How to Plan for the Little Things While Getting the Big Things Done

by - November 24, 2018

I am excited to bring you a guest post by Wenda from www.wendaful.com. She has some great productivity and planner tips, plus you should check out her shop full of planner printables. I know you will enjoy reading her posts as much as I do! :)

If you read every blog about planning, it always covers how to plan for your big goals, and dreams in life. But what about the things you do every day? How do we plan for every day life’s little things while still getting the big things done?

How to Plan for the Little Things While Getting the Big Things Done

Today I want to share with the methods I’ve learned to manage my little tasks easily while still being able to focus on accomplishing my big goals and dreams.

The little things in life may not contribute to our life’s goals but they still need to be done.

  • We have to cook and eat to stay alive,
  • we have to clean our house to be able to live in it,
  • we have to do the laundry so we can have clean clothes,
  • we have to get check-ups at the Doctor’s to stay healthy,
  • we have to visit friends and family to maintain a healthy relationship with them,
  • we have to take care of ourselves for our own wellbeing,
  • we have to run errands, and so on…

All these little tasks take up time and are things we have to do every day, it’s just a part of life.

So how do we plan for that without letting it take over our lives? How do we make sure we still have time for our big goals and dreams in life?

By using these three methods: Prioritizing, Time-Blocking, and Creating Routines.

1. Prioritizing.

Whenever I plan I always have separate lists for “Errands”, “Things to Buy”, and “Don’t Forget”. In these sections, I put tasks such as people to call, things to follow up on, and more.

This is separate from my main to-do list because my main to-do list only consists of 3 main things I must get done before the day ends. My MIT’s – Most Important Tasks. All the other things go on a separate list because I know they will get done but not at the expense of my MIT’s.

Don't forget that some tasks may not, in fact, need to be completed by you at all. If you can delegate the job to someone else, outsource it, or complete it by using an automated software, then consider doing that instead.

How to Plan for the Little Things While Getting the Big Things Done

Prioritize by Doing the Big Things First

According to Stephen Covey’s Big Rocks demonstration where he shows you an empty jar and fills it with rocks, stones, and sand. He is basically proving to us that by completing the biggest tasks first (big rocks) it will allow you more time and energy to complete the smaller tasks (pebbles and sand).

Doing big tasks at the start of the day when you have lots of time, energy and resources will allow you to do a better job. Then afterward you can 'fit in' the smaller tasks when you have more time without needing as much energy or focus.

Prioritize by Doing the Important but Not Urgent Tasks First

Another great way to prioritize is by using Eisenhower’s Priority Matrix.

To help decide which to do first or even at all, use the Eisenhower Matrix. Place your tasks in one of the four quadrants. Where you decide your task falls within a specific quadrant in the matrix is how you decide where, when, and how long you should take to do that task.

The quadrant is divided by Importance and Urgency. Importance is defined as what will bring you forward towards your goals. Urgency is about how quickly a task needs to get done and usually has a consequence when they are not finished on time.

Quadrant 1: Urgent/Important tasks have the highest priority and should be scheduled to do right away. These tasks must be done now.
Examples can be appointments, things with a deadline, emergencies etc.

Quadrant 2: Not Urgent/Important tasks are things that are truly important and what you should focus on and schedule into your plans. These are your goals. This can be side projects or learning a new skill. These tasks are important but don’t really have a deadline which makes it hard to move forward on them.
Examples include projects, learning a new skill, staying in contact with friends and family, working out, etc.

Quadrant 3: Urgent/Not Important tasks are time sensitive but do not help you accomplish your goals. These are things that you can and should delegate.
Examples include making phone calls, errands, doing favors for others etc.

Quadrant 4: Not Urgent/Not Important are tasks which are time wasters and are not worth your time at all. It should be avoided and eliminated.
Examples include junk e-mails, wasting time on social media, Netflix, etc.

It can be tempting to fill your day with urgent tasks because they seem important at the moment, but you’ll never achieve your goals if you work on only those tasks.

How to Plan for the Little Things While Getting the Big Things Done

2. Time Blocking.

When you don’t know what to work on when you tend to procrastinate and not get things done. This is where scheduling your time blocks helps. The more clarity you have on what you should be doing at any given time, the easier it will be to actually do it. You can free up your mental willpower to get stuff done instead of having to constantly choose what to work on. Having a time blocked schedule planned out can help you focus on just working on your tasks.

Time Block for the Big Things

I like to use Time Blocking is by creating specific times of the day for me to work on my most important tasks. Most days I already know that the little things will get done but it can be hard to find time to work on the important things that will contribute to my end goal. By scheduling a time block for 2-3 hours a day in my mornings and afternoons I know that I will have that time to work on my important tasks without distractions. This time block is a focused time block for me where I do not multitask at all! I like to focus on one thing and get it done.

Time Block for the Little Things

Another way I like to use time blocking is by setting aside a power hour for handling all the little tasks I have to do. This is also called batching. If I have to respond to emails, make phone calls, or research something I will do all these little tasks together within a certain time frame in my daily schedule. I schedule that time to work on these little tasks so that the rest of my day can be focused on the more important tasks. This time block for me is for little tasks so I tend to multitask during this to make it more enjoyable. For example, if I am folding laundry I will also listen to a podcast or watch a TV show.

I also schedule time blocks for self-care and white space. It is important to take breaks and take care of yourself to avoid burn out and getting sick.

If you create time blocks be sure to respect the time parameters you had set. When the time comes to work on a task set a timer and get to work. Don’t get distracted and do something else.

To optimize your time blocking and to do lists, try to plan based on your energy levels. If you’re more focused in the morning schedule all the tasks that require more thinking then and save the menial filing, emailing or physical tasks for later in the afternoon.

3. Creating Routines.


You probably already have some routines and systems that you automatically do in your life. For example, when you wake up you know you have to brush your teeth and get ready. If you are having trouble getting other little things done like flossing daily, or cleaning the bathrooms, making it a part of your routine can help make it become more automatic.

If you have trouble remembering to call your friends and family every month or week then make it habit to do it every Friday night. Or however often you want to call. Make it a routine.

How to Plan for the Little Things While Getting the Big Things Done

I’ve created systems and routines for almost everything so that it happens without me having to think too much about it. When the decision is already made you just do it without much thought.

Examples of systems you can create:

  • Cleaning Routines – assign a part of the house you want to clean every day or assign a day of the week where you will clean everything for 2 hours.
    • Do a load of laundry every day or assign a day to do all the laundry – whatever works for you!
    • Load the dishwasher the night before and empty in the morning as part of your night and morning routines
  • A Place for Everything – In our house, we have a basket on a little table right by the door where we put our purse/wallets, keys and anything we need to remember to take with us. This way we never have to search for lost keys or purses!
  • Have an Errand Day – have one day a week where you run all the errands so you don’t have to waste so much time driving back and forth every day.
  • Have a Weekly Planning Day -  have one day a week where you review your past week and plan for the next.

If you want to focus more on the big goals in your life, then I would suggest adding a bit more to your daily routines. Whether you want to work on it in the morning, afternoon, evenings or even nights. Try adding a simple habit that will help you reach your goals. For example, if your goal is to read 50 books by the end of the year, then you can try reading for at least 15 minutes every night before bed.

Having a tracker for monthly tasks or a habit tracker for little things you want to do daily can help you keep track of these routines in your planner. I like to use these monthly trackers for my chores.

Remember having routines doesn’t mean it is set in stone. It just gives you control. You can be flexible with your routine. Move it around if it doesn’t work for you. Figure out what works best for you.

How to Plan for the Little Things While Getting the Big Things Done

Bonus Method:

Another method I like to plan for life’s little tasks without having to remember or rewrite it every day is by using a page flag task management system which I learned from Mady of MadyPlans on Instagram. You can read more about it in this blog post here.

Summary

To get life done, we have to know how to plan for the little things while still being able to focus on the big things in life. Some ways to make that easier is by:

  • Prioritizing
  • Time Blocking
  • & Creating Routines

Little things will get done no matter what, but to be able to do the little things along with focusing on our goals we have to remember to schedule in the time to focus and prioritize the big important tasks.


How to Plan for the Little Things While Getting the Big Things Done

Wenda from www.wendaful.com

How to Plan for the Little Things While Getting the Big Things Done

I have a passion for helping planner girls like you, get organized, so you can focus on living a happy and fulfilled life. I'll be here to share with you tips, tricks, and resources to boost your productivity levels and make your planner work for you. It's time to get past the planning phase and start taking action on all those plans! We're going to go through this together, one baby step at a time. 




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