Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Do you use your productivity system for planning? Or just for keeping track of where you have to be and what you have to do?
There is an important difference here: planning indicates that you have considered your workload for the day, and have laid out what you will do (and consequently what you won’t do). Keeping track of things means you’re just rushing through the lists without much thought as to why you are doing things.
Planning leads to relaxation. Simply marching through grids and lists leads to burnout.
Which camp are you in?
What Planning Is
Planning is the act of sitting down, weeding through your schedule, tasks and commitments, and laying them out in a way that leaves you space and time to relax.
This means you start with your calendar, the place where you have committed to do something at a specific time. Planning will take a look at the calendar and see if it is too crowded; if it is, you can either jettison or delay some items. (Although a chronically overstuffed calendar points to a deeper problem of super-heroism, but that’s for another day.)
Next you look at the things you have committed to do, but not on a given day. And you look at the things you must do to bring about future events. And you look at the things you would like to do.
Planning means sifting through those lists, asking if you should be the one doing it if you should do it at all, or if you should do this particular task (or if another one would be more suitable). It means letting go of some of these tasks when your day becomes so stuffed you don’t have time to breathe or eat.
What It Gets You
Quite simply, using any productivity system — whether a paper planner, the 7 Habits, GTD or others — without planning is going to lead to burnout, eventually.
With planning you have the ability to schedule relaxation and recreation in. You can adjust your load to fit your energy and your needs.
You get to run your life, instead of having life run you.
How It Fits Into Productivity
The funny thing is that every productivity system I have ever seen (and I differentiate here between productivity systems and task management systems), mention planning at some point. But too many people get sucked into the do-more-quicker-better-faster mode, and forget about the planning.
It really doesn’t take long to do, either, and it will boost your productivity. Why? Because you will be working on the things that have the most worth, and giving yourself the breaks you need to stay on top.
What do you think? Is planning necessary for productivity in your mind? Do you plan? Or do you just do? Share below!