Five Half-Day Evaluation Questions That Could Turn Your Day Around
How many times have you just plowed through your day and never look back? The only thing that is important is the next thing. And then the next thing even if the last thing wasn’t completed. And on and on and on…
Few people plan their day and I mean really plan their day. Not scratch down a few “to dos” for the day ahead, but strategically create an organized plan in how best to maximize the coming day.
But even fewer people come up for air and check their progress before getting to the end of the day or even the next morning to evaluate what exactly happened throughout the day.
I went through the following progression:
- No plan and react my way through the day
- To Do List plan for the day
- Plan for the day that was usually ignored (but had great excuses!)
- Plan for the day that was implemented most of the time
But I found that often times I didn’t realize until the end of the day I had misused my time and it was too late to go back and make a mid-course correction.
This led me to the Half-Day Evaluation Process.
Usually after lunch, I will take just five minutes and do a pulse check on my day. This is an opportunity to review and adjust. I review my morning (looking back) and adjust my afternoon (looking forward) on the review.
Here are the five questions I ask during the five-minute half-day evaluation process:
1. Have I Completed My Most Important Task of the Day Yet?
Your response to this question is PRIORITY.
I start my day whenever possible working on my most important task of my day. This means no matter how my day goes, I’ve at least accomplished the most important task that moves the needle in my world.
So, if the most important task is complete, I move on. If it’s not complete, then it becomes my sole focus to begin my afternoon.
2. What Has Been ADDED This Morning That Needs My FOCUS This Afternoon?
Your response to this question is FLEXIBILITY.
Life happens that didn’t make it on our morning plan or calendar. Imagine that. As a result, asking this question will allow me to re-adjust my afternoon and re-prioritize where I need to spend my time.
This means for me I need to change the afternoon plan to make room for this addition. And it may mean moving something planned for today to tomorrow or another day.
3. What Do I Need to FINISH That I Started That Is STILL Important?
Your response to this question is PROGRESS.
Often we start a task or project and for some reason do not complete it. But it may be important for a win for the day. This question allows me to review what is worth going back to complete and move forward today.
It may also be a simple task (email or phone call) that needs a response today. Or I may decide to reschedule another time to work on the task or project. The point is making progress on an incomplete task.
4. What Can I MOVE Off Today’s List That Can and Should Be Done Another Day?
Your response to this question is MARGIN.
Once you get into your day, priorities shift sometimes and others are added. I try and create margin within my day to focus on what really needs to get done. And moving things around gives me more space to focus on what is really important today.
Sometimes a task needs to wait on a response from someone else or simply drops in priority. Halfway through the day I can tell if that time is still committed or needs to be rescheduled to another day. And if so, it frees up time today to work on the next most important task. And margin is a breath of fresh air in the second half of the day.
5. What Is REALISTIC for Me to Complete or Move Forward to Make Today a Success?
Your response to this question is PERSPECTIVE.
If you’re like me, I’m rarely short on ideas to fill the time but also rarely allow enough time to complete everything! (It’s the gift that keeps on giving)
Perspective is to look at your afternoon and determine what is realistic to complete in that period of time.
You want to leave the day feeling like it was a success, not feeling like you left so many things incomplete and feeling overwhelmed the next morning.
Here are some suggested Planning Posts:
The five minute investment of time into the five questions can provide exponential results if applied. You may choose to take 10 or 15 minutes.
I had to choose to take the FIRST five minutes after lunch to implement my Half-Day Evaluation. If I didn’t do it right after lunch, I rarely circled back to the exercise.
You may choose to use my five questions or some of them. The point is to take five minutes to review the morning and adjust the afternoon.
After half of the day is in the books, I have a fresh perspective on my afternoon win and what I need to accomplish to finish strong.
I challenge you to try it for just one week and see the results. You may be amazed at just how much return you get on this small yet powerful five minutes.
When and how will you implement the Half-Day Evaluation?