If you want to live a full and successful life, you can’t afford to drop the ball. The trouble is, most of us find it really hard to juggle well! It’s no surprise. With limited time, it’s not easy finding space for work, chores, relationships, health, hobbies, fitness, and fun. It feels like something has to give and more often than not, work takes priority and we’re forced to drop things we’d much prefer to do.
So what’s the solution?
Is it really possible to create the life you want? Is there a way to fit it all in without getting burnt out?
I think there is.
And it all starts with a robust, intentional plan for your day.
Let me explain…
You can’t afford to leave your life to chance
A daily plan puts you back in the driver’s seat of your life. With so much to do and focus on, if you don’t have somewhere to plan it all out, it all gets too crazy.
- You forget things
- You run out of time to focus on the things that matter
- You struggle to feel fulfilled because too much slips.
If you don’t proactively plan your life, it will unfold in ways that don’t serve you or take you closer to the life you really want to live.
But get organized with your day and organized with your time, and you’ll see there’s a lot more white space than you realize. That’s because a plan forces you to think clearer about when you’ll schedule tasks. It challenges your expectations and ensures your daily goals are realistic. And perhaps most importantly, it forces you to spend the right amount of time on tasks – so the day doesn’t get wasted leaving you to wonder what you actually got done!
[We’ve all been there!]
A plan also makes you aware of your time drains. It flags up where you’re being inefficient, and it also keeps you away from the dangerous distractions that steal your time and bandwidth (hello social media!)
In short, a daily plan gives you the mental clarity you need to do it all.
Not just work… but space to juggle multiple balls and fit it all in. Space for play dates with your kids, date nights with your partner, gym classes, meditation, reading time, chill out time… and all the other things that make life feel full and rich.
But how do you actually plan your day to make time work in your favor?
Here’s how I do it…
How to plan your day
I’ve trained myself to become very diligent with my planning. It took a while to get into a flow and to figure out what worked for me, but now that I know what works, it almost happens on autopilot.
These are the exact steps I take:
- Write out my goal
The first thing I do every day is write out the goal I’m working towards. Sometimes this is my 3-month goal, other times it’s my intention for the day – it depends where my head is at when I sit at my desk.
Writing down my goal focuses my attention on what’s most important. It reminds me of the direction I want to go. It provides the compass I need to ensure my commitments for the day will take me closer to what I want to achieve. It’s a crucial first step to a highly effective day.
- Practice gratitude
Next up, I write down three things I’m grateful to have in my life now. This practice grounds me. It reminds me that although I’m always striving for more, I mustn’t lose sight of what I already have. Gratitude makes me feel good and this helps me switch on a positive mindset. When I feel good, I feel more optimistic, more motivated, and more likely to work efficiently. It’s a game-changer.
- Weekly to-dos
Next, I look over my weekly to-dos. I check in to see what’s due and what key tasks I’m going to tackle today to make a dent. By checking in with my weekly plan first, I can make sure I don’t miss deadlines and I’m working on things in the right order.
- Top three tasks
I also jot down THREE tasks that I want to get done – no matter what. These are my highest priorities and they usually align with my goal. They aren’t always work related. Sometimes they’ll be related to self care, time with my children, or a focus on eating well. My rule for these tasks is that once done, I’ll feel as though I’ve had a great day – even if I didn’t manage to tick off everything else.
- Get scheduling
With my three priorities decided, I get busy scheduling. I plan my day in 30-minute chunks ensuring there’s no white space left on my timeline. I give each task an appropriate amount of time. This keeps me accountable and focused and ensures I don’t waste time needlessly.
I always leave the first two hours of my day for personal projects. Client work comes next and then my home life fills the evening.
With a clear schedule for the day mapped out in advance, I don’t have to keep deciding what I’ll do next. I don’t dither on tasks and I don’t waste headspace jumping around. I just get more done.
I’ll also keep a list of micro tasks going. These are bits and pieces I’ll fit into my day if a meeting finishes early or I complete a task quicker than I expected. It’s a super simple trick that moves the needle even faster.
I don’t know where I’d be without my daily plan.
Actually, I do! I’d be chaotic and all over the place. And I most definitely wouldn’t get as much done!
That’s because daily planning is a game-changer that gives you clarity, boosts your productivity, and helps you get more done.
It also helps you have a life.
What planner should you use?
There are a huge variety of planners on the market right now. It can be hard to choose which one is right for you.
It’s definitely a personal choice that will be influenced by what you want your planner to do for you and your life. Do you want a blank page? Do you prefer a template? Undated? Annual or three months? Pretty of sophisticated?
Right now, my planner of choice is the SELF Journal from Best Self. I’ve found that this planner is good for people who want to use their planner to work towards specific goals and it’s also useful if you don’t like the blank page of a bullet journal. It’s a planner that nurtures a success mindset as well as efficiency and it’s also good for cultivating laser focus.
These are some of the things I love about this tool:
- It’s dateless – so you can start any time you like. No need to wait for a new year, a new month, or even a new week to get started. You can start TODAY.
- It covers everything – more than a tool to manage your time and mastermind your day, the SELF Journal sharpens your success mindset too through practices such as daily gratitude and reflection practices.
- It helps you to reflect – each day, you’re invited to reflect on your wins and capture the lessons you’ve learned. In this way, the journal helps you to live more mindfully by learning from your mistakes and celebrating your wins.
- It drives achievements – the SELF Journal empowers you to achieve specific, but significant goals within a three month period. When you have a clear focus, you’re going to move closer to the things you want. For me, the SELF Journal is more than a planner for my day, it’s a tool that helps me structure my day so that I can achieve the things that matter to me.
Your time is too important to waste.
With a plan, you can find calm within the chaos. Better still, you’ll likely see that you can get more done than you previously believed possible. That’s why arming yourself with the perfect planner can help your life take off.
Imagine it. Plan it. Achieve it 🙂
What’s your planner of choice? Let us know in the comments below.