All the productivity articles point out that good things happen when you plan your activities. I believe this to be true. I have been able to reduce the number of items in my life that simply do not get done by making a weekly plan. I use a simple spreadsheet I built on Excel. I have columns for each of the days of the week. First thing I do is make a list of the tasks for the week. Then I write in all of the appointments and commitments that I have made at specific times and days.
The next step is to figure out how long each of my commitments and appointments are going to take, subtract time for personal life and sleep, and here is the moment of truth – how much time do I have left for the tasks I want to accomplish? I find this very instructive, if I have been saying that I am going to make it a priority to finish a book or an article and I have no time left for those activities on my schedule, then what is going on? Do I really intend to work on the book? If so, why did I say yes to all these other activities?
When I coach clients in this area we have a discussion about making time for the things they say they want to do.
At the end of each week I compare what I said I was going to do with what got done and watch for the same type of activities getting pushed forward from week to week.
Measuring what you actually do and comparing to what you plan to do should help you identify what you need to do to achieve your goals.