Pick ‘n’ Mix Planning – How to increase your productivity and have more fun!


Have you ever promised yourself a day to get a particularly big task done, and then ended up doing everything but the task you wanted to get done?

You know the sort of day I mean.   You sit down at your desk – full of good intentions, and decide to just clear your emails first.  Two hours later you refocus ‘I must try harder’ so you give yourself a good talking to and – go and make a quick coffee so that you are then ready to re-start but as you enter your office you see what a mess your desk is in ……. and so it goes on.  It can feel like such hard work to focus on one thing only.

If your preferred approach to working is to pic ‘n’ mix tasks rather than spend a whole day working on one task, then I suggest that instead of fighting it, you EMBRACE IT!

Try splitting your day up into 1 hour chunks and give each chunk a topic heading.  The aim is to mix things up a bit, to go for variety as much as possible.  As an example, I run my own business and yesterday, my key task for was to design a course, but rather than spend the whole day doing just that, I split my time up into the following 1 hour chunks:-

1.  Design course outline

2.  Prospect for new clients

3.  Reading/learning/self-development

4. Develop framework for course hand-outs

5. Business admin (mileage, accounts etc)

6. Create Power Point slides for course

7. Strategic planning for business

8. Write course hand-outs

What I found interesting was that I was far more productive in designing my course in this way.  I was completely focused in that hour and then, by moving onto something else completely different, when it was time to return to my course, I came to it with fresh eyes and enthusiasm.

How you choose to chunk your day up will vary, but in the process of doing so, it helps you to see how you spend your time and where the more obvious gaps are too.  Generally the things you don’t want to do are where you would normally spend least time.  However, they may be the areas where you should/need to be spending more time!  For example, should you be spending some crucial time on planning rather than just ploughing on through a massive workload?

It’s surprising how much easier it is to be motivated to get some of those unpleasant tasks done when you know you only have to spend an hour doing them and can then move onto something more enjoyable.  You might even find it helpful to plan your whole day, not just your working hours.  Perhaps you could allocate an hour to ‘well-being’ (exercise, relaxation etc), or 1 hour to cooking and eating your evening meal, an hour spent planning your Summer holiday?

By planning your day in this way, you will be working to your particular strengths and as a result you may well be surprised how much more you get done.