How many times do you lay your head down at night and actually feel fulfilled with what you got done today?
Now, I’m not only talking about your to-do list at work, or your chore list at home. I’m talking about actual real fulfillment with how your day went.
For you, that fulfillment may be spending 30 minutes with your grandparents, watching your kids ride their bike, getting a killer workout in, or crushing your work day.
We all have different aspirations and goals for our lives, but we all want the same thing.
To be happy with the person we are becoming.
We don’t just suddenly turn into the person that we want to be. It takes real daily effort. It takes planning. It takes discipline and determination.
That’s why it’s so important to figure out a way to plan each day without causing yourself a bunch of stress and anxiety.
If you’re like me, then you’ve probably tried a dozen different ways to plan your day, but you’ve never been able to totally stick with it.
I struggled with planning my day for a long time, until I understood that I needed to know what was driving me to do the things that I do.
Creating a plan, without understanding why you’re doing what you’re doing, will keep you from having long term success.
Once you have your foundation, it will only take 10 minutes or less to actually plan your day.
After you have a little practice at planning your day this way, you will be able to batch things together and you’ll be more productive than ever before while still staying relatively stress free!
There are 2 things that you need to do, right now, before you start planning your day.
1 – Find your whys
The foundation for everything that we do is why we do it.
Until you understand what is driving you, your daily activities are going to feel mundane and repetitive. You’ve probably noticed this before.
You’ll have a lot of motivation to try something new, and then it just goes away one day.
Understanding what drives you is the key to continuing on even after your motivation fades.
Spend a little time going through and writing down your whys. It will truly change your life.
2 – Build your personal development plan
After you understand what’s driving you, the next step is to build your personal development plan.
This might sound a little too formal for you, but believe me, it’s not actually all that serious or difficult.
It includes 3 simple questions.
- What will I do each day to progress on my journey?
- What will I do this month to progress on my journey?
- What will I do this year to progress on my journey?
Taking the time to build your plan will make your daily planning infinitely easier and more effective.
And now, FINALLY, you’re going to get into the meat and potatoes of actually mapping out how you’re going to spend your time today!
Break the elephant down into bite sized chunks
You have big goals, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. You’ve probably got them broken down into short term and long term goals.
Sometimes you can get yourself overwhelmed if you try to do too much at one time.
That’s why it’s so important to try to make each task as achievable as possible.
For example, here’s a pretty typical day for me:
- 20 minutes of yoga
- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class
- Post helpful advice on instagram
- Execute pinterest plan
- Write an article/work on outline for next article
- Create a video
- Check in with a friend
- Call a family member
- Walk the dogs
- Check Mint (personal finance app)
- Analyze an investment property
- Read 20 pages of book
It changes from day to day, but a lot of these things are what I try to get done every single day.
Your list might look totally different than mine, but all of these things come straight from my personal development plan and my whys.
You can see that nothing on here looks too overwhelming.
It’s easy for me to say no to things that aren’t on this list because I know how important these things are to me.
Choose to do enough to keep you headed in the right direction. Remember, you’re trying to be better than you were yesterday.
Make sure there is at least 1 thing from each of the big 6 categories to get done, and don’t negotiate
If you’ve created your whys and personal development plan then you know how important each of these categories is to living a happy and fulfilling life.
There will be times where 1 is more important than the rest, but you still need to spend just a little bit of time each day on all 6.
Use the Eisenhower Matrix to help determine what is essential to get done today
Your list may be a lot longer than mine, and you might start second guessing yourself on whether or not you can get it all done.
That’s OK! This is all about trial and error. You will hardly ever succeed at your first try for anything.
Try narrowing your list down by using the Eisenhower matrix below.
Using this method can take your list from unmanageable to manageable in just a matter of minutes.
Put it on your calendar
If you’ve already read the article about planning your week, then you know that I recommend picking one type of calendar and sticking with it.
I’m a big fan of hard copy planners, but also love the freedom that you get with using a cloud based calendar.
After I lay everything out in my daily planner, I schedule everything on my google calendar. I schedule time to write, read, work on my business, practice jiu jitsu, and everything in between.
The way I look at it is, if it’s not important enough for me to schedule, then it’s not really all that important to me.
Discipline when executing your plan will make your entire life less stressful.
You’ve already decided what’s important to you. You have it on your calendar. You know why you’re doing it.
Now just stay disciplined and do it!
Wrapping it up
Planning your day doesn’t have to be stressful. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time.
Once you set your foundation by discovering your whys and building your personal development plan, you will be able to get your daily plan done in less than 10 minutes.
You’ll be amazed at how much less stress you put on yourself throughout the day when you’ve clearly defined what you are going to do and what you aren’t going to do!
Remember, make a little progress today.
For more ideas on productivity, check out our ultimate guide!
- Using the 80/20 Rule (Pareto Principle) to Make the Most of your Life - May 9, 2020
- How to Use Time Blocking to Stop Procrastinating and Relieve Stress - April 30, 2020
- 5 Creative Ways to Get the Most out of a Daily Planner - April 16, 2020