Do not allow your workload to accumulate on a long “To-do” list or you will be paralyzed by the weight of it all. Just the sight of it will prompt you to procrastinate. You will lose time trying to sort out the priorities and making up your mind which ones to do first. And remember that lists are only intentions; they are not commitments.

Instead, quickly identify those things that are both important and urgent and write them into your planner, a few each day throughout the week. I recommend that you plan 7 workdays ahead, blocking off time for each task as though it were a doctor’s appointment. Simply guess how much time you will need and allow another 20% or so, just in case. But never schedule more than 90 minutes on any one task. If you think you will need more time for a task, schedule that time later in the day or on the following day. If it is so urgent that you must complete it that same day, at least allow time for a break before blocking off another chunk of time for it.

Avoid marathon work sessions greater than 90 minutes. You will only deplete your energy quicker, and your efficiency will decrease.

Once you have blocked off time for all the tasks that are both urgent and important, schedule time for those that are equally important, but not as urgent. If you do not have room for everything within the first seven days, after allowing at least 20% of the remaining planner space for contingencies, plus breaks, go no further without first taking action to diminish your workload. If you do have space left in your planner, keep it available for other important tasks that will invariably occur during those seven days.

You can diminish your workload by deleting something, delaying something, outsourcing something, or getting assistance from your boss or others. But you should never have more work ahead of you then you can complete in seven days. And this includes anything you have delayed.

Through the aid of personal efficiency or technology, you may be able to get work done faster, but you should never use evenings or weekends to get the work done. Both renewal time and sleep time are essential.

If you need help in keeping on top of your job, refer to my e-book, How to Keep on Top of Your Job, published by Bookboon.com. To make the 7-day work plan work, you must have deadlines for all tasks, so make sure you get these from the sources of the assignments, even if you are that source.

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