At the end of each day (or first thing in the morning,) plan tomorrow and the next two days.
Review your commitments and write out the full list of what you want to accomplish over the three days. Outline the first day more thoroughly than the other two.
This act of writing down what needs to get done helps you feel less anxious—tasks seem smaller on paper than in your head. According to the Zeigarnik Effect, just the simple act of recording a task in a plan relieves the mental stress attributable to unresolved and interrupted tasks.
Having a three-day horizon allows you to be flexible.
- You’ll know where your “wiggle room” is, so interruptions don’t invade your day. You can move your priority tasks around should the circumstances change. You can set apart emergencies from non-emergencies that can be addressed later.
- When you have a lot on your plate, or something is taking longer than you planned, you can defer what’s avoidable today and move tasks around.
At the end of each day, rewrite your three-day roadmap. Reconsider how each task aligns with the current priorities and spread them over the next three days.
Idea for Impact: Plan tomorrow, plus two. You’ll have a clearer insight of the immediate future—and you’ll be better prepared to attend to those inevitable unforeseen demands for your time.