Workplace productivity is key to long-term success and learning how to plan your workday in a way that puts your mind at ease and optimizes your productivity is a major life skill. Living in the digital era and working remotely means that we are now surrounded by more distractions than ever. Learning how to plan your workday will not only help you keep distractions at bay, but it will also increase your productivity.

Keep reading to unlock productivity hacks that will help you plan your workday for maximum efficiency.  

Why planning your workday is so important

When you plan your day, you gain a greater sense of the tasks that require your attention. Planning your day and organizing your time makes it possible for you to schedule time for deep work while prioritising important tasks that require your undivided attention so you can work on improving your productivity. 

Time management helps you organize your daily tasks, and day-to-day operations which makes it possible for you to plan your time; ensuring you have the bandwidth to complete everything on your to-do list. When you have ample time to complete everything you had planned, the quality of your work will improve because you will no longer be rushing to meet fast-approaching deadlines. 

How to plan your workday 

Planning your workday may seem difficult or even overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. These tips and tricks will leave you feeling energized, inspired, and ready to take on your day. Here are 8 hacks that you can integrate into your daily schedule to help you increase productivity: 

1     Schedule time for planning 

The greatest managers and leaders of all time schedule time for planning. Whether it be your new Sunday night ritual, or an hour you block off on your Google calendar on Friday afternoons, planning your daily tasks should be a daily, weekly, or monthly practice that you integrate into your schedule. 

Scheduling time for planning will ensure you’re not forgetting any tasks or important deadlines. Prioritizing planning will also help you move forward with confidence because you will know exactly what you’re getting into when you start each and every workday. When you plan effectively, you are setting yourself up for success and eliminating the added stress that comes with being unorganized or ill prepared for the week ahead. If you’re interested in learning more about being hyper-organized and on top of things at work, you can check out these organizational and productivity tips

2     Write down your top priorities

Nothing is quite as daunting as starting out the workweek with a lengthy list of to-dos that seem completely unobtainable. Instead of overwhelming yourself with every task that’s on your mind, writing down your top priorities and narrowing down a starting point is a great way to put your mind at ease. When you’ve listed your top priorities, you’re giving yourself a clear starting point so you know exactly what you should be spending your time on. 

If you aren’t sure where to start, consider making a list of everything you know you have to accomplish and pairing down the list with action items that are more urgent than others. If you’re looking for additional tips, learn how you can set actionable and achievable deadlines that help you reach your goals.

Pro tip

Organize your day to maximize productivity in Fellow by having a view of your calendar, a space for private or shared notes, and a gallery of agenda templates!

3    Highlight the one thing you must accomplish

Similarly, to the way in which writing down your top priorities helps to point you in a clear direction, highlighting the one thing that you must accomplish at the beginning of each workday will narrow down exactly what you need to work on and complete by the end of the day. 

Not only will narrowing down your focus help you stay focused and on track, but it will also provide you with a sense of purpose and accomplishment when you check this particular action item off of your to-do list. 

4     Time block your calendar 

Time blocking is an excellent tool that helps you become more aware of how you’re spending your time. Time blocking can help you organize your day-to-day and complete your daily tasks by: 

·       Grouping similar tasks 

·       Helping you set boundaries 

·       Promoting deep work on single tasks

·       Encouraging you to reflect on your priorities

·       Discouraging multitasking and procrastination 

5 Leave time for breaks 

No one can be productive 24/7 and constantly working will only leave you feeling overworked and burnt out. Setting time aside to take frequent breaks will leave you feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to take on your next task. It’s important to listen to your body and take breaks as needed. You can also take a proactive stance and preemptively schedule breaks into your schedule. 

Taking the time to plan small breaks that feed your soul will not only leave you feeling refreshed and energized, but it will also boost your mood. If you love the outdoors, consider penciling in a quick walk. If you love a good cup of coffee, you may want to walk to your favorite local café. If you’re looking to stay home, you can start your timer and do some stretches. The main thing to keep in mind is to make sure you’re choosing an activity that recharges your battery long term. 

6 Allocate time to review and work 

Meetings are meant for brainstorming and collaborating on epic ideas, and we often find ourselves leaving important meetings with an endless list of pressing action items. If you don’t work on integrating these action items into your calendar, you may spend too much time on other tasks and fail to make these meeting action items a priority, and nothing is worse than showing up to a meeting and not having done what you said you were going to do. 

Successful people make time blocking a priority. If you want to complete a task, you have to organize your day and add it to an organizational tool of your choice like Google Calendar. Make sure you schedule some time in your calendar to review your meeting action items and work on them, so you don’t feel pressed for time, and show up to the next meeting feeling prepared. 

7 Check your email at designated times 

Similarly to the way in which social media can be extremely distracting, checking your work emails is a quick way to draw your attention away from the task at hand. Chances are, you’re going to be receiving tons of work emails. Your boss may have a pressing matter that needs to be taken care of, a deadline may have gotten moved up, or someone may be piling additional tasks on your plate. Regardless, it’s best to only check your email at designated times. 

Checking your email throughout the day will distract you and draw your attention away from your to-do list. If the email is extremely pressing and will only take a moment to reply, you can send a quick response. If the email requires your undivided attention and a lengthy reply, it’s best to wait until your designated time so you can continue to focus and prioritise the task at hand. 

8 Set boundaries, especially when working from home 

Setting boundaries at work means you’re holding yourself accountable and you can rely on others to do the same. You’re taking responsibility for your work and your results by setting a schedule that allows you to perform at your best. Setting boundaries at work is imperative because it helps you plan your day accordingly. If you know you’re only going to be working for a set number of hours, you can prioritize your most important tasks and plan to complete them during a specific period of time. 

When you’re working from home, the lines between your personal life and your work life can begin to blur. When you’re planning your day, it’s important to set clear boundaries by deciding and specifying when you’re going to start and finish work. After you’ve set your boundaries, stick to them, and don’t work past a certain hour. 

Consistency is the key to increasing your productivity at work 

The tips and tricks for planning your day that we’ve outlined above are meant to help you bring your productivity at work to the next level. There’s no one size fits all solution and the key to being successful in this scenario is to remain consistent. Creating consistent habits that attribute to being more productive and reinforcing positive behaviours that help you achieve your goals are key. Productive time blocks turn into productive days that turn into productive weeks, and before you know it, you’ll be crushing your work-related goals and exceeding everyone’s expectations.