Plan, Execute, Track, Review – how to improve your workflow

There are a million ways to manage your todo list, and here is yet another one which I call “PETR”  – Plan & prepare, Execute, Track, Review.

It’s all based on four steps:

  1. Plan
  2. Execute
  3. Track
  4. Review

This method is more of a framework than a specific way of doing things. It doesn’t tell you exactly how to perform each step, but rather what to do in them.

Let’s go through them in order.

1. Plan

Each night – or at the end of your work day – make a plan for what you will do tomorrow. This probably includes writing a todo list; perhaps on paper, perhaps using software on your phone – for the sake of this article, it doesn’t matter. Just decide on what you will do tomorrow. Perhaps, as an alternative to a “todo list,” make entries in your calendar for each activity that you plan to do.

But make sure you write down what you will do somehow – simply making a mental note of all of tomorrow’s tasks isn’t nearly as effective. Also, it helps to sort the todos in the order you are most likely to do them, so you always know what’s next.

Then when you have your plan, see if you can make any preparations for tomorrow before the end of the day. Go through your list, and consider if there’s something you can do right now in preparation for each item. For example, if you’re going to the gym tomorrow, pack your gym back right away so that it’s done when you need it tomorrow.

2. Execute

The next day, go through the items on your list, and do them. If you find it hard to get started, consider read this article.

3. Track

As you complete each item, make a note of it. It doesn’t matter how, just make sure you know it’s done. It might also be a good idea to write down things you learn as you complete your tasks.

4. Review

At the end of the day, go over your notes for today. Did you complete all your tasks? Why? Why not? Could you have done anything differently? Did you perhaps come up with a better way of doing something? Any notes that you’ve written of things you’ve learned during the day should probably be filed away somewhere where they’re easy to find. Also, if you like writing a diary or a journal, this might be a good time for that. The point of all this is to improve the way you work, so that you become more efficient over time.

… and repeat

There! Almost done. Now, you just have to do step 1. Plan for tomorrow – then your day is done. Right after you review how today went, is the best time to plan and prepare for tomorrow, when today’s tasks are still fresh in your mind.


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