For the typical American adult today, life itself can be a little overwhelming. We live in this state of constant activity, with fully-booked schedules every single day. How is one to keep it all straight? Can everything ever get accomplished? How do we know how to be more productive?
Prioritization is the key to productivity.
How to Be More Productive with The Franklin-Covey Planner Method
The method is best understood after reading The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity.
But, as a brief summary, the idea is to adjust your priorities to focus first on what is important, which may not always be the same as what is urgent. To accomplish this, each morning before beginning your day, you write down the list of all of the tasks you need to complete, all of them. This is an exhaustive list that includes work tasks, personal tasks, and anything else.
Once the list is complete, mark each task as either, “A,” “B,” or “C.” After using this method for several years, I’ve come to think of the categories as follows:
- A – Must be done today
- B – Would be nice to have done today
- C – There is either no deadline assigned, or the deadline is not today or tomorrow
Finally, go through the list one more time and number all of your A’s in order of importance and urgency (1 being the most important and most urgent). Do the same for the B’s and C’s.
Next, delegate everything you possibly can; then begin working down your list in order, beginning with A1.
I like this method because it helps me to be more productive, organize my thoughts and manage my time more efficiently. The method can be accomplished with a regular notebook, but I do like the pre-made planners that Franklin-Covey sells, and I’ve been using them since 2015.
The planner has space for your task list, monthly calendar spreads to see important appointments at a glance, a daily schedule section conveniently lined up right next to the daily task list, and a notes section. There is also an index at the start of each month to mark the date a note was made for future reference.
Find What Works for You
As much as I love to share the Franklin-Covey method and how to be more productive using it with friends and family, I also recognize that we are all different, and just because it works for me, doesn’t mean it works for everyone.
There so many different planning and prioritizing methods out there, including the Bullet Journal, Passion Planner, and Panda Planner. No method is wrong. The most important thing is to identify the important tasks in your life and focus on them first.
Adjust as Needed
Of course, putting together a task list at the start of the day is great, but what about the fires that come up in the middle of the day and need to put out immediately?
Take care of them! Get it done!
A plan is just that, a plan. It’s not a contract. As new tasks are assigned or appear before you throughout the day, make the adjustments you need to accomplish the important. It’s okay for plans to change.
It’s also a good idea to maintain monthly and weekly task lists. These can then be assigned to the days that they each make the most sense to complete, and add just one more layer to your stellar organization.
By planning ahead, you can always be sure that you have the time and the materials you need to successfully accomplish all the tasks on your list.
Don’t Overload Your Schedule
My final bit of advice for how to be productive in your life is not to pile too much on your plate.
Always be prepared for the unpredictable. Which means, keep enough time free in your schedule that you have an ability to add something urgent in if it comes up with little to no stress.
You are Unstoppable
With a great strategy in place to prioritize each day’s tasks, more time can be put into actual task completion, instead of overwhelm and wondering where to begin. Franklin-Covey works well for me, but it’s not for everyone.
The most important starting point is to find a planning and prioritizing system that makes perfect sense to you. You want to find something you can really commit to.
Once your system is in place, you’ll be unstoppable.
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