The 18 Minute Technique to Plan your Day

Time Management
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Aniket Deolikar
Consultant, India

The 18 Minute Technique to Plan your Day

Did it ever happened to you that you had lots of energy and a plan to have a great working day and you went to the office in a very positive mood, but due to circumstances, the day didn't go as planned at all and in the end, you felt disappointed. It might be due to some unexpected emails, or you might have ended up helping other people, or perhaps you were so busy with urgent things that you forgot what you wanted to accomplish that day.

This happens quite often because planning is only half the effort but the other important part is execution.
If this sounds like a situation of being unfocused that you have quite often, than perhaps Bregman's 18-minute time management technique to manage your 8-hour workday is something you might use (or adapt to your own needs):
  1. TAKE 5 MINUTES TO SET THE PLAN: When you go to work, before starting the computer take a piece of paper and decide what will make your day productive and successful. Make a list of realistic tasks that will help you achieve your goal. Add these things in the time slots of the day and see if you will be able to complete them if the list is too long for the day then reprioritize your tasks. It is really important to decide which things you are going to do because research has stated that when you decide to do some work, the chances of getting that completed are very high unlike when you are unsure about completing it. It will take only 5 minutes to do this, after making the list keep this in your sight while you are working or somewhere it is easily accessible.
  2. REFOCUS FOR 1 MINUTE EACH HOUR: You can set reminders for each hour in your computer or watch. After each hour, look at the list and see how much of the work you have completed. Ask yourself if the last hour was good and productive. If you are lagging behind this hour, then try to cover it up in the next hour by pushing yourself. This will ensure that you are managing your time and not like the time is managing you.
  3. REVIEW AND FEEDBACK FOR 5 MINUTES: After you have completed the day's work and you have turned off the computer/laptop, review your work done during the whole day. Check if your tasks are completed. Ask yourself questions such as where did you get distracted? What was the productive part? Where did you feel you can do better? Note the crucial points down to improvise on them the next day.
Using the 18 minutes technique will help you focus ruthlessly on the things which are of utmost importance and actually execute them. At the end of the day you will feel more productive and focused than before.

Sources: Peter Bregman, "An 18-Minute Plan for Managing Your Day", Harvard Business Review, July 20, 2009.

  Graham Williams
Management Consultant, South Africa
 

The 18 Minute Technique to Plan your Day

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  Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands
 

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I agree. In simple terms we might say that if a person feels too busy, she might either look at things like delegation, prioritization and time management (we might group these under left-brain, ratio...

  Anonymous
 

The 18 Minute Technique to Plan your Day

I never heard about this 18-minute technique, but is seems helpful. I agree with Graham about all the constraints he mentioned and I would like to add just 1 more constraint: the real amount of hours...

  Benoit Perreault
Business Consultant
 

Your Best Energy to the Most Important Task First!

Great insight. I have been using this technique for more than 30 years and it works like a charm. I've read somewhere that: « An unplanned workday, is a day lost! ». Also, I always dedicated my best e...

  Graham Williams
Management Consultant, South Africa
 

The 18 Minute Technique to Plan your Day

Five often overlooked things that can help the energy/ stress balance: 1. Plan in time for yourself - to reflect, play (a habit that Carl Jung practiced) 2. Never diarise back to back meetings or in...

  Ed Olhausen
Teacher, United Kingdom
 

Planning & Reflection

I've been a teacher for 10 years and I've finally realised the value and importance of both planning AND reflection as part of my working day. Reflection doesn't take the same form everyday but I do t...

  Osman Abdel-Rahman
CEO, Ghana
 

The Value of Reflection in Time Management

The 18-minute daily planning model is a very helpful one. @Ed Olhausen: I agree with you about the importance of reflection. I start at the beginning of the month by making a rough plan for the month....

 

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