"How we live our days is how we live our lives."
- Annie Dillard
There is a tension for each one of us between accomplishing our plans for the day and dealing with the unexpected.
In my experience, I have observed three types of time managers.
The Drifter heads into the day with no specific game plan or daily goals. They figuratively shrug their shoulders and say it is futile to plan the day because something will inevitably come up and sabotage their plans.
They are like a piece of driftwood on the waves, going whichever way the day takes them. (This is also known as 'flying by the seat of your pants.')
The drawback with this approach is the lack of looking at the long term. Everything is immediate. With no daily list of priorities or goals, there is a lack of focus and direction. There may be activity but not much accomplishment.
The Driver is the opposite of the Drifter. The Driver heads into the day with a very specific game plan and checklist. They put their head down and do whatever it takes to complete the list.
The Driver may get a lot accomplished but they leave little room for opportunities and issues that come up during the day. There is little time for spontaneous relationship building. Everything not planned is seen as an annoying interruption. Because of their lack of flexibility, the Driver is often frustrated and stressed.
The Designer is the most effective time manager. The Designer balances structure and flexibility. The Designer enters the day with a solid game plan but leaves themselves margin. They are clear on what they want to accomplish during the day, but allow room for relationship building and addressing important, 'on the spot' issues.
The reality of life is that you need to focus on some important priorities and be able to adapt to unexpected events. The Designer has the flexibility to focus on the right task, at the right time with the right amount of energy.
Decide to be a Designer!
To help you design your day, I have developed a 'Win the Day' Action Plan. I use this daily planning sheet every day. You can download it here. I hope you find it helpful.
This 'Win the Day' Action Plan resource is just one resource that is shared as part of my In Control! Personal Productivity MasterClass Public Workshop. To register or learn more, click here.