fact, without having a plan, you’re likely to spend each day in chaos, trying to get organized with things that should have been handled days ago.
You don’t want that. You want to move forward, not backward. That’s where having a productivity plan becomes so important.
How To Create An Effective Productivity Plan – Optimize Time
As I’ll mention below, there’s a lot of ground to cover when it comes to creating an effective productivity plan. But don’t worry, this post will serve as your guide.
It will walk you through the big questions you want answered. Questions like:
- What is a productivity plan?
- Why do I need one?
- How can I create a plan?
- Plus more
If you’re ready to get started, scroll down and start building your effective productivity plan.
What is a productivity plan?
To start, let’s discuss what a productivity plan is. Well, a productivity plan is a plan that you create for your time. It is a combination of:
- Looking at what you need to do
- Recognizing when you need to do it
- And then creating a schedule that organizes your day in a manageable order
In other words, it’s a way to map out your time so that you can get everything done that you need to each day AND make real progress forward.
That may sound easy, but there’s a good amount to it. Because you can’t just throw some tasks on a list and call it a day.
It requires more thought, more deliberation. You need to understand your big picture, where you’re going, and why you want to go there in the first place. Things like goal setting, time management, and productivity are all factors that you’ll need to keep in mind when creating your plan each day.
Now, I don’t say that to scare or overwhelm you. After all, this post will walk you through what you need to do.
So don’t panic.
I only mention it so that you can be aware of what’s required to create an effective plan for your time each day. A productivity plan that helps you do more with your time.
Make more progress
Having a productivity plan is essential. Why? Because of what it allows you to do: better optimize your time and get more high-level tasks done.
I touch on this a little bit in my post on daily planning, but essentially, having a plan for your time allows you to focus on the important things and disregard the unimportant.
It allows you to prioritize your tasks so that each thing you work on will help you make progress towards your goals.
That means that in the micro, see your productivity plan as a way to make more progress in the short term. And conversely, in the macro, the big picture, realize that the more progress you make today, the more progress you’ll be making each week and then each month.
Soon you’ll find that you are moving faster and more effectively than ever before. And the more efficiently you progress, the more quickly you will reach your goals and eventually attain the ideal life that you’re after.
Wow. Didn’t think having a productivity plan would be such a big deal, right?
Well, it is.
But don’t overthink it.
In fact, this is one of those things that I cover in great detail within my productivity course. That while it’s incredibly helpful to have a plan for your time, there are a lot of different ways to be productive.
So see your productivity plan as just 1 of a handful of tools in your tool belt. See it as your action plan to improve productivity at work, school, in your health and fitness, or really any area that you are looking to make progress in.
How to create your productivity plan
Now that you understand what a productivity plan is and why it’s so important, it’s now time to learn how to create a plan of your very own.
While going through the following steps, keep in mind that you can create a plan for a number of different scenarios. You can create a plan with your work in mind so that you can enhance productivity in the workplace. Or you can just as easily create a plan for your entire day.
Either way, the following steps are ones that you can apply to your time in whatever way you’d like. With that, here are the steps to creating your very own productivity plan.
Step 1 – List everything out
The first step to creating your productivity plan is to list out all of the tasks that you need to do within a certain amount of time.
For instance, if you are creating a plan for the hour of downtime you have between getting home from work and going to the gym, you’d want to write down every single task that you need to do during that hour.
Step 2 – Organize by importance
The next step is to re-organize your list by importance. Go ahead and place your highest-importance tasks at the top and your lowest-importance tasks at the bottom.
With that in mind though, I need to really make a point about the term importance here. Because… well… it’s important.
When I say important tasks, I mean tasks that will help you make progress towards your goals. Not tasks that are irrelevant or are easy chores to handle.
Important tasks are ones that will help you achieve your goals. So keep those in mind while doing this step.
Step 3 – Note your time
With that step now complete, the next step is to note your time. To do that, you need to do 2 things. Note how much time:
- You have total
- Each task requires
So if you have 1 hour to complete your tasks, your total time available is 1 hour. And then looking at your list, you’ll want to note how long each task should take to complete.
For example, if 1 of your tasks is to create a design and it should take 25 minutes to complete, you’ll write down – 25 min: Create design
IMPORTANT: Before doing this step, you need to first be aware of Parkinson’s Law. For that, you can read my guide to Parkinson’s Law < there.
Step 4 – Finalize it
The next part in creating your productivity plan is to finalize your list. Take a look at the total amount of time you have available. Then add up the total time you need to complete all your tasks.
For instance, if you need 2 hours to complete all your tasks, but only have 1 hour available, that’s a problem.
In that case, you would remove the lower importance items to ensure that you can get everything done within that hour. Or if you find that you have 45 minutes worth of tasks and 1 hour available total, that’s perfect.
Your list is ready to go and you can move onto the next step.
Step 5 – Do the work
The final phase is to now do the work. You have your finalized plan, you’re ready, and now it’s time to take action.
Work through your list, keep yourself focused and on track. Make the progress that you are wanting to make by taking action and by putting in real, meaningful work.
Speaking of focus, if you need some help concentrating, I recommend these 2 posts:
Bonus step: There’s more to it
The steps I just described are great, but they’re just a taste, a sample of a much more detailed, in-depth strategy.
What do I mean?
Well, each step that I touched on earlier is actually a brief, summarized version of my free, 5-day productivity plan bootcamp. A bootcamp that covers each part of the productivity planning process in great detail.
Let me explain.
The bootcamp is a free, 5-day email series. And each day I email you with a lesson that covers 1 of the steps that I described above, BUT in a lot more detail. Each step builds upon the last and the aim of the bootcamp is to help you create a solid plan for your productivity each day.
In other words, see the steps described above like Cliff-Notes, whereas this bootcamp is the book. More detail, more instruction, more results for you.
Plus, a productivity plan example that you can follow along with to help clarify the lessons and prevent any second-guessing.
With that, you have 2 options moving forward…
Option 1: If you are happy with the way I summarized the steps, that’s great! Feel free to move onto the next section of this post.
Option 2: But, if you want something a little more detailed, a little more in-depth and helpful, I highly recommend signing up for my bootcamp. It’s completely free and you can sign up right here:
When to create your productivity plan
You now know what a productivity plan is, why it’s important to have a plan, and how to create it. The next item on the agenda is when to sit down and create your productivity plan.
And the simple answer is… really whenever you want.
Whenever you want to put in real, meaningful work you should create a plan for your time so that it gets spent wisely.
That said, I recommend creating your plan at the end of each day with your next day in mind. Meaning that if today is Monday, at the end of today you’d want to create your plan for Tuesday.
So that when you wake up, you’ll be able to get right to work without having to scramble or waste time figuring out your plan. You’ll be prepared and ready to go. You’ll have your plan and can get right to work.
To conclude this guide to creating your very own productivity plan is the final piece of the puzzle – where to do your productivity planning.
And good news! I saved the easiest part for last. Because deciding where to create your productivity plan is straightforward and entirely up to you.
You don’t need a fancy productivity planner. You can simply use a note on your phone, or a Google Doc, or a pad of paper with a pen. Keep it simple and write out your plan on whatever is most accessible to you.
Let me repeat that last point.
Keep it simple. Seriously.
In fact, go ahead and apply that advice to this entire post. Productivity plans can quickly become some long, drawn-out, complicated thing. Don’t let that happen though.
Keep your plans simple, easy to navigate, and well organized. Write them down somewhere that you can get to easily (like a note on your phone) and watch how you start to make real progress forward each day.
Moving forward with your productivity plan
That’s it! You’ve made it to the end of this post and are now prepared to create an effective productivity plan. So well done for making it this far.
Well, first and foremost, don’t let this newfound knowledge go to waste. Actually go through each of the steps that I described and create a plan that you’re excited about.
Don’t just chalk this post up to a “good read.” No. Put in the work!
Because remember, you read this post for a reason.
Maybe you felt like you don’t do enough with your day, or that you have a hard time making progress with all the chaos going on around you. Or maybe you were looking for ways to give more deliberate, meaningful effort to your time.
Whatever the reason, you had a real, honest intent behind reading this post. Don’t waste it! Instead, create a productivity plan of your very own and start moving faster and more effectively towards your goals.
With that in mind, if you want something a little more in-depth, I highly recommend signing up for my free, 5-day productivity plan bootcamp. Again, this bootcamp is a 5-day email series.
Each day I’ll email you 1 new lesson based around the steps that I touched on earlier, except in much greater detail.
It’s a fantastic way to add even more knowledge on top of the foundation that this post provided. If interested you can sign up right here:
Whatever peaks your interest
Let’s say you:
- Read through this post
- Signed up for my free bootcamp
- Are going to read through the lessons each day
- And still want more resources to help you do more with your time
Well then you’re in luck. I have a handful of posts that complement this guide very well. Some are list-based others are how-to’s.
My recommendation? Take a look at the list below and start reading through whatever topic first peaks your interest.
Some additional topics to read alongside this post are:
- How to create a better morning routine
- Tips for having a productive day
- Time management books to read
- And various time management strategies to try out
- Bonus: you can also sign up for my time mastery courses < there