Proper planning prevents piss poor performance, right? Well that is until you have all those unexpected tasks pop up during the day. These seemingly small tasks can drag down your productivity and make you run frustrating fire-fighting operations.

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But what if the proper plan isn't the most comprehensive, long term plan? What if it's a bare-bones plan that we know will get done without blockers?

Since we're a mix of construction and technology guys and gals, our days often include heated debates about the best way to schedule our daily activities. These are the things that we agree make managing our tasks easier, less aggravating, and more efficient in the long run:

  1. Keep track of everything - If you feel like you're overwhelmed by issues that keep coming up on your project, the first step is to know what you're spending your time on. Track even small favors and tasks as part of your daily activity because you can't manage what you don't track. Arming yourself with the data will help you identify where you can regain time, and stay ahead of the game.
  2. Stay focused on what's important - If you identify what is high, medium, and low priority, you can make sure to do important things first. When you have a system, you can better manage questions like: "hey, can you do me a favor real quick?" and keep your day running according to plan.
  3. Plan a few days ahead, not months - Don't get me wrong, you should definitely plan the milestones of your project months ahead. However, things on the jobsite change so fast that there's no point in planning your daily schedule more than a few days ahead. Try setting aside 15 minutes each day to plan the tasks for the next day. At Fieldwire, we do this in our standups each morning. On site, I've found that setting tasks in the morning before coffee can work if you are awake and ready, but it can be really useful if you write a few notes down in the evening for the following day.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. How do you manage your daily tasks? How do you respond when people ask you for favors? What's the best way to plan for issues that arise?

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