How to Plan Your Day
Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” In trucking, the majority of a driver’s day is planned by themselves. They are given an appointment window, and the rest is up to the driver. While given tools such as directions and a fueling location, it is imperative that a driver takes the time to plan and ensure they can make that appointment window on time.
Every driver eventually creates their own system, but we recommend a good old fashioned pencil and paper. Write down your schedule while accounting for things like:
- Pre and post trip inspections
- Time to fuel
- 30 min break
Then next to the activities start to document how long you estimate the task to take. Some good general guidelines are:
- 50 MPH estimated speed
- 30 minutes for your pre-trip
- 1 hour for a drop and hook
- 2 hours for a live unload
Then as things progress, update your schedule with the actual time it took. This will give you the tools to continue to fine tune your planning and become more and more accurate each day.
One of the best things to do while you are planning your day is to plan your parking location in the beginning of the day when you have a fresh mind. To ensure you have options as the day shifts, take the total amount of miles you expect to travel that day. Let’s say you plan to travel 500 miles today.
- Find a parking location at 500 miles
- A second option 50 miles before at 450 miles
- A third option 50 miles after at 550 miles
This will give you 3 parking location options so that at the end of the day you aren’t scrambling to find a place to park. It will help lower your stress level while out on the road. Some additional things to consider while identifying your parking:
- Do I need to call ahead to reserve?
- Am I able to shift my start time to get to that parking location before it fills-up?
The last piece of advice for when you are planning your day is, who do you need to inform when things shift? If you find yourself running ahead of schedule, send your Fleet Leader a message. They can see if there is a way to move up your appointment time. Running late? Let your Fleet Leader know so that they can connect with the customer for options. Maybe someone needs to help recover the load from you. When you communicate early it allows time for adjustment.
In summary, while it may initially seem like a lot of work to sit and plan out your day, it does bring a lot of benefits. Taking the time to plan your day will give you:
- Less stress while out on the road
- More productivity which equals more miles
- Better working relationship with your Fleet Leader