How to get the most out of your day
I’m a planner. I love to plan. I can make plans all day long and I love to get all the supplies to make my planning pretty and colorful. Notebooks, fine tip colored sharpies (my favorite color is fuchsia – I can get so much done when my to do list is written in fuchsia sharpie). Now execution…well that’s another story but more about that a little later in the post.
On Sunday I sit down to plan my day and if I don’t it sets the tone for my week which is not good. I know it sounds ridiculous but planning on Monday morning just makes me feel like I’m behind and usually that feeling will follow me all week.
The importance of planning my day is paramount to my productivity. Well, that and what is hot on Netflix at the time.
“Failing to plan, is planning to fail.”
I’m sure you’ve heard that quote before and even if you’re not a fan of tired old quotes and cliches like I am you can’t argue that the quote is true.
Now while I love to plan there are times when I get to the end of my plan, and then I wing it until I find the time to plan again. Because planning is hard, and it takes time. I hear all the time from people that they feel all over the place because I don’t have the time to sit down and plan.
But that’s crap. You don’t have time NOT to plan. If you don’t have a plan how will you know where you are going and how you’re going to get there? Your plan is your roadmap and your to do list is your directions.
Don’t you feel more stressed and anxious when you don’t plan?
I know I do. When I don’t plan my stress level rises and my productivity slows.
Each Sunday when I sit down to plan I write down a list of everything I need to accomplish that week. I look at my calendar, my millions of post-it notes stuck all over, my jotted down notes from the previous weeks, and what needs to happen this week to move my business in the right direction.
To prevent myself from over committing I first go through and just put down what HAS to be done. I then create a block schedule for each day. That’s where I assign a timeframe to each task.
For example, on a Monday I may have tasks such as:
Working on a book
Write a blog post
Write and schedule my social media
I will assign times to them as follows:
6 am – 8 am working on my book
8:15 am – 8:30 am break
8:30 am – 10 am write the blog post
10 am – 10:15 break
10:15 am – 11:15 am write and schedule social media
YES, YOU HAVE TO SCHEDULE BREAKS – YOU’RE NOT A MACHINE!!
I’ve been doing these tasks long enough that I can pretty accurately estimate how much time I need for these things, but it doesn’t always work this easy. Not to mention calls and emails, of course, get in the way.
Those will ALWAYS get in the way, so I have made it a practice – though I admit it’s sometimes hard to stick to – of not checking email until AFTER I finished my first 2 hours of writing each day.
If I don’t inevitably something pops up that I feel needs my immediate attention. Then I get distracted and lose focus on my writing. I’m most creative in the morning, so I need to get in that time.
Today’s life of being connected at all times in fifty different ways have made us all feel like we are so important that someone can’t live without our answer for 2 minutes much less 2 hours. We’ve also all been trained to expect someone to respond to us within 2 minutes, and if they go a whole 5 OMG, you start thinking they’re dead.
The truth is an email, text; a phone call can sit unreturned for a couple hours, and no one is going to die. Well, unless you’re a brain surgeon or something then you should probably NOT go off the grid even for 2 hours.
If I block schedule my day, it at least allows me to give every task for that day a spot. If I don’t, I find that I have way too much Monday left for Tuesday and by Thursday I’m about to have a breakdown.
How do you plan your days?