Planning and Prioritizing: 3 Tips for Self-Management


One of the most common misconceptions of productivity is that it is measured by how much you can accomplish in one day. But obsessing over crossing things off your to-do list can quickly cause stress and exhaustion. You’re more likely to get overwhelmed and to burn out quickly. So what’s the key to productivity? It’s in self-management. Being able to self-manage your day with careful planning and prioritization will maximize your potential and leave you with a sense of accomplishment.

Self-management is one of the most important skills to have if you work from home. To help you maximize your productivity, we’ve put together three tips for self-management.

1. Keep Lists of Three


The best way to start your day is by creating your run-of-the-mill to-do list. The first list has three things you will do today. This list is pretty much your standard to-do-list with three of your most prioritized tasks. Limiting yourself to three main tasks allows you to realistically achieve your daily goals and forces you to focus on the important stuff.

Backburner List

The second is three things you’d like to get done, but aren’t essential. Think of it as your “backburner” list. If you manage to achieve your three goals for the day, you can revert to this list as a source for more tasks. You can also use this list as a springboard to plan ahead for tomorrow’s to-do list.

Reverse Checklist

While a usual checklist includes a list of tasks you want to complete, a reverse checklist reflects tasks you have completed. Taking time to reflect on your accomplishments at the end of the day keeps not only ensures you’re achieving your goals, but also helps you plan for the next day. This is a great way to improve your self-management.

2. Block Your Time

Leadership coach Jason Womack has developed an interesting method for self-managing your day. His suggestion is to divide your day into 96 different 15 minute blocks. Womack’s strategy is to “make a list of 20 to 30 tasks you can accomplish in less than 15 minutes….This is not a list of to-dos, but rather the extras”, including the everyday tasks such as making a trip to the grocery store, picking up the kids from school or going to the gym. Some tasks may take up more than one 15-minute block. By doing this, you can properly plan and prioritize a productive day, ensuring you have enough time to accomplish everything on your checklist.

3. Harness the Power of Apps

Let’s face it. Most of us are fairly attached to our phones. So why not download a couple of productivity apps? Both the Google and Apple app stores carry a plethora of apps designed to aid you in self-management. You can find an app to help self-manage your daily routine. Google Calendar or Apple’s iCal are a definite must for planning and maintaining a daily schedule. One of the most renowned productivity apps, Evernote is an online notebook for storing photos, notes, websites, PDFs and to-do lists. There’s also Trello, Wunderlist and Any.Do, all apps focused on creating and completing checklists. These apps are just a few great examples of self-management tools easily available.

Try incorporating these practices into your daily routine. Being able to self-manage with careful planning and prioritization will be sure to enhance your productivity and lead you towards the path of success.

How do you to plan ahead and prioritize? Share this article and let us know!