How to learn to plan your time: the basics of time management

Planning your working day

In the 21st century, the rhythm of life has noticeably accelerated and continues to gain momentum. If previously, in order to be successful, you needed to do one amount of work, now you need to do much more to achieve success. And people begin to face a lack of time. If we are chasing all the daily tasks that life throws at us every day, there is no time left at all.

Working day planning is a tool that helps not only to use working time effectively, but also to reduce it. This is not a trivial to-do list that needs to be completed in strict order. Planning is the ability to choose what needs to be done, why and when.

That’s why proper planning not only structures everything you do during the day, but also frees up your time. First of all, you need to do the most important things - this is the main rule of time management. It is useful for every person who has free time at work and does not have a clear schedule to distribute their time correctly.

How to manage everything?

There are no secrets here. You will be successful only when you have a clear plan, have a clear goal, follow it and motivate yourself. If you are specific, precise and punctual, then you will accomplish even more than you planned. It’s not enough to plan your day! You must then carry out everything that you have planned for yourself. And this is not just writing on a piece of paper or in a program what needs to be done and when. Only will and discipline will help you get through the implementation of each of your plans. And when it becomes habitual for you, you will understand that you can no longer live without it.

What does planning include?

Working time planning includes:

  • Setting priorities.
  • Selecting important tasks.
  • Finding the best ways to solve them.
  • Finding employment in your free time.

Prioritizing helps you understand what needs attention, what can resolve itself, and what issue should simply be ignored. Time and information have become much more valuable than before, and getting excited about something that does not produce results is pointless.

Selecting important tasks is almost the same as prioritizing, only within the framework of one working day. You choose what will bring an important result, what needs to be done urgently, and what can be postponed.

Finding the best ways to solve problems is a very important point. When planning, you must consider not only what you will do, but also how best to do it. At the same time, it is important not just to save time, but to do everything as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Working with free time should also be included in the work plan. Do you have 2 hours freed up a day that you can spend on something? You can tell your boss about this, and he will load you with work, you can educate yourself, or you can put effort into developing your own project.

Making a to-do list correctly

  1. You need to write it daily, preferably in the evening.
  2. It should include no more than seven important tasks. It is better to describe each item in detail, take into account the details. If you need to go to the store, take a piece of paper with a shopping list with you and strictly follow it. This way you can significantly save your time.
  3. It is good practice to clarify the time required to complete a specific task.
  4. The to-do list should be visible and constantly remind you of itself.
  5. Even more effective is making a list for the week. This way you can make long-term plans.

Daily planning will help develop punctuality and perseverance. You will be able to improve yourself, your life will change for the better. So a person learns to set priorities, evaluate what is of greatest value to him, set goals and achieve them.

Why is it important to plan your work day?

Anyone who has ever encountered freelancing, business, or “work at will” (like a taxi) understands perfectly the importance of organizing tasks throughout the day. But, for example, most office workers do not consider it necessary to plan their working day.

In fact, the main reason for planning your workday is to increase your own efficiency. If you listen to your own body, you can understand that some things work better for you at one time, and others at another. For example, it is more convenient for you to make calls to other companies after lunch, since you have already woken up, but are not yet tired, and monotonous work is completed faster in the evening, so it is better to postpone entering information into the database until 5 - 6 hours.

Planning a working day takes into account not only the basic elements of problem solving, but also the personal preferences of each person. Time management was not designed to impose the same pattern of highly efficient work on everyone. You must adapt your tasks to the characteristics of your body.

Organizing and planning your workday allows you to do more in less time, leaving time to do the things you enjoy.


If you are an ENFP, it means that you are not embarrassed by rules and restrictions, and you prefer to break them. Many friends, the ability to switch quickly and an absolute inability to complete things - these are the main distinguishing features of this type.

You need to concentrate on completing tasks in parts, bringing one big project to completion. You can't do this without a diary, so write down all your desires in one planner at least twice a day.

Who should plan their working day?

Every person should be able to plan their working day. This way you can save time and work more efficiently. But there are 3 categories of people who simply must engage in personal planning.

Freelancers. The most undisciplined worker is a freelancer. He doesn’t have a clear schedule, and only the deadline reminds him that it’s time to sit down to do something. That is why it is very important for freelancers who work with several clients to plan their working day. It often turns out that new orders appear with a difference of one or two days, and if you wait until the last minute, you may not have time to work on two projects.

Businessmen. Everything here is almost the same as in freelancing. Especially if it's an online business. On the one hand, you can relax at home while your employees are working, but on the other hand, this approach will inevitably fail. In the West, the cult of workaholism flourishes among businessmen. They believe that if you don't work 60 hours a week, it means you're lazy and have nothing to do in business.

Leaders. A leader will not always be a businessman.
The owner of the company may not take an active part in the affairs of his company, but its director takes responsibility for the operation of the whole mechanism. That is why leaders of medium and large companies must use their time effectively, because their decisions determine the future of the company in the long term. Planning a manager’s working day is a way to most effectively distribute your time between strategically important tasks.

I'm improving my health

I have a mandatory morning run planned at least 3 times a week. My immediate plans for 1-2 years include classes related to flexibility - yoga or qigong. Also in the growth zone for the coming year is diet planning.

I also have annual checkups and visits to the dentist scheduled.

Potential health hazards in the early stages are eliminated quickly and with small budgets.

A mandatory week's vacation every 2-3 months of work is a rule that I try to instill in my students. At first it seems difficult to get out of the business wheel 3-4 times a year. And then you try it and realize that when a vacation is planned in advance, clients and employees are ready for it. And calmly and according to plan they give you the opportunity to recharge. And then you arrive healthy, really filled with energy, and the results of your company go uphill.

Working day planning methods

There can be many methods for properly planning your workday. But one of the most effective is the Eisenhower Matrix. Its essence is as follows.

There are 4 squares:

  1. Square A - Urgent and important matters.
  2. Square B - non-urgent and important matters.
  3. Square C - urgent and unimportant matters.
  4. Square D - non-urgent and unimportant matters.

Square A should almost always remain empty. With proper planning, all important tasks should settle in square B and be completed as they approach A.

Square B is about important things that will help you achieve your goal. This includes all tasks that need to be completed within 1 business day.

Square C means urgent and unimportant tasks that need to be delegated to others. A prime example of urgent but unimportant matters is calling a potential client. An employee can do this, you better focus on other things.

Square D means that there are non-urgent and unimportant things that do not bring you closer to your goal, do not give positive emotions and, in principle, are not needed. All useless ideas should be written down in this square.

This division of tasks according to their importance and urgency allows you to understand what you need to pay attention to during the working day, and what you can safely forget about. The matrix helps not only in work processes, but also in everyday life. If you want to learn English, it is interesting to you and will help you in your career - this is square B. But if you want to learn Spanish just for the sake of knowing it, this is D, and you can safely forget about it.


People who have the ENTP personality type tend to be more productive in competitive environments. Challenging a superior person to demonstrate your knowledge is a very typical behavior for ENTPs. This personality also allows you to react quickly in extreme situations, which is ideal for creative professions.

But the main disadvantage of this type is the inability to concentrate at the right moment. If you want to achieve success in all areas, you need to master time management techniques and also monitor your own productivity.

Rules for planning working hours

There are several rules for how to effectively conduct your workday. For convenience, we will divide the day into 3 parts:

  • The begining of the work day.
  • Basic workflow.
  • Completion.

Morning is the most important stage. Depending on how much sleep you got, how you got up and what you did, your mood, psychological attitude and performance will depend.

The principles of a “correct” morning include the following:

  • Positive attitude. If you wake up every day thinking that you hate your job, your productivity will decrease. Try to start your morning with pleasant thoughts.
  • Try not to "sway". Have you noticed that after you get up in the morning, you need another 30 - 40 minutes to finally come to your senses? This is time that is not worth wasting. Immediately after waking up, take a shower, brew some coffee, and instead of spending half an hour going nowhere, you can have breakfast in peace.
  • A leisurely breakfast and the way to work. Starting the day without rush is very important. When you are in a hurry, your body spends extra energy and nerves that could be used for more productive work. If you can’t afford a hearty breakfast and a leisurely trip, go to bed later and get up earlier.
  • Key tasks. Most successful businessmen tend to say that the most important tasks should be completed in the morning. As the saying goes, “If you want to do everything, eat a frog for breakfast.” The role of a frog is a task that you do not want to take on at all. Do it in the morning, and the positive mood from the fact that the “frog has been eaten” will last throughout the day.

The main workflow consists of the following tasks:

  • Solve urgent problems. It is important to understand that if some urgent matter comes your way during the working day, you do not need to turn all your attention exclusively to it. First you need to understand whether it is important or not. If it’s important, then you need to start working on it immediately. If not, transfer responsibility for its implementation to another person.
  • Meet deadlines. Every day you should set yourself approximate deadlines within which you must cope with the entire volume of tasks. It is important that it is not “Do everything before 18 o’clock”, but “At 14:00 - start making a plan, at 15:00 - analyze the indicators, at 16:00 - make a report,” etc.
  • Order in the workplace. This is an implicit but very important point. If your desk is a mess, your eyes will constantly be lost among it. And if there is some foreign document at your workplace, you can start studying it and just lose 20 - 30 minutes.
  • Don't follow impulses. It's the most important. There are some triggers that make you shift your attention from work to something less important. Call a friend while you're reviewing your sales plan? It’s better not to do this, then you will lose concentration and can easily lose the working spirit.
  • Group your routine. It is very important. If you need to make 60 phone calls during the day, then it is better to divide them into several small groups, 10 - 15 at a time. After you have made the call, you can perform another task. By constantly switching from routine to active activity, you can get much more done.

The end of the working day is based on the following principles:

  • Finish what is needed. There is a group of things that fall into the “important but not urgent” square. It is best to complete them during the working day, and always keep the “important and urgent” square empty.
  • Check your results against your plan. Everything you did during the day needs to be compared with what you planned. If you have just started planning your work day, then small deviations from the plan will be in order. Try to keep them as few as possible.
  • Make a plan for the next day. It is best to do this at the end of the previous working day. This way you will maintain a working spirit and, at the same time, it is important to draw up a real program of affairs.

If you are a manager, then during the working day you must work closely with your secretary.

Please remember that this is all general advice. They don't take into account your individual characteristics. If it’s more convenient for you to do urgent work in the afternoon rather than in the morning, that’s your right. If you prefer to do a big, difficult task last, and it doesn't affect your mood for one day, do it last.

Planning your working day should be individual.


Natural leaders, EIFJs can easily manage people during a crisis and motivate them to work long hours. At the same time, they are very dependent on the assessment of others.

If you need to plan the perfect day for an EIFJ, it is worth understanding that such a person must express himself in different areas, and one narrow specialty may not be enough. And a representative of this type of personality will be able to find full dedication only through interaction in a large team.


People of this type most often prefer to work for themselves - they are distinguished by their courage and desire to take risks. In addition, ESTPs often want to change the world for the better and try to set an example for others through their actions.

To achieve your goals, you need to plan your day very carefully. Given that you prefer to take action, you need someone nearby to help with market analysis and trends.


ISTP people prefer to work with their hands and analyze how internal processes work. A practical mindset helps you not to be afraid of routine work, and also allows you to adapt faster during crises.

By nature, you may be a problem solver, so you need to look for a job where every day is a challenge. Don't forget to mark your achievements on a mental map and make sure that you don't stray too far from your goal in search of interesting experiences.


If you are an ESFP, you probably really love the stage or public speaking. People with this personality type have high energy and enjoy entertaining others, but this also makes it difficult to make long-term plans.

Thanks to your skills, you can easily find a common language with colleagues, which you need to take advantage of in order to achieve success. Pay attention to the increase in your productivity when working in a team and surround yourself with like-minded people.


If you are an INTJ, then most likely you have a very difficult time finding people who are similar to you. According to some data, only 0.8% of the population belongs to this personality type.

INTJs are true strategists, they have ambitious thoughts and high self-confidence, but success usually depends on whether they can work alone.

To plan the perfect day for an INTJ, you need to accept your weaknesses, such as not being able to work in a team, and structure your tasks around the fact that collaboration always takes up more of your time. Before starting discussions, write a list of important topics on the agenda, and also try to engage in dialogue less often without serious reasons.


ESFJ people are usually much more popular than others - they easily get along with others and are good at hearing what is said to them. This helps hide a dislike for analysis and strategic planning.

An ideal day for such a person would be between working in a team and performing his duties alone. You also need to make sure that you come across as a professional in your field and not confuse your colleagues with your playful attitude.

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