How do you plan your day and stick to it?
In today’s society, planning plays a big role if you want to be a successful person; planning and sticking to your plans is even more critical.
Falling into the trap of procrastinating and putting off whatever task you have to do is way too easy. It’s almost as if we were born to be procrastinators.
There is a reason why people may procrastinate though, and it is because they’re perfectionists.
What happens in their brain is “I either do this thing perfectly, or I don’t do it,” and it’s such a negative way of thinking because, to get better at something, you need to fail many times or keep trying many times.
It is important that we make each day count by making the most of it and live in the present.
Everyone knows who the motivational speaker Joel Osteen is. Here is one of my favourite quotes from him.
“Quit worrying about how everything is going to turn out. Live one day at a time; better yet, make the most of this moment. It’s good to have a big–picture outlook, to set goals, to establish budgets and make plans, but if you’re always living in the future, you’re never really enjoying the present in the way God wants you to.”
This means that we need to plan for today more than the future. This is because now is what is guaranteed, the past cannot be altered and we have no control over the future.
hat is why it is important to make each day count and make the most of the present – today!
Now, grab a cup of hot chocolate and let’s dive in!
How to plan your day and stick to it
The question now is, how do you plan your day and stick to it like a pro?
- Make a commitment to grow daily
- Choose the planner you want to use
- Make your planner appealing
- Identify the 3 key things on your To-Do list
- Sacrifice pleasure for opportunities.
- Limit distractions
- Take action
1. Make a commitment to grow daily
Value is a process. It is almost impossible to add value to yourself in a day. You need to work on this each day.
Design your day. Do not wait for someone to inspire you.
You should picture the end results and this will motivate you to make that commitment and stick to it.
2. Choose the planner you want to use
There are several types of planning tools that you can choose from. You may use a notebook, notepad on your phone, calendar, an App or a software.
Personally, I prefer combining the use of a Google calendar and a notebook. My Google calendar helps eliminate those time-consuming back-and-forth confirmation with family and friends.
Once I share my Google calendar via an email, family and friends can check my availability and pick a date and time that works for them. I can also add important reminder notes to the calendar.
Alternatively, you can open up a notebook and start writing down tasks.
Your brain cannot handle everything, so it is important to get it all out.
You might think it can’t be that easy, that you must do something before that, but as long as you have a pen and a notebook, you can start planning.
3. Make your planner appealing
If you’re a visual person, you can decorate your planner with drawings, photos, stickers.
You can write a list and draw small boxes next to the tasks so you can put a tick once you’re done.
It’s even more satisfying to shade the entire box with a pencil. It can give you a sense of accomplishment!
4. Identify the 3 key things on your To-Do list
The planning, though, is the fun part.
It is important to write your vision for the day down and make it very clear so you can run with it. Break the main vision into little actionable steps.
Now comes the sticking to it factor, and it’s all up to you. To help you stick to your plan, you need to work on what is most important.
You can do more by doing less. If you have too much to do on your to-do list, you end up doing nothing at all. You can have a brainstorm list filled to the brim, but you need to select the 3 key things.
Approach things in a much smaller and achievable way.
Avoid suffering from decision fatigue, which is the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision-making.
Reduce the amount of things you need to do all at once and start working on them gradually.
Approach things in a bite size manner
You can always add more tasks from your brainstorming list.
Start working on your tasks as soon as you start your day.
If you don’t start working on your tasks, you will get nothing done.
5. Sacrifice pleasure for opportunities
You should be ready to sacrifice to achieve goals you have set for the day.
There can be no progress, no achievement, without sacrifice, and a man’s worldly success will be in the measure that he sacrifices.” -James Allen
To plan your day and stick to it like a pro, you should be ready to leap out of your comfort zone to achieve your target. For example, if you want to complete a particular report at work, you may have to miss joining your friends for lunch in order to complete that task successfully.
6. Limit distractions
Switch everything off. Make friends, family and colleagues aware that you have a particular task to compete.
Have realistic expectations and how long it takes to complete.
Set yourself a deadline or set yourself a timer. Often, we underestimate how long a task may take.
It is a good idea to have an idea of how long a task takes to complete.
So, try time boxing on your calendar or in your notebook.
7. Take action
Take control over your plan for the day and take action. Keep reminding yourself of your goals throughout the day and stay positive.
Remember, “Positive thinking is powerful thinking. If you want happiness, fulfillment, success and inner peace, start thinking you have the power to achieve those things. Focus on the bright side of life and expect positive results.” G. Kent.
How to start your day positive
To plan your day efficiently, you need to start your day on a positive note.
The most important thing is getting a good night sleep and waking up early, as soon as the alarm clock goes off because, if you keep sleeping, you’ll wake up grumpy and even more tired.
The first thing you need to do before even having your coffee–which is a bad habit since caffeine wakes you up for a few hours and leaves you tired for the rest of the day, but to each its own–is drinking a big glass of water.
Exercise if that’s your thing; if it’s something you despise and find it difficult, try looking up some 5-minutes exercises on YouTube or even some yoga.
Meditating can help you focus on those tasks throughout the day.
Take a shower, and most importantly, have a nutritional breakfast. Food is the fuel of our body and mind; without those nutrients, even the straightforward tasks will seem impossible.
How do I plan my day?
You can use a few techniques, such as planning every day at the same hour, so it will eventually be a habit and it will come easier.
You can also make a list of all the things you have to get done and highlight the most important ones so you can completely focus your attention on what cannot be delayed.
Try doing the most tedious tasks first if you can, or the ones that require a little more effort, so that by the end of the day, you’re left with the easy ones.
Include quick tasks to get that instant gratification feeling that motivates you to do even more.
Focusing on enormous projects all the time can leave you exhausted.
Remember that taking a moment to breathe is essential, and if you feel overwhelmed and can’t stick to the plan, take a break.
I’m not saying procrastinate, but sometimes your brain won’t function the way it is supposed to, and all you can do is accept it, grab a glass of water and put your favourite show on Netflix.
How do I plan my day at work?
There is no answer to this question because different jobs require different planning approaches.
For example, a doctor knows that they can’t put off a task or there will be severe consequences; but a gardener knows they can’t take a break from watering the flowers because nothing will happen if they stop watering for a few hours.
One thing that these two different professions have in common, though, is that procrastinating won’t get them anywhere. They both wake up in the mornings and know that they have specific tasks to get done, and by the end of the day, those tasks need to have a tick in the box.
For social workers, I will recommend starting your day at work with a review on your caseload and what is on your calendar.
If you have your personal space at your workspace, you can buy one of those whiteboards and make a list on that, so that every time you look up, you know what your tasks are.
It’s easy to say, “I’ll do it later” or “I’ll do it tomorrow,” but when tomorrow comes and your boss knocks at your door and finds you unprepared, what do you do? If you’re employed, it’s way easier to stick to a plan because you’re working for someone else, and you don’t do a good job; you’re fired.
To improve your management skills, you can keep a journal and evaluate the day at work.
It is impossible to remember everything and gather your thoughts without an outlet.
Verbalizing your feelings will help you recognise your negative emotions, and instead of getting frustrated at home, you can write down all your negative thoughts and leave them in your journal.
It is also beneficial to keep a journal since when you write down a problem, your subconscious mind is finding a solution simultaneously.
Declutter your work space
You can also try decluttering your workspace. You might be one of those who find everything in their mess or a cluttered environment and nothing when it’s tidy, but the workspace needs to be clean for you to be productive.
If you have nothing in front of you that could be distracting, you won’t get distracted. If you’re a messy person, your workspace will eventually go back to the mess it was before, but make a habit of tidying it up before starting working.
Another essential thing is to avoid multitasking. While you might think it is productive to have three tabs open, your phone in your hand, and a word document blankly staring at you, it is indeed counterproductive.
If you haven’t finished one task, how can you do three at once?
Put away your phone, close your emails, and focus on one task only.
Once you’re done, take a break and focus on another job. It might seem a slow process, but all your tasks will be completed at the end of the day, and the sense of gratification will motivate you to move forward and follow the right path.
Don’t fall into the trap of instant gratification; it is not worth it in the long run.
Before you go
Remember to take a day off from planning.
Have a day when you do nothing entirely, indulge in your bad habits as long as the next day; you’re back on track.
You’ll begin to notice that the more you follow a schedule and are on the right path, the less you’ll want those old bad habits back.
If you want to become exceptional, plan your day effectively and stick to it like a pro, then you need to make that commitment to grow daily and work on one task at a time.
PIN IT FOR LATER!