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Nov 29th, 2018. 5 min read
Vertical Planning
'll never forget the phone call.
"Dude, how's college?!" my friend Adam called to ask.
"I'm really struggling," I was embarrassed to admit.
For the first time in my life, I had unfiltered freedom to seemingly do whatever, whenever: girls, parties, dorm life, a new state-of-the-art gym, intramural sports, fraternities, the campus radio station — not to mention, five challenging classes that each required a 10-to-15 minute walk to and from.
"Start planning each day in its entirety," Adam told me. "Literally, write out everything you want to do, and then schedule it hour-by-hour."
This practice, which needless to say became a game-changer for me in college and thereafter, is known as Vertical Planning.
It's no different than when you go on vacation and plan most everything ahead-of-time, so you can do and see everything you want in a limited amount of time. Day-to-day life is no different: If you want to accomplish every thing, every day, in the limited amount of time we have, with all the options and distractions at our fingertips, you have to plan ahead. And you have to be surgical about it.
Let's put it this way: Before Vertical Planning, I was barely doing everything I needed to do each day (surviving). Now, I'm easily doing everything I want to do each day (thriving), including:

~ Sleeping 7-to-8 hours each night
~ Cooking 2-to-3 meals each day
~ Working a full-time job
~ Working on side projects
~ Coaching a youth basketball team
~ Doing some form of exercise six days each week
~ Reading books 20-to-30 minutes each day
~ Playing video games
~ Watching Netflix
~ Spending time with family and friends
Getting started tips
In my experience, Vertical Planning works best when you plan your day the night before.
I start by opening my calendar and creating pulses for each meeting, phone call, commitment, and appointment. Next, I create pulses for each of my work-related blocks of time, followed by my meals and activities (e.g. exercise, reading, Netflix, video games, social life).

I also create multiple pulses throughout the day for checking and replying to urgent communications (email, social media, text messages). This is another way of saying: When I'm not replying to urgent communications, I don't have my email open or my phone by my side. And, I'm not receiving notifications on my computer, phone or any other device for emails, social media, text messages, apps, et cetera — because I've turned them off to be more productive and focused.

I also create pulses for "pre-tasks" (e.g. get ready for the gym, leave for the gym), which many people overlook in their day-to-day, but nonetheless tasks that will keep you on-schedule, and enhance your time management.
"This template will help you do everything you want to do every day (thriving), not just everything you need to do (surviving)."
Mister Efficiency
Why we love this template
At first, Vertical Planning might seem tedious and annoying, but you know what's even more annoying? Not managing to accomplish everything you want, day after day.
By starting and sticking with Vertical Planning, you'll become much more time-efficient and productive, ultimately allowing you to do everything you want to do every day (thriving), not just everything you need to do (surviving).
Without this template I would
Setting and adhering to firm deadlines for when you start and stop each of your day-to-day tasks and activities is critical, because it ensures you actually get things done in whatever timeframe you give yourself.
This is known as Parkinson's Law, which suggests that a task or activity expands to fill the time available for its completion. It's why one person who is required to be at an office from 9-to-5 will likely complete the same amount of work as someone whose told they can leave at 2:30 pm, so long as they complete all of the day's work, without compromising quality or expectations.

Without this template, I would struggle to accomplish everything I want to do every day, and barely accomplish what I need to do, making life less fulfilling.
Hi I'm Mister Efficiency from Mister Efficiency and this was my story
Hi I'm Mister Efficiency from Mister Efficiency and this is my story, check it out
Josh's Vertical Planning