Whether you are a business executive, teacher, parent, recent college degree graduate, or if you fill any combination of these daily roles, it’s likely that every minute of your day counts and any spare time is valuable. So how can you use your time wisely?

If you have recently been in school, or if your child is currently in school, you may have come across a teacher or instructor’s lesson plan. Although lesson plans are typically pretty similar to agendas, they are usually much more detailed. These plans often map out goals and objectives, and list specific activities and exercises that will help students on their path.

If you feel like you’re getting behind in work, at home, or both, perhaps you should consider changing your daily agenda or calendar into a lesson plan: one that can map out both your personal and professional schedules. Creating a lesson plan for your life is actually very easy. Your first step will be to brainstorm a list of everything you’ll need to accomplish in the foreseeable future. After you’ve done this, add to the list some larger goals or objectives that involve these tasks Finally, you’ll have to indicate which tasks or goals are the most important to you so that you’ll keep them on the top of your mind.

Want some extra help planning your time? You may need to select a more specific method—be it planning by task or managing your time through the help of organizational coding. Take a few more tips below:

Planning By Task

Let’s say that during your brainstorm you figured out that you needed or wanted to: read some chapters, write an article, go to a doctor’s appointment, attend two meetings, and lose 10 pounds. If any of these tasks have specific deadlines, or dates (as the doctor’s appointment surely does), place them on the calendar accordingly.  Then, for less-concrete or time-sensitive tasks, like losing ten pounds, or reading, mark this task on a calendar date that seems achievable but still acceptable in meeting your goals. For this to work the most efficiently, be sure to include both business and personal goals on your calendar.

Color-Coding

If you’re using a calendar to keep you up-to-speed, color-coding can really help you maintain focus. Consider a method like: writing work tasks all in blue, personal tasks in green, and appointments in black. One funny tip: avoid using red! Studies have shown that red is the color most associated with anxiety and negativity.

Finally, whatever system or plan you choose to manage your time, make sure it keep you accountable and—to the best of its ability—happy. Good luck planning!

Jennifer Ashton is an adjunct professor for the School of Business at Rasmussen College Online. She has worked in business for more than 15 years. Jennifer has a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Central Florida, and a Master’s in Organizational Management and Elementary Education from University of Phoenix. In addition, she is pursuing a doctorate in Instructional Technology and Distance Education from Nova Southeastern University.

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