Time-saving tip, No 21: Perfect the art of forward planning
One of the most effective skills that you can use in your life when it comes to saving time is the skill of forward planning.
It may sound monotonous and boring, but believe us, once you master the ability to forward plan your life, you’ll be amazed at how quickly things change.
What does your typical day look like? Do you wake up fifteen minutes late for work? Do you have no time for breakfast and/or a shower before you rush out the door?
At work does it take you half an hour to find that report you need to revise? Do you have to cancel on your girlfriend at short notice because you’re working late just to try and catch up before tomorrow?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then you NEED to start planning your life a bit better. Not only will forward planning help you to free up some time that you can use to do other (more fun) stuff in, the sense of achievement from taking control of your life will make you feel super smug and proud of yourself.
There are so many benefits to this, that spending ten minutes planning things seems like a small sacrifice to make for a stress-free, less-hurried existence.
So how can you begin?
First identify the areas of your life that would benefit from forward planning. If you always find yourself rushing around like a headless chicken in the mornings then that’s the area where you need to plan. If you feel like you never accomplish anything over the weekend, then you need to sort out that one. Everyone has at least one part of their life that would benefit from a bit of forward thinking.
Next comes some planning with military precision. Plan everything you can down to a tee. What you’re hoping to do is to plan stuff so that you actually save time rather than waste it by hurrying around.
For example, if mornings are your worst point: the night before lay out everything that you need in the mornings. Put out your clothes so they’re easy to get to. Put your bag/keys/laptop by the front door so you don’t forget them. If you bring your lunch with you, make it the night before so it’s ready.
By doing this you will save yourself at least half an hour. You’ll know exactly where everything is. You won’t be running around looking for stuff. Therefore you’ll be able to use your spare time to have an extra half hour in bed in the mornings, use it to savour a cup of coffee before you head out the door or use it to catch the news headlines on telly.
On a Friday evening, take ten minutes to sit down and think about the things that you have to do this weekend. If you have to go on a night out, get your clothes ready now. If you have to paint the bathroom or mow the grass, tell yourself that you’ll take two hours out of your life on Saturday and get them done before lunch.
Treat these small things like a deadline that you have to meet – no extensions will be given. This will encourage you to get the boring jobs out of the way as quickly as possible. You won’t waste loads of valuable time procrastinating and chores won’t be hanging over your head and ruining the rest of your weekend off. Plus, you’ll also head back to work on Monday morning feeling achieved and well-rested because you will have enjoyed your time off.
Forward planning is a skill which is incredibly simple and can have amazing results if you dedicate yourself to it. As you get better and better at simplifying your life by forward planning you’ll notice that more and more free time appears. You’ll also feel more relaxed, less stressed and happier that you’re no longer the one person who is always late for work.