When you plan your day, if you play to your strengths you will have a much happier and productive day, and end it feeling a better sense of achievement.

We’ve already considered planning your day, making lists, prioritising your tasks, fitting them into your daily diary with a realistic time for how long they will take to complete, colour coding and having an extra list of ‘to do’ items which are less important and don’t need a specific time to achieve them.

However, the other thing to consider is making your day as productive as possible. Unless there is a pressing need for something else, the things you do best should be the things you do first. Even if it is something you don’t feel you do well or enjoy, if you do it first you will be at your best to achieve it and also get it out of the way!

So, if you can, arrange your diary so the things you enjoy the most, which will usually be the things you do best, are the first things you do when you start your day.

Then, rather than feeling already exhausted before coffee time, you will be more productive in your task and have more energy to face the rest of your day.

Focus on your strengths. Start keeping a work journal. When you write down how you spend your time, you will get much more of a picture of the amount of time you spend doing things well and productively during the day, and how much time you waste prevaricating because you don’t like the task, or worrying about how well it is going. You may be surprised to learn just how little of your day is spent using your strengths!

If you pay too much attention to your worries and weaknesses, then they are what will grow. Many of those worries may not even be yours to worry about! That is why it is so important to pay attention to what you do well. You “grow” your strengths and talents by focusing on the things you do well, and look towards turning anround any weaknesses into strengths too by looking at things differently.

It is hard not to give into your impulsive tendancies sometimes. The excitement of a new project, new possibilities and ideas can overwhelm you and persuade you to get fully involved in something before you are ready. However, these impulsive decisions can often create more problems than they solve.

Write down your ideas and plan those out too. Think about, or write them, like the chapters in a book, with one page at a time. This gives you the opportunity to look ahead to the bigger picture, hopefully assuaging some of those impulsive needs. But you should also be able now to stop and look, think and work through, each chapter at a time, giving each ‘page’ your full attention and knowing that other ‘pages’ may change further along the line as a result, to improve the process as you go.

Always have a Plan B – even a Plan C, in mind. If you have a backup plan then, when things don’t go quite as you thought they might, it is easier to accept the change without panic or giving up completely. Just because things do not go well and as you expected straight away it doesn’t mean they were wrong, just that there was a better way to get that end result!

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