Planning your work day like a Disney Vacation. 5 Steps to get you on your way.

Posted on 10-30-2014 by
Tags: Trending News & Topics , time management , productivity

Photo Credit: Pres Panayotov /

A few weeks back, my family and I traveled to Florida and embarked on our third Disney vacation; however, this was the first entirely planned Disney vacation. It was fabulous! We knew exactly where we needed to be and when, and we were even able to experience a parade and seek out an Adventure Land treasure hunt.

When I returned, it made me think about how much I enjoyed our time at the Magic Kingdom because we had a game plan about how we would execute our already scheduled day. In the past, when we visited the Magic Kingdom we opted to “wing it” and the results were horrible. We were all over the park. We were left tired, cranky and hungry because we didn’t spend time to really plan out the day.

I look at my workday and see that it’s all too often like my family’s first Disney trip. I come into the office with an idea of how I would like my day to go, but it doesn’t end that way. Why? The execution gets lost. I didn’t appropriately schedule my day and as a result I end the day tired, hungry and cranky.

After this most recent trip, I decided to try and plan my workday just like I planned my family’s Disney vacation. I took those core planning strategies, and incorporated them into my workday. So far, the results have been phenomenal. I now have time to do those little extras that I always want to do, but am never able to find the time to do them.

Below are the 5 tactics I used to make my work life even better. Now, don’t get me wrong, this list is still a ‘work in progress,’ but I hope to continue this exercise that will make me more efficient at my job.

1. Look ahead: If you have ever planned a Disney vacation, you know that you need to get your game plan ready about 6 months out. (Those dining reservations are hard to come by!) For purposes of looking ahead at work, I took a look at my calendar 2 weeks out and wrote out 5 things that I would like to accomplish during that week. (Why 2 weeks? For me, 2 weeks is far enough out so I can be more accurate about how I want to spend my time.)

2. Devote time: When planning for Disney, I was the dork who stayed up all night, constantly refreshing my browser, waiting to book that coveted lunch with Cinderella at her Magic Castle. I didn’t go to that extreme for work, but I do devote 2 hours to really think about how I want to schedule my work week. By scheduling my work week, I can better enjoy what I am doing because I know what to expect and when.

3. Scheduling the time: By scheduling, I mean schedule everything during that week. Taking a look at my calendar, I realize I have 10 Monday meetings. I usually burn the midnight oil Monday night to get everything accomplished, but instead, I have now decided to take a proactive approach and block my entire Tuesday. And, when I say “block out Tuesday,” I schedule time on my calendar (in increments of 30 minutes to 1 hour) for each meeting’s takeaway. This helps me stay on task, accomplish my meeting takeaways, and still take an impromptu call.

4. Down time: Even while on vacation, I planned for a little reprieve to help manage the fun. I blocked 15 minutes in the middle of the day to eat ice cream because I knew my family wouldn’t want to run from one side of the park to the other. I decided to take this 15-minute approach and schedule a little walk outside during the day. This time frame works perfectly for me and I come back into the office with more focus and attention to my next task.

5. Plan for the Hiccups: There will always be hiccups, either your boss pulls you into a new project at the last minute or your dining reservation gets lost – which is really bad when you are standing outside of the Magic Castle with your 4-year-old daughter who is dressed like Cinderella. Planning for the hiccups helps me get all of the other ‘stuff’ done. I decided to devote 3 hours Friday afternoon for the hiccups. Disney plans for hiccups too, and you can still get a table at your scheduled dining time even if your reservation is lost – just make sure you have the your confirmation number.

And, in the end, if I can plan my workday better by accomplishing tasks that I previously thought were impossible, I may be able to plan my family’s next Disney adventure. As the great Walt Disney once said: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

Do you have any tips that work for you? I would love to hear from the community.

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