Live life on autopilot and never seem to be able to make your dream and goals a reality? You need to start daily planning! Learn how to plan your day with these 9 easy productivity hacks.
Life these days is so busy.
It is too easy to rush from one task to another, making sure everything gets done.
But living like this means you don’t actually have much control over your day, and without taking some time to plan your day you will find that you won’t be working towards those important things you want to happen.
Even though we all tend to plan for big events such as a holiday or special occasion, we can get so caught up in daily life that we forget to plan each day. But it is what we do each day, all those small daily habits and tasks that really make a BIG difference to our lives.
One mistake that most people make is thinking that having a to-do list is the same as planning your day. Although having a to-do list is a great way to remember all the tasks you have to do, it doesn’t help you use your time productively. Nor does it help you break down the long-term goals you have into smaller daily tasks.
How To Plan Your Day For Success
Have a think, when was the last time you took the time to plan your day rather than just run through a never-ending to-do list?
Suppose you stop to take a look at how you currently run your day you will more than likely find that it is not the most productive way to get your daily tasks done. Even more depressingly, you are probably not doing any daily tasks that will help you work towards the bigger goals you have set yourself.
There is a very simple way to make all this a thing of the past though, and that is to plan your day. Daily planning is the top secret of the most successful people in the world.
And you can do it too.
Benefits of planning your day
Planning your day can help you achieve your goals but it also has many other added benefits. Some of these are:
- Health benefits – When you start planning you can see lots of health improvements such as lower stress levels and improved sleep patterns.
- Increased productivity – With a plan you will find that you use your time much better and get a lot more done each day.
- Personal growth – As you get all your must-do tasks completed you allow yourself more time to focus on hobbies, exercise, and other important habits that help you grow as a person.
- Feeling more accomplished – We all know how good it feels to tick things off our to-do list. So imagine how good you will feel when you are working towards those big goals of yours, and getting lots more done each day.
Let’s take a look at the best daily planning hacks to make the most of each day.
Planning Your Day
1. Create A Planning Habit
The first step to daily planning success is to make it a regular habit to plan your day.
Do not rush your planning habit. Taking the time to stop, and really think about your day ahead will set you up for the most productive day.
With this in mind think about what time of day is the best for you to do your planning. We all work a little differently so this will be a personal choice. Maybe you prefer planning your day the night before, or perhaps you would prefer to get up a little earlier each morning and do your planning first thing over your morning coffee.
Make your planning time something you enjoy and look forward to.
It is easy to do this by adding a few simple touches. Maybe by playing your fav tunes or burning a special candle. Perhaps you have a special part of your home that you love to spend time in? Make that your planning space.
Set your timer on your phone to remind you to do this daily ( even on a weekend or lazy day ) and allow yourself at least 10-15 minutes. It may take you a little longer as you start this new habit but once you have done it a few times you will be more efficient.
2. Add short-term and long-term tasks
Think about all the daily tasks you need to do and add them to your daily plan.
Next, take a look at your long-term goals and think about how those goals can be broken down into smaller daily tasks to help you achieve them. Be sure to add these daily tasks to your day plan.
One of our personal favorite daily planning tips is to have 3 Most Important Tasks each day. These are none negotiable and can be made up of urgent to-do tasks and those that make the biggest impact on your life.
It can also be a good idea to add tasks you find unpleasant but are important here. These tasks tend to be the ones we put off the most. We have another hack for tackling these tasks further in the post.
Having these most important tasks can stop you from filling your day with small insignificant tasks that don’t really help you achieve your goals.
You may also like: Goal Setting Mistakes You Are Probably Making
3. My Daily Plan With Your Week, Month, And Year In Mind
When you plan your day it can be easy to forget to look at the bigger picture. By forgetting that tasks can be spread over a longer period you can start to try to fit too much into your daily plan.
For example, maybe you have a specific occasion that involves lots of smaller tasks to complete. If you are only looking at your day you could be tempted to fit them all in on that day. Instead, taking a look at the week or even month as a whole those tasks could be spread throughout your days and your time made more productive by batching those smaller tasks with other like tasks.
Take getting ready for the Holiday Season. Rather than try to fit gift shopping, decorating, etc into one huge day you could put those smaller tasks with other tasks over a longer time period. Gift shopping when you are either online for another task or in-store for weekly shopping. Decorating could be batched with your weekly cleaning schedule.
4. Use Time Blocking
Hopefully, by now you have heard the news that multi-tasking doesn’t work. Rather than help us get more done it has the opposite effect.
With that in mind, it is a great idea to learn how to use time blocking to be more productive.
The secret to time blocking effectively is to put those smaller tasks that are alike into one-time block. For example, if you have any online tasks put those all together. This means you do not waste time constantly checking emails or other online tasks that can suck up your time throughout the day when you could be doing other tasks.
This trick also stops you from going back and forth between different types of tasks. This wastes time by making your brain constantly switch from one activity and back to another, stopping you from working more productively and effectively.
When it comes to organizing your time blocks be sure to put in those tasks that have to be done at a specific time first. These may be appointments or work tasks. Then place your other tasks around those.
A great tip is to put those tasks that help you work towards your goals as part of these specific time blocks.
How you set up your time blocks is very personal and may take some time and adjustment to get it right for you. Be sure to take the time to experiment with what works best for you.
It is also important to allow time for unexpected events and to add breaks to your time blocking. Rather than wasting time, taking a break will help you be more productive over the long term as well as provide other health and mental well-being benefits.
5. Add Deadlines
Setting a deadline for tasks is a great way to stop procrastination.
When you write down each task in your daily plan try to add a deadline time to that task. If you think you have all day to complete a task it can mean you leave a lot of your tasks till the end of the day. Creating stress and a sense of failure to finish your day.
When you set a deadline think about how your day will run, what each task involves, and how those tasks will flow throughout the day ( using the time blocking techniques mentioned above is a great help with this). Thinking of all your daily plans rather than just each individual task will help you create a realistic timeframe to work with.
Be careful when setting your deadlines as setting an unrealistic deadline can actually be counterproductive.
If you think a deadline is unachievable you will be more likely to put off doing that task. Alternatively, if a deadline is not realistic enough then you will find yourself dawdling with that extra time, rather than moving on to the next thing on your daily plan.
6. Evaluate Tasks Before Adding To Your Plan
It is normal for new tasks to come up as your day progresses. It can also be easy for your daily plan to get interrupted by adding lots of new…and maybe insignificant tasks.
Take a moment to think about a new task.
Is it urgent? Does it help you work towards your bigger plan or goal? Can it be added to another day’s plan to help you be more productive?
Prioritizing your tasks is the best way to make your day really count. We all only have so much time and energy each day. Don’t waste it doing things that won’t really matter in the long term.
If the new task is not urgent or helps you be more productive then be sure to write it down to be completed on another day.
7. Break Down Larger Tasks
Having a huge task on your daily plan is a surefire way to get you procrastinating.
Most larger tasks can be broken down into smaller and more manageable tasks. You may even find that these tasks can be spread over a longer time period than just one day.
This planning tip can also work for those tasks that you don’t want to do. Tasks that we find boring or unpleasant tend to be the ones that don’t get done. Finding a way to make these easier to tick off is a great way to make sure you stick to your daily plan.
8. Using a Daily Planner
Having an organized planning system is the best way to make your planning successful.
A Digital Journal is a great way to do this.
Not only are you able to have your journal with you at all times on your device ( great for checking your tasks to do) but a Digital Planner will have special planner pages to help you organize your day, and plan ahead for your week, month, and year.
Having your plans written down is also one of the best ways to get honest about your habits, productivity, and time management. When we can really see how we use each day we can then work towards being the best version of ourselves by tweaking those areas that need some improvement.
9. Review Your Day
Reviewing how your day went, and what worked and what didn’t is an essential part of creating a great planning habit.
We are all guilty of trying to do too much each day. By reviewing what you actually get done you can start to create realistic plans. This will not only stop you from being overwhelmed by your daily plan but actually help you get more done every day.
A great time to review your day is just before you plan your next day.
You can also migrate over any tasks that you didn’t get done onto the next day’s plan. Before you do this though be sure to think about if this task is actually important for that day. Can it be deleted altogether or added to another day’s plan for better use of your time?
Prioritizing your tasks will stop you from wasting time on things that don’t help you work towards your goals and make you more productive.
Another great benefit of taking the time to review your past day’s plan is to see how much you achieved.
We can all get caught up on future plans and what we have to do ahead. Looking back to see what we have already achieved is a great way to give yourself a confidence boost and also helps keeps you motivated.
More day to day Planning Tips:
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