How To Plan Your Day

Time management gurus the world over will tell you that the best time to plan your day is the day before. "Planning tomorrow today" is a great habit for success, because it allows you to commit to sometimes difficult choices while you are calm and not yet in the thick of it, and you also have time to react now if you should discover that the coming day is untenable.

Therefore, consider reserving a daily appointment with yourself to "plan tomorrow today", by choosing New Item, call it "plan tomorrow today", and set it to recur daily near the end of your workday, with a Duration of perhaps 20 minutes, an Earliest Begin Time of blank and a Latest End Time perhaps 30 minutes from the end of your workday. (This thirty minutes allows you to still have time to take corrective actions, such as calling someone to reschedule a meeting, if necessary.) It's important to schedule more time that you'll likely need, so that you have time to think proactively and jot down future ideas that often arise as you start imagining great outcomes for tomorrow.

Fortunately, with TimeTo™, planning tomorrow (or planning today, if you choose to do so in the morning) can often go very quickly since, unlike many planners that force you to manually move items from one day to the next, TimeTo™ can very likely plan tomorrow for you. Nonetheless, a daily review is always a good idea, as you'll always get the time back and more due to more efficient time use tomorrow. You'll also get better outcomes and a reduced likelihood of breaking any commitments you've made. As well, reading over what's coming allows our subconscious to start imagining success for each item. So, let's do it:

For this example, we're going to assume you are in Pro mode, since this gives us the advantage of using all of TimeTo's automatic planning abilities.

First, press Ctrl+S or the Today button on the toolbar to select Day View, and take a last look at today: if there is anything due today that is left undone that you know you won't complete today, then double-click on the item to view the Item Properties, then change the Deadline field and extend the deadline by at least one day.

Now press RightArrow once, or click the Next Day button on the toolbar (it's directly to the right of the Today button), to move to viewing tomorrow.

Press Alt+F8, or click the Balance All Days button on the toolbar, to run Balance All Days. It is possible that Balance All Days will be complete almost instantaneously if you don't have many items in your schedule. It is also possible that Balance All Days will have trouble scheduling all items within the bounds of their deadlnes and other factors: if so, TimeTo will offer suggestions on how to resolve the conflicts in your schedule: for details on how that works, please read the Balance All Days help topic.

Now, take a look at the Schedule Statistics across the top of tomorrow's Day View: if it reports "no conflicts", then planning is very easy: simply read down the list and confirm for yourself that you understand what has to be done, that the durations you've planned for the items are reasonable, that you have everything you need to do what you've planned, and that you've been precise about your next actions on each. You may find, for instance, that you may have a meeting at 2pm but that you haven't set aside time yet to plan how you'll get there, so you'll an add an item due by 2pm to finish planning for the meeting. Once you get good at this, you'll often find you have tomorrow planned in under five minutes (in fact, once you get accustomed to knowing that this meeting with yourself is coming each day, you'll find yourself building better items as you go through your day, because you'll be motivated by knowing that you'll prefer this meeting with yourself be as short and sweet as possible).

However, if the Schedule Statistics did report a conflict or that the day is overbooked (or you can see that the Start Time of any items are red), then as you review consider each item that is due that day (they are easy to find because items that either have a Start Date of that day or whose deadline is that day are in a different color that other items, as defined in Colors Settings) and extend the deadlines of any items that really don't have to be done that day. You can then use the Lighten Load command (Ctrl+Alt+DownArrow) to have TimeTo choose an item to push to a future day, or Balance All Days again to push as many of those items to a future day as is required (either of these commands will bias towards first choosing appropriate items of lower priority or whose deadline is far away). If you still have conflicts, then consider rescheduling meetings, delegating items to reduce their durations, or as a last resort get some of the work done today instead.

Once you have your plan for tomorrow balanced, you can rest confident that you have no "open loops", and that you can head into tomorrow with a confident, proactive plan. And as you sleep, your mind can start solving tomorrow's problems for you.


Four more tips for planning a successful tomorrow:


Related Topics
Balance Settings
Other Settings

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