In the part-2 of this series, you learnt the two key preliminary steps to take in order to ensure your success in becoming a better manager of time.
Now, in this part, we are going to deal with the most important, probably the one thing that makes a huge difference in your time management skill – the 6-P rule.
What is this 6-P rule?
What you will learn from this part:
– What is the 6-P rule?
– Advantages of following the 6-P rule
– Practical implementation
– Hierarchical planning
– The Magic of applying the 6-P rule
Now, let’s get started!
i) What is this 6-P rule?!
Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Etch this mantra in your head. This is going to change your life. Trust me, it will.
What does that 6-P rule mean? “Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance”, what does that mean? It means that whenever you have a particular goal to accomplish, you don’t directly jump to the deadline and accomplish the goal. You go step by step, day after day.
The granularity of your progress is what you do with every single day of yours. Properly planning your every single day in advance, prior to beginning that day, will prevent poor performance.
So what does it mean to properly plan a day prior to beginning it? Find out below!
First of all, what you need to know before starting is that planning every day in advance has been proven by research to actually double your productivity. When you actually plan and write it down on paper before you start a day, what that activity does is that it instructs your brain to stick to the plan. It tells your mind that you desire to complete whatever you schedule for the day and your mind cooperates in your accomplishing it.
ii) Advantages of following the 6-P rule
Research suggests that 90% of your time can be saved every day, if you spent 10% of your time planning your day prior to getting started with the day’s work. Well, that can be hard to believe. You will only witness it when you put it in practical use.
As I said in the second part of the time management series, when you have clarity, your mind helps you accomplish the goals easily because you are very clear about what you want. Most people are never clear about what they want and that is why it takes a long time for them to do anything. When you are clear about what you want and when you want it, your brain starts cooperating with you in accomplishing what you want within the time frame you want. That’s exactly what happens when you follow the 6-P rule. When you plan every single day before hand, you actually are giving your mind a clear vision, an idea of what you want to do and accomplish for the rest of the day and this makes it easier for your mind to cooperate with you and help you accomplish it all.
iii) Practical implementation
Let’s say you start your day at 5 a.m every day. If you woke up at 4.30 a.m and planned your entire day and wrote the plan down on a paper/whiteboard, and you crossed off the tasks as and when you complete them, you will find that you feel a great pleasure in striking the list off. I usually do this in Google Keep and in my whiteboard. I get up at 4 a.m, and within 4.30 a.m I think about the tasks that I have to complete on that day (keeping in mind the short term goals) and write them down on the whiteboard in my room.
Once I think and plan the day and write it off on the board, I also write it off in my notepad, and also in Google Keep just so I can access it wherever I go and strike off whatever I complete as and when I complete them.
The following pictures show you the early morning list and the list as it is now:
iv) Hierarchical planning
This prior proper planning should be applied to the different time hierarchies.
First you should plan for the long term. As I said before, after you have written down your goals, you’d also have written down what all you will have to do in order to achieve those goals. You also would have written down sub-goals and divided the goals into specific sub-goals that can be achieved in a week, month, few months, a year and a few years, depending on whatever the magnitude of the goal is.
Now, what you should do is, write down the PLAN of what you will be doing in the few years to achieve that goal (if it takes few years, or months if it takes few months). Then, plan for the immediate year, then for the immediate few months, then for the immediate month, and then the few weeks ahead, then the immediate week and then for the particular day you are starting depending on the week’s tasks to complete.
You get the point, right?
What this does is that, it gives you a clear sense of purpose and an idea of what you have to do. When you hold yourself accountable to this plan and these goals that you have written down, and when you are driven from the inside to really do these things to accomplish what you want, something magical starts happening.
What’s the magic? Read below.
v) The Magic of applying the 6-P rule
I wrote down all of my goals and subgoals in the month of January 2015 and I revise them every week. I started working on them, from the month of January and I have also started seeing so much progress in life. I have accomplished more in the last three months than I ever did during the span of my college life.
If you didn’t know, I used to be a movie junkie. I watched more than 1500 movies in the 4.5 years of my college life. Now, in the last 6 months, it was a different case. I am a killer for movies, and recently I started watching some TV-shows after I got the job. I started off with FRINGE and you know what? I watched it for 6 days straight, like FRINGE-EAT-SLEEP-REPEAT, and I completed all of the 100 episodes on August 13th, 2014 after getting started on August 6th, 2014.
From that point onwards, I must have watched at least 7 tv shows, 5 shows until finale, some 2 to 5 shows in a “2 seasons of this, 3 seasons of that” kinda way.
What happened from January? Involuntarily, WITHOUT EVEN CONSCIOUSLY CONTROLLING IT, I have stopped watching movies and TV shows gradually. I don’t know how that happened, but even taking some time to watch a weekend movie on my computer has become rare these days. It’s not because I have started despising it, no. I love watching movies. But, after seeing so much progress in whatever I have set my mind upon and started working for, I have started valuing my time more than I used to do before.
I don’t think in these terms – “Just two hours! Let’s grab some popcorn and watch a movie!”.
I think in these terms – “Two hours – I can write an article with research, I can read 60 pages in a book, I can implement some improvements for my blog-site, I can go complete a week of a course in Coursera”
and so on. These days, I have started thinking about the ROI of whatever I invest my time on and that has magically helped me let go of all the activities that I was doing, those that were not contributing to any of my goals. That’s the kind of magic that planning will do to you too, if you are driven.
Now, when I plan my every single day ahead of starting the day, I usually tend to accomplish more than I plan for. Let’s say I plan for some tasks and allocate the time from 8 a.m to 10 p.m, I almost always manage to finish the tasks within 8 p.m and I end up doing more just out of fun and I also end up accomplishing more of what I want.
Try this one thing and you will see a 200% improvement in your productivity, 90% savings of your time. You will be able to free more time for yourself every single day, and you can spend that time you save on anything you want to.
Remember the 6-P rule. Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
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