Wednesday Doodle: Plan For Your Day

January 09, 2013


One of the biggest challenges as both a creative professional and a small business owner is figuring out how to balance my time and get things done. I've slowly created a system that works for me and central to it is the idea of "planning for your day." I used to sit down each morning and quickly pull together a to-do list of what I thought I needed to accomplish. This would inevitably lead to me remembering things I left off the list throughout the day and to trying to prioritize what I needed to conquer first. 

Over time, I've made a few changes that have helped me feel way more organized and ready to go each morning. First, I read Scott Belsky's book Making Ideas Happen. Belsky is the CEO and Founder of the online portfolio site Behance. The central idea is his system called the Action Method. The method is essentially a new way of thinking about to-do lists. One key component is the idea that "action steps" are tasks you need to do and each action step must start with a verb: "Create new mailer." "Design new mailer." "Buy postage for mailer." Using a verb helps incite you to take action and know what you need to do, rather than just scribbling "Mailer" down on your to-do list. Anything that doesn't get done at the end of the work day gets rolled over to the next day. There is an entire online application you can use for the method. I choose to stick to my trusty daily journal for recording my action steps. This simple change to seeing tasks as action steps has really helped me create better and more effective to-do lists.

The second change I'm trying to put into practice is reviewing my to-do list every evening. At the end of each work day, I try to pull together a list of tomorrow's "action steps." I recently read that there's some thought that reviewing your to-do list every evening helps you work more effectively the next day because your subconscious mulls over these tasks and problems while you sleep. An article on the 99U blog today elaborates on the science behind "sleeping on it." How do you get things done?

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