Add your private tasks to the plan, not just work. You do not show your day plan to anyone, so you can easily write down everything: meals, walks, workouts, movies, reading and studying.
Add items to the plan so that you can strike them out. Nothing can be more pleasant than striking out the tasks you have completed. Moving cards and checking the boxes do not have this feel. And do not delete the stroke tasks too often, the longer the list of completed tasks is, the better it feels. You see the things you have done, not only the things you need to do.
Set the tasks as something complete. Bad ways to set tasks: “logo”, “home page design”, “new version”. Good ways: “create and send the new layout”, “the home page is ready and agreed on”, “draw logo ideas three times by 30 minutes and show what I get”. Good tasks are never ambiguous, it is easy to strike them out.
Any task can be completed in an hour. If you write down a task and see that you cannot complete it in an hour, split it. The more lines you have to strike out, the better.
Investigation and communication are a part of your work. Learning something new, replying to work emails, making video calls, chatting in messengers – all of those are tasks that you should write down and then strike out.
Set the task for the day. If something goes not as planned, you know that the task for the day has the highest priority, and you must complete it. “The task for the day” can consist of the tasks from one project.
Here is how a day plan can look:
10:00—11:00 Clean the inbox, reply to emails, waste some time on Facebook, have breakfast.
The task for the day: create a logo that blows your mind.
11:00 Think about the task, rummage through images, create a dozen ideas (and have a rest for 5 mins)
12:00 Draw three quick versions, spend 30 mins for each (and have a rest for 5 mins)
13:35 Give a fresh look to your ideas, fix something and send them out
14:00—15:00 Get dressed, go out, buy some food
15:00—16:00 Come to the co-working space, eat the food, talk to colleagues in the kitchen, waste some time on the internet, reply to a couple of emails
16:00—18:00 Correct the site, take the notes into account, check all the pages, send out
18:00—19:00 If someone has asked to do something today, I can do it now
19:00—20:00 Go for a walk, eat something
20:00—20:30 Have a video call with a client, right after that send the summary to each participant
20:30—21:00 Check the plan, re-arrange things if necessary, make sure no one is waiting for anything from you
21:00—… that’s all, do nothing more (but read 50 pages of a book)
The planned tasks should fit into some period of time. No one can work for 10 hours a day for a long time. For a short time, it is possible to work like this; for a long time this does not work, it is bad.
Never sacrifice yourself. If you are under 24 years, most likely you can spend up to seven hours for just working; if you are from 24 to 29, six hours can be OK; from 29 to 34 about five hours is fine, if you are over 34, work about 3-4 hours a day. People are different, there can be variations due to individuals traits, but they won’t be more than a couple of hours. Make sure you have rest, eat well and sleep long enough.
Pay attention to your day flow. Check the time, not constantly, just sometimes as it is interesting. Get to know yourself better. Plan a bit more than you can usually do, but not twice as much. Inflated expectations lead to failures and make you feel bad. Complete tasks make you happier.