Essential Tips to Plan Out your Day
Whether you're new to sticking to daily plans or want some suggestions on how to structure your schedule more effectively, these 4 tips are essential to managing your time better and improving your productivity.
1. Be specific in your goals
Any successful plan has goals. The more specific they are, the easier it is to accomplish. People will often have a general idea of what they wanna do and end up writing down vague tasks like "clean up room" or "work on project."
These statements are too open-ended, with no clear objective besides get it done – whatever that means varies. As a result, you end up trudging aimlessly towards a distant goal. More than likely, you'll feel dissatisfied at the end of the day because you didn't progress far enough.
Instead, break down your intentions into clear, specific goals. If it's working, decide what particular things you want to accomplish on that day and stick to it. This will also help you maintain a healthy work/life balance, as you have a clear indication of when to call it a day and move on to something else.
2. Separate your Tasks into Different Priority Levels
Being specific when making goals helps, but it can only get you so far without the right prioritization. There are only so many hours in a day. So when you're structuring out your schedule, it's essential to account for the level of importance, so you're not wasting precious time. I recommend separating your list into 3 categories: High, Low, and Daily priority.
Daily priority is pretty self-explanatory. These are the things you need to do every day, such as check your email or read a portion of that book. Think of these tasks as brushing your teeth; they're significant in that you should be doing them every day, but they're not the heavy hitters that need your full attention.
High priority tasks are critical items; you need to finish them today. This list is for the big things you want to accomplish - making significant progress on a work project, for example.
Low priority is for things on the to-do list that are not immediately important. You could be doing them today, but they're not absolutely necessary for success today. It's crucial to note that low priority items will eventually become high priority ones. So you should not only plan out individual days but think long term.
3. Plan with the Future in Mind
Progress doesn't happen in a vacuum. So while you're accomplishing things day-to-day, it's vital to be working towards an eventual end result – even if there's not a specific deadline or you're not exactly sure what the end-goal is. Planning long term will ensure you're heading in the right direction while making significant strides.
My recommendation is to first think about what you want to accomplish one year from now. Brainstorm a list without hesitating to edit it – just list out ideas until you run out. Then break it down month by month. Then into weeks. Then into individual days. By doing this process, you can turn big and vague desires into small and specific goals.
4. Forgive Yourself for Failing
Lastly, it's important to remember that we're all human. We plan things out with the best-case scenario in mind, not realistically. Life happens, though. Plans won't always work out.
Maybe something urgent comes up and blindsides you. Or you wake up late, and now your whole schedule is off. Perhaps you're just not feeling productive on a particular day. Those things are fine and to be expected.
Avoid planning your time hyper rigidly so you won't stress out when you fall behind. Allow time for breaks and relaxation – so you can recenter yourself both mentally and physically.
We won't always be at our best. It's essential to recognize that and be okay with it. No sweat. You'll bounce back and get right back to your schedule in no time.