96 days to 30: spend more time planning

Today’s goal in focus is: help Labour win Manchester Withington in May.

Like yesterday’s this is hard to SMARTify – even more so, because I’m such a small part of the campaign.

But there are a few things I know I can help with, and I’ve set process goals for all of those.

Like yesterday, I don’t want to advertise our campaign targets, so the content of those goals will remain a secret between me, my WorkFlowy and my Giant Grid. (I made a giant grid. It took up a lot of time, sellotape, felt tips and floor space. No-one likes it except me.)

My predilection for Giant Grids and list-based apps brings me on to A Life of Productivity’s tip #25: spend more time planning.

ALOP doesn’t have a specific article on this but there is a really interesting one on Chris Bailey’s 90-hour work week experiment, in which he says – among a host of other useful findings – that for every minute you plan, you save five minutes in execution.

I don’t necessarily agree that I need to spend more time planning. I was always the girl who spent so long colouring in my study leave timetable with highlighters that I ended up starting my GCSE revision four days late; one of my worst recent habits has been settling down for an hour of Getting Shit Done and spending the first twenty minutes Prioritising Said Shit.

But what I do need to do is – to paraphrase another productivity slogan so well-worn it predates productivity blogs – plan smarter, not harder.

Chris Bailey recommends a useful-sounding, first-thing-in-the-morning technique for planning your day – the Rule of Three. I haven’t tried that one properly yet, but for planning out how to spend the irregular chunks of ‘laptop time’ I have to actually get stuff done, I’ve found the 1-3-5 rule works pretty well.

If you’re reading this and have any tried-and-tested tactics for planning your time, let me know in the comments. (Especially if they involve a Giant Grid.)

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