How to organize your workday to get everything done

A missed deadline can easily turn into a disaster. The manager is unhappy, the client is shocked, the business is under threat. And the reason for this can easily be the inability to properly organize work. It doesn’t matter here whether we are talking about one specialist or an entire team - competent time management can save everyone.

Benjamin Franklin Method

Benjamin Franklin was the son of a soap maker, but thanks to self-organization and discipline he succeeded in many areas: politics, diplomacy, science, journalism.
He is one of the founding fathers of the United States of America - he participated in the creation of the Declaration of Independence and the country's constitution. Franklin's portrait appears on the $100 bill, even though he was never president of the United States. He is credited with the authorship of such catchphrases as “Time is money” and “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

Time was truly of the essence for Franklin.

Do you love life? Then do not waste time, for time is the fabric of which life is made. Benjamin Franklin

At the age of 20, Franklin developed a time management system for himself that he used throughout his life. Contemporaries called it “Franklin's pyramid” (sometimes the name “productivity pyramid” is also found).

At the base of the pyramid are life values. These are moral guidelines in solving any problems. Franklin called them virtues.

For himself, he defined 13 virtues: temperance, silence, love of order, determination, frugality, hard work, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, calmness, chastity and meekness.

To work on himself every day, Franklin started a special notebook in which he devoted a page to each life principle. He lined each page into seven columns (days of the week). Then he drew 13 horizontal lines according to the number of virtues.

Thus, every day he focused on one of the virtues, and in the evenings he noted in boxes the mistakes made on the path to “moral perfection.”

The next step in Franklin's pyramid is the global goal. It is based on life principles and answers the question: “What do I want to achieve by N years?” A global goal for a doctor, for example, may be to become the head of a department before the age of 35, and for a manager to launch his own startup.

Benjamin Franklin is truly the forefather of to-do planning. He always stuck to a routine and planned out literally every step he took. Therefore, further in his pyramid are:

  • master plan - step-by-step instructions for achieving a global goal;
  • long-term plan - goals for the next 3–5 years;
  • short-term plan - tasks for the next year and month;
  • weekly and daily planning.

All steps of the pyramid are located sequentially - each next one rests on the previous one.


To organize your day using the Franklin method, you need to decide on the fundamental principles of life, set a global goal and make a plan to achieve it.

For long-term and short-term planning, you can use one of the electronic tools or keep a paper notebook and implement a “Quick Notes” system.

Where is the right place to make a plan for the day?

You can plan your day anywhere you want. But if you want it to be truly detailed and functional, then it is better to opt for a diary.

Diary notebook

Designed for:
3 months
590₽ View

Diary on a spring

4 months
990₽ View

Stephen Covey Method

Stephen Covey is considered one of the followers of the Franklin system. He is a world-renowned expert and coach in the field of management. Covey is a professional speaker and the author of numerous books. One of them was included in Time magazine's list of the most influential business literature.

A book ahead of its time, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey wrote it in 1989, but it became a bestseller only after its re-release in 2004.

The Covey concept is based on a sequence of seven skills.

  1. Sharpen the saw, that is, constantly improve yourself.
  2. Achieve synergy, that is, strive for mutually beneficial interaction.
  3. Be proactive.
  4. Try to hear first, and only then be heard.
  5. Start with the end goal in mind.
  6. Think in the spirit of “win-win.”
  7. Do what needs to be done first.

The matrix of task distribution and prioritization will help you implement the last skill. Covey borrowed it from the 34th President of the United States, Dwight David Eisenhower.

All tasks are divided into four groups:

  1. Urgent and important (needs to be done as soon as possible);
  2. Non-urgent important (strategic tasks with a distant deadline);
  3. Urgent, unimportant (needs to be done quickly, but you can put it off or not do it yourself);
  4. Non-urgent and unimportant (as a rule, such matters can be crossed out or entrusted to third parties).

According to Covey, successful people rarely find themselves in time pressure, as they quickly deal with tasks from categories 1 and 3 and without mercy sacrifice things from square 4. At the same time, they devote 60–80% of their time and energy to solving problems from square 2, because they are the locomotive of progress.


To become more effective, at the end or beginning of the day, write down the tasks facing you and prioritize them using the Eisenhower Matrix (or the Covey Matrix, whichever you prefer). To do this, you can use the Eisenhower app (iOS) or MyEffectivenessHabits (Android). Try to maintain the proportion: 40% are important urgent matters, 60% are important non-urgent ones.

Three main things

A large to-do list is not for everyone, because the sheer number of things to do can make it difficult to identify the main goals for the day. Even from a psychological point of view, a large list will be intimidating, and concentrating on the important and unimportant will become difficult. There is a way out of the situation: try not to write a regular list in which you include both small and large things. Select the three main ones among all the points and write them down in a separate column. Small things that also cannot be forgotten, put them in a separate column or write on the other side of the page. What you didn’t manage to accomplish during the day, don’t be afraid to reschedule it without a twinge of conscience until the next working day. The main thing is the three main things that need to be done first.

Tim Ferriss Method

Timothy Ferriss is a popular productivity guru. Recordings of his public speeches receive millions of views, and his books sell in equally huge numbers.

No wonder - who doesn’t want to “work 4 hours a week, without being stuck in the office from bell to bell, and at the same time live anywhere and get rich”? Ferriss's book of the same name reached number one on The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.

His method is based on two pillars:

  1. Pareto's Law: 20% of effort produces 80% of the result, and the remaining 80% of effort produces only 20% of the result. This means focusing on the activities that really matter.
  2. Parkinson's Law: Work fills all the time allotted to it. This means that you need to devote exactly as much to a task as is necessary to complete it.

To get more done, you don't need to increase your working hours. On the contrary, reduce it, focus only on what is really important. Discard everything else, outsource or delegate.

The Ferriss approach is consistent with the 1-3-5 planning technique. Its essence is simple: one important task, three medium ones and five small ones are added to the to-do list. There are nine in total. They are a priori distributed according to urgency, which helps get rid of the feeling of rush.

Ferriss is an opponent of multitasking and information overload. When doing several things at the same time, attention becomes unfocused. As a result, productivity does not increase, but decreases. The same is true with the continuous absorption of information. Constantly checking email, instant messengers and social networks only creates a false sense of busyness, but does not bring you closer to your goal.

But stress, on the contrary, Ferriss considers our helpers.

Fear is an indicator. Fear is our friend. At times he shows what not to do, but more often he shows what should be done.

Tim Ferriss

It's worth noting that Tim Ferriss isn't the only one looking to be more productive by working less. Stever Robbins, author of the book “9 Steps to Working Less and Getting More Done,” suggests the “active days” method for this, when on a certain day you assign yourself a “controller” who will monitor your progress.


This method is suitable for you if you cannot follow a strict schedule and to-do lists do not work for you. Organize your day so that 20% of your time is spent on the most difficult and important tasks. Let the rest take its course. In other words, if you need to hold a business meeting, then you need to choose a day, time, duration and strictly follow the plan. The rest of the day can be devoted to any current work.


There is an opinion that after graduating from university, the daily routine disappears from a person’s life forever. This is partly true, but in a good way it is useful not only for schoolchildren or students. Of course, you shouldn’t maniacally schedule every action you take in seconds, but ideally you should still have some time boundaries.

For example, you need to pick up a tax certificate. Look at the operating hours of the desired department and schedule yourself approximate hours at what time it would be best for you to be there. Or another situation: your boss asked you for a report urgently, today. Review your actions in your head and objectively set yourself a deadline, then it will be much easier for your brain to complete the task.

Attention ! Try to objectively estimate the time spent on tasks. It is better to plan it with a reserve in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Gleb Arkhangelsky method

Gleb Arkhangelsky is an expert in the field of time management, founder and director of the company of the same name. Its peculiarity is not in the creation of original developments, but in the fact that it presents time management techniques in a simple and accessible way, adapting them to domestic realities.

Arkhangelsky is the author of several popular business books: “Work 2.0: a breakthrough to free time”, “Time Formula”, “Time Drive” and others.

The last one is the most popular. Time Drive talks about the importance of planning, goal setting and motivation, and also provides effective techniques for managing time and combating procrastination.

  • "Frogs" Everyone has boring tasks that are constantly put off until later. These unpleasant things accumulate and put psychological pressure on you. But if you start every morning with “eating a frog,” that is, first of all, perform some uninteresting task, and then move on to the rest, then gradually things will come into order.
  • "Anchors." These are material bindings (music, color, movement) associated with a certain emotional state. “Anchors” are necessary in order to tune in to solving a particular problem. For example, you can train yourself to work with mail while listening to classical music, and whenever you are too lazy to unload the inbox, you will only need to turn on Mozart or Beethoven to catch the desired psychological wave.
  • "Elephant steak." The larger the task (writing a dissertation, learning a foreign language, etc.) and the stricter the deadline, the more difficult it is to start completing it. It’s the scale that frightens us: it’s not clear where to start, whether we have enough strength. Such tasks are called “elephants”. The only way to “eat an elephant” is to cook “steaks” out of it, that is, to break a big task into several small ones.

It is noteworthy that Gleb Arkhangelsky pays great attention not only to the rationalization of work processes, but also to relaxation (the full title of his bestseller is “Time Drive: How to Manage Your Life and Work”). He is convinced that without good rest, including healthy sleep and physical activity, it is impossible to be productive.


Plan your every day. Todoist, Wunderlist, TickTick and other similar programs and services will help you with this. Break complex large-scale tasks into simple small ones. Do the most unpleasant work in the morning so that in the remaining time you can do only what you like. Develop triggers that will help you cope with laziness, and remember to include rest in your schedule.

How to keep a list

First, a few words about how to work with a ready-made to-do list for the day. In fact, there are only two principles here:

Principle No. 1. The list should always be at hand or in sight. For some reason, some people do this: first they write down things to do, and then try to do them “from memory.” However, the list is precisely for the purpose of looking at it periodically.

Firstly, this way it helps not to forget about anything (alas, human memory is not a very reliable thing). Secondly, it clearly shows which things have already been done and which have not yet been done. Well, thirdly, the list constantly reminds us that we need to work (and not watch, say, TV series).

You can carry the list with you in your pocket, hang it on the wall or on the refrigerator - it’s a matter of taste. In our high-tech times, it is also very convenient to keep your to-do list on your smartphone.

Principle No. 2: Completed tasks are marked or deleted. They can be crossed out, erased, ticked, etc.

What is it for? First of all, to remove completed tasks from your field of attention and not be distracted by them anymore. In addition, deleting completed tasks creates a “sense of progress” and is very motivating.

And one more important point: working with a to-do list is a habit that needs to be developed. At the very beginning, we may forget to cross off completed tasks, forget to look at the list, get distracted from our activities, etc. This is normal: our brain needs time to get used to the new style of working and thinking.

In addition, it will take time to develop your own methods for working with your to-do list. Each person solves his own problems, therefore he must plan them in his own way. And to find the optimal planning method for yourself, you will have to experiment a little.

Francesco Cirillo method

You may not be familiar with the name Francesco Cirillo, but you've probably heard of Pomodoro. Cirillo is the creator of this famous time management technique. At one time, Francesco had problems with his studies: the young man could not concentrate, he was distracted all the time. A simple kitchen timer in the shape of a tomato came to the rescue.

The essence of the Pomodoro method: periods of time allocated to work are “pomodoros.” One pomodoro = 30 minutes (25 minutes for work and 5 for rest). We start the timer and work with maximum efficiency and minimal distractions for 25 minutes. The signal sounds - it's time for a five-minute break. Then we start the timer again.

Thus, productivity is measured by the number of pomodoros completed per day. The bigger, the better.

In order not to spend 25 minutes coming up with something to do, you need to make a list of tasks in advance. In it you can also mark the number of whole “tomatoes” (a cross is placed next to the task) and distractions (an apostrophe is placed). This allows you to determine how long it took to complete a particular task and how difficult it was.

The Pomodoro method is accessible and flexible. If you want, keep a to-do list on paper and measure out 25-minute segments with a kitchen timer, or if you want, use special services and applications.

WindowsOS X and iOSAndroid
PomodoroAppPomodoro TimeClearFocus
Keep FocusedTadamPomotodo
TomightyFlat TomatoClockwork Tomato

According to Cirillo, the optimal duration of a pomodoro is 20–35 minutes. But, having mastered the technique, you can experiment and change the intervals to suit yourself.

You can learn more about Francesco Cirillo’s method here.


At the beginning of the day, make a list of things to do and get them done, oh. If you get distracted within 25 minutes, put a ' symbol next to the task. If the time has expired, but the task has not yet been completed, put a + and dedicate the next “pomodoro” to it. During a five-minute break, completely switch from work to rest: walk, listen to music, drink coffee.

So, here are five basic time management systems with which you can organize your day. You can study them in more detail and become an apologist for one of the methods, or you can develop your own by combining various methods and techniques.

What to avoid to keep up with everything

  1. Don't waste time watching TV . You can watch any news or film on the Internet without advertising. This will save you time.
  2. Limit your time on social networks, forums and games . It's a waste of time.
  3. Try to get rid of bad habits . Have you ever wondered how much time you spend on smoking breaks? This not only takes away your time, but also your health. Bad habits are not compatible with success.
  4. Learn to overcome laziness, lack of composure and lack of punctuality. Set reminders on your phone and an alarm in advance so you don't be late. Set a time limit for completing all tasks.

GTD - an alternative to time management

David Allen, the creator of the GTD technique, is one of the most famous theorists of personal effectiveness. His book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, was named Time magazine's best business book of the decade.

The term Getting Things Done is well-known, and many people mistakenly equate it with time management. But even Allen himself calls GTD “a technique for increasing personal effectiveness.”

This is how Vyacheslav Sukhomlinov, an expert on this issue, explained the difference between time management and GTD.

GTD is not time management. It is impossible to manage time. Everyone has the same number of hours in a day. It's not the amount of time that matters, but what you fill it with. You need to be able to process large flows of incoming information, determine what actions are needed to achieve goals, and, of course, act. That's exactly what GTD is about. This is a certain way of thinking and living. GTD is also about the state of flow and reducing psychological stress.

Vyacheslav Sukhomlinov

Are you ready to argue? Welcome to the comments. What do you think is more important in GTD - time management or personal effectiveness? Also tell us what techniques help you organize your day.

Time planning rules

How to properly organize your work - classic time management offers several basic principles:

  1. Plan what you will do. This is important for ordinary office workers and even more necessary for freelancers and other free birds. Decide what you will do and in what order. This way you won’t waste time and will easily move from task to task.
  2. Set your goals correctly. They must be specific and measurable. This will help you formulate tasks correctly.
  3. Plan your vacation. Managing time correctly does not mean working like a draft horse. You should take rest breaks to stay productive.
  4. Create your own rules. Analyze your experience to understand what algorithms work for you and your team. Consider the specifics of the unit and the cost at which previous results were obtained.
  5. Focus on what's important. Some routine tasks simply waste time. If you have the ability to ignore them, do it for more important things.
( 1 rating, average 4 out of 5 )
Did you like the article? Share with friends:
For any suggestions regarding the site: [email protected]
Для любых предложений по сайту: [email protected]