How To Learn To Plan: 4 Practical Tips

How to learn to plan

In the busy world we live in, we feel like we lack the time to do everything we had planned to do. Work tasks are priority and mandatory and, of course, we have to do them but, at the expense of them, it often happens that we do not enjoy our leisure and interpersonal relationships.

Not planning time means feeling like the hours, days, weeks and months become smaller and smaller, slipping through our hands while we feel like we are losing our life without being able to do much to avoid it.

But the truth is that we can change, improve our time management and the tasks we have set for ourselves. If you are one of those who wonders how to learn to plan your time better what comes next interests you.

How to learn to plan: 4 psychological keys

Time is that substance, it is an imaginary fluid that slips through our fingers without us being able to avoid it. It is curious how As we grow, the passage of time seems to accelerate, go faster, making what were previously hours now perceived as minutes, and minutes as seconds

Our days go by so quickly, they disappear, they fade away while we feel that we haven’t finished everything we wanted to do because the day doesn’t give us that much.

But there was once a time when he did give it to us: our childhood. At least it happens to me that when I was a child I gave myself time for everything and without even thinking about it or planning it. I went to school, I learned there and I did what the teachers told me to do, I played at recess without the break seeming to me to be too short, classes finished, I came home and did my homework before eating. The afternoon was wonderful, giving me time to play, study, watch TV and meet a friend from time to time.

My child self was, unintentionally, apparently much more responsible and efficient than my adult self, and it was all because of his perception of time. When you are little, the hours are longer than they are, and you don’t get the feeling that by doing one thing you are losing time for others. At least in my personal case, leisure, personal relationships, hobbies and academic responsibilities were well adjusted and, when I went to sleep early, I didn’t feel like I had wasted the day.

It is true that as children we have our parents who follow us, but really if at that age we could do everything, how can we not be able to manage our time as adults? Simply It is a matter of learning to plan, being constant, patient, knowing how to differentiate between what is a priority and what is not and accomplish what one proposes. Whatever our age, days will continue to be 24 hours, 1440 minutes and 86,400 seconds. It is up to us how we use our time.

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But for this you need to know how to do it…

1. Organizing our lives. The importance of the to-do list

We cannot manage time well without properly planning the day and, to do so, we have to organize ourselves This sounds obvious, and for many it may be, but in practice people tend to underestimate the importance of being clear first thing in the morning or during the work day what needs to be done today/this week.

It usually happens that the fact that the day has seemed shorter than it is is because we have started it wrong. We leave the difficult things for last, thinking that if we do the easiest and shortest thing to do we will motivate ourselves and we will be more prepared to face the complex things at the end of the day. The problem is that since we have invested all our strength in easy things during the morning, when the most difficult thing arrives it overwhelms us, overwhelms us and we do it reluctantly and poorly.

Other times, what happens, more to do with the difficulty, has to do with the problem of not knowing what tasks need to be done In other words, we do know them deep in our minds, but since we do not have them written down on a list nor have we made a plan, as the day goes by we have to remember these tasks. Since human memory is not infallible, we may remember to do X or Y too late, do it in a hurry, and feel frustrated for not having remembered sooner.

Whatever our possible case, all this can be solved by doing something very simple. We simply need a little time, reflection and patience: a to-do list. Easy, right? By simply putting on a piece of paper or a mobile application that reminds us what needs to be done, we will be well aware of what tasks, goals or objectives to accomplish throughout the day or week. When we finish one we will simply have to look at the list and see what is next, without getting into a crisis or wasting time remembering what was next.

In this list we will not only put the tasks to be done, but also the time we estimate they will take us. This is very subjective and, in fact, in theory we are more optimistic than in practice. By this I mean that if, for example, we believe that a task is going to make us lose an hour of our lives, the reality is that it will probably take us much longer. A recommendation is that, to the time we estimate it will take, we add about 30-45 minutes of courtesy. So, If we take longer than we thought, we will not despair believing that we are wasting the time allocated to the next task

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Making a list or writing down our tasks in an agenda is something that we should do with some frequency, the ideal being every day so that we acquire the habit of planning our day in the morning. In this to-do list too We must incorporate possible unforeseen events, anything that could waste our time This depends more on us and the type of tasks and jobs we do, which is why it is very important that we remember the unforeseen events we had in the past, looking at the time they caused us to lose and writing it down on the list as potential time to lose.

Organize the day

2. Tasks within tasks

Once we are clear about the tasks to be carried out throughout the day and the associated objectives, it is time to divide them into small activities. The reason for this has directly to do with our motivation At least my case is the following: if I have to do an enormous task, for which I estimate that I will have to dedicate a lot of time, I start to feel very lazy to even start it. It seems that the longer the task, the longer it takes me to do it.

On the other hand, if I subdivide that same task into small tasks, which will take me, say, 20 or 30 minutes, I become more motivated and may even do them in one go without realizing it. Little by little I am moving forward and, when I look at everything I have done up to that point, I feel even more motivated to do what remains. Working like this makes me see the glass half full instead of half empty, or in this case, the task half done and close to completion.

It is true that this depends a lot on the task at hand, but In most cases all our goals for the day can be subdivided into many others For example, we have to write a report in our office that we have calculated will take at least 2 hours out of our lives. Instead of seeing it like this, let’s see it as that we have to do about 5 sections that will take us about 20-30 minutes to complete each one. We have converted a large task into 5 smaller ones that motivate us more to do them.

3. Set priorities

Once we have made the list and have marked the smallest tasks in each of its sections, it is time to establish priorities. What we consider priority or not will depend on many things, although one guideline is to put whatever is longest as priority, basically because Leaving the most complicated and heavy things for the end of the day, when we are tired from having done the rest of the pending tasks, will overwhelm us more and, on top of that, we will feel that we are doing our job worse.

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Must establish the urgency, importance and duration of each task and assess, based on these parameters, how priority it is to do them We have to be realistic and understand how we work, understanding that if there are things that are really difficult for us to do, it would be best to give them priority, lest they accumulate and make us even more overwhelmed by having to do them.

Everyone is free to mark themselves in the way they like best, which indicates what is a priority and what is not. We can use color systems, question marks, underlining, highlighting with a symbol… anything is valid to remind us what is most important. We can also redo the list and put things in order according to their priority and set alarms on our cell phones that notify us of what needs to be done at each hour, so we won’t forget to follow the order we have proposed.

Here we insist that all this must be done every day or, at least, with some frequency but, and almost more important than anything, respect it. It is of absolutely no use to us to put on a list what we have to do, to indicate the importance of each task and how much time it will take us to do each of them if, later on, we do not respect our own planning.

It is true that Unforeseen events may occur and we may have to change one task for another as the day goes by, but that is one thing and another is that we want to start with the easy ones and leave the complicated at the end. It is not a good idea.

4. Planning our life is planning everything

Up to this point I have insisted a lot on work-oriented planning, but that is not the only thing we must organize in our lives. Leisure, personal relationships, our hobbies and life goals are part of life and are aspects that we must also plan if we want all areas to function as we would like.

Not everything in life is work and, if we let work absorb us, the frustration of seeing how we do not have time for activities and needs that satisfy us will make us perform worse and be unhappy.

For example, if we have the desire to learn a new language, that should also go on our daily to-do list. The goal of learning the language in question can be broken down into smaller tasks, such as learning new vocabulary, practicing pronunciation, or reading a book in the target language. Planning this, breaking it down into easy and quick activities to do, will make us feel that we are achieving this goal that we have set for ourselves.

Whatever personal desires we want to fulfill, we cannot ignore them Planning our lives applies to absolutely everything and, if we do it and follow it, we will feel like when we were children and we had time for everything. Let’s plan our lives as much as possible to feel more productive and happy.