When I started my new system, I also changed my perspective on my day-month-year plans. I didn't know the fundamentals of planning. I always made plans, but I abandoned them after a while. Because I failed to stick to them, and I discouraged myself from making new ones. When I learned these tips, they made my schedule more flexible; everything became organized. I started achieving more than I've expected. I also attached to my plan more than ever.
- Put a buffer around goals.
The idea of putting a buffer time around the plan is glorious. Let's say I plan to finish a book in a week. Instead of putting a one-week timeframe in my program, I put around ten days (one and a half-day in the beginning and the end). Many unexpected things can happen in life. And this way, I make my plan adaptable to them. While my goal is still one week, I'm less likely to fail. If I cannot begin reading the book, I still have more time to start.
- Be flexible.
The idea is changing the plan whenever it is apparent that it will not work out. I plan my days hour by hour, so I have no other option to make my program adaptable to change. I plan my next day hourly before I go to bed. And during the day, I usually cannot stick 100% to my plan. Whenever I see that I'm moving away from my plan, I quickly rearrange it in two-three minutes. This way, I still keep ownership of my day, and I know what I want to do next.
- Use failure as feedback.
Related to the second tip, whenever I see that my plan is not working out anymore, I try to determine the main reason. Vital signs are always easy to see. I take note of why my plan failed, and I use these signs in my next planning. The feedback is a secret weapon of any working system.
While working on any kind of system, I keep these three things in mind. I try to apply these also to my software projects as well. So, learning these skills is helpful in different aspects of life.
One last thing to keep in mind: you don't have to plan your days. While planning is working for me, and I quite like it, it may not be a thing for you. There are many happy people without plans. So, if you think planning is not for you, don't feel forced to do it.
If you plan your days what are your tips? Send a tweet to me on Twitter.