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How to start planning effectively?

2023-03-01 — Written by Matt

Get yourself some help with planning.

  1. Establish the WHY
  2. Why choose a writing by hand?
  3. What is a time-blocking technique?
  4. Why plan your entire week ahead and map out every day?
  5. How do you stick to your plan?

Establish the WHY

To start planning effectively, you have to establish the WHY:

  • Why do you want to start planning?
  • Would you like to accomplish more goals?
  • Would you like to stop procrastinating?
  • Would you like to have better use of your day?

Then, when you have established your WHY… here is what you want to do next:

  • Start planning your entire week. Do it ahead of time, preferably on Sunday evening.
  • Start planning your full days: work and things you want to do after work. Your personal goals are just as important.
  • Cut off digital noise so you can focus.
  • A pen on paper guarantees better results.
  • Use time blocking technique to make the most of your days.
  • Work your commitment to staying on track like it’s a muscle! Got distracted? No problem, just go back to the task at hand.

Why choose a writing by hand?

This subject has been researched on a number of occasions and recently re-evaluated by Professor Audrey van der Meer at Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The studies were conducted using an EEG to track and record brain wave activity. The clear findings are that writing by hand creates much more activity in the sensorimotor parts of the brain than typing or using a touch screen. Both children and adults learn more and remember better when writing by hand.

If you want an example from the business world, reach out to Robert Cialdini’s bestselling book Influence: Science and Practice. Chapter 3 - Commitment and Consistency, explain how writing things down strengthens our need for consistency becomes even stronger and creates a commitment.

What is a time-blocking technique?

It simply is a scheduling format which helps boost productivity. When planning, you divide your day into specific blocks of time and schedule similar tasks.

For example:

  • block of 90 minutes for cognitive tasks in the morning when your mind is fresh and rested
  • block of 30 minutes for admin tasks (checking emails, phone calls, etcetera) in the afternoon

Time-blocking is a very powerful time managing technique. Most successful people in business are using it, including Bill Gates and Elon Musk.

Why plan your entire week ahead and map out every day?

On a practical level, this helps you to be realistic with your time. You will see how many tasks you can fit into your week and how to navigate them more seamlessly. Also, planning weekly helps to reduce over-commitment, which is unhealthy and bad for morale. Just don’t do it.

How do you stick to your plan?

We all know that planning is one thing and executing your plan is another.

Dr Gail Matthews, who ran the Dominican University of California, studied that subject from a psychology perspective. She found empirical evidence for the effectiveness of three coaching tools: accountability, commitment, and writing down one’s goals.

A Weekly printable planner helps you to utilise all three of them.

  • Sitting down with no distractions to complete your planning enhances accountability.
  • Planning your entire week with a realistic view that all your tasks are attainable cement the commitment.
  • Writing it by hand supports you in achieving your goals.

Plan your time without distractions

Tired of app notifications? Design limitations?
TimeBlockMaster helps you organize your weekly schedule without distractions. Stay productive and on track to accomplish your goals.