As you plan ahead, getting your week's schedule in order, look back at the week before. Did you accomplish everything you set out to do? Were your daily intentions met? Did you control your days or did the days control you? This will give you insights into planning ahead. And as you plug in meetings, time to work on projects and various appointments, ask yourself if in past weeks you chose the right priorities and worked on them, or, did you get sidetracked along the way.
These thought-provoking questions will help you make the necessary changes to tweak the way you work, so the process works for you.
It's not only making choices....it's making the choice to choose, rather than get lost in the chaos of the moment. And in making choices, you are now in control of your life. The chaos doesn't dictate who you are or what it is you do. That paradigm shift might be all you need in order to de-stress and focus on what's truly important.
Evaluate the work you did last week. Did it give you energy, fuel you..... inspire you? Or did it deplete you? Are you prioritising and scheduling what matters most to you? That's the true definition of working smarter, not harder.
Leave room in your schedule for reality....i.e. checking email, verifying meetings haven't been cancelled or moved to a different location and, if so, that you have plenty of travel time to get there if needed. Changes, deadlines, and interruptions happen. That's a fact of life so begin with that mindset. If that isn't the case, then you have found time and, if it is, you'll have booked enough buffer/thinking time to be flexible and not reactive.
By looking back at what was, how you did your work, scheduling, planning and prioritising, you can better plan the present with the realisations of what worked and what didn't and using what you learned to work smarter.
What 'was' is our best learning tool, only if we use the experience to grow and change what didn't work to a way that does.