All of us are constantly searching for the next productivity hack, we look everywhere online and try all kinds of techniques that eventually do not work.
We cannot find time during our day to do the productive things we want to do that would move us forward.
What if I tell you that you actually have more time than you think.
There are a lot of articles written about how to plan your day, except, most of them are focused on only morning routines. How to plan a powerful morning that will make you more productive.
And I am a big advocate of that. I plan my mornings always in advance and the times I stick to my morning planning, I get so much more done.
But with this article, I wanted to give you a method I use myself to find more time during the day. We will not all have time every morning but we still all want to move forward towards our goals.
Why plan your day?
Planning your day beforehand will give you peace of mind. You will be ready for the next day and will not be overwhelmed by all the things you will have to do.
You will know what you have to do and when, so your mind will not be occupied with remembering it anymore. There will be no guesswork anymore as to what you will be doing the next day.
When you know when and what you have to do, you will become more productive.
If you will create the habit of daily planning, you will be more likely to pack your days with productive activities and actually get closer to reaching your goals.
You will create time to get things done and you will be more prone to really do them because you have physically written them down.
Planning is a time-saver, not a time-taker.
Your plan does not have to be perfect: If you are planning, you are one step ahead of everyone else already.
Mornings are important
I find it especially important to plan the first hours of my day. These hours are sacred for me and I try to get the most out of them every day.
When planning a day ahead, I know what I will be doing that day and especially in the morning. It is easier for me to not get distracted by all the things that the outer world is bombarding me with.
I will have more focus since I set goals that I really need to reach the next day to come closer to my goals. And I do not like breaking my habits…
The best time to schedule your day
A lot of people are still debating about the best moment to plan your day. But most will agree with me that planning your day is best to do the night before.
Doing the planning the night before will have you prepared to tackle the next day, and also let you go to bed with a rested mind that is not constantly remembering what to do.
Some of us will say they have a busy life and cannot find time to plan their day. But this is not true. We all have the same 1440 minutes every day, and it all just depends on how we use them. Most of them don’t use a daily planner.
Some people I know always say they do not have time to do stuff and especially for not making plannings and sticking to them. But when I look at what they are doing during their day, I can find a lot of time slots when they could do it.
We are so busy being busy, that we do not see how much time we actually have each day.
My advice is: plan your day before you go to bed, or right after your ”work” day ends.
If that will be too difficult for you, for whatever reason, try to find one free moment you will have every day, and build that habit of preparing a daily plan at that moment.
Remember: Planning saves time, it doesn’t take time.
Before you plan your day, you should also know how to plan your week. I will create a more in-depth post about how to plan your week later.
For now, you can watch this video that I used since I have started with self-development and planning my weeks.
How To Plan Your Day For Success
Step 1: Make the M&P-List for an overview
The first step is to get everything out of your head and onto paper.
The M&P stands for Maintenance and Productivity.
I split my tasks into 2 different sections. One of them is maintenance. These tasks are the ones you know you have to do, but that do not necessarily move you towards your goals.
I call these kinds of tasks maintenance tasks because they are not really avoidable and we all are humans that have to do them.
These tasks can include doing laundry, buying groceries, cleaning, answering emails, calling someone or picking up the kids.
The second section is productivity. These are the tasks that you really want to do and that move you closer towards your goals.
This can be anything from reading a book, creating a blog post, taking dance classes, starting a business, learning a new skill.
Now try to make two lists to plan your day:
On the first list write down all the maintenance tasks you need to do for that day.
On the second list write down a maximum of 5 productive tasks you would like to do that day, and number them from 1 to 5 depending on importance.
These lists will help your brain organize the tasks you need to do for that day, and make it easier to schedule your day.
Step 2: Schedule the maintenance task to plan your day
Now when you have created your two lists, it is time to put them into your daily planner.
Look at all your maintenance tasks like laundry, groceries, meetings, work, etc. Plan them in a certain time slot in your time table.
For me that would be going to the gym from 1 PM until 2.30PM, doing groceries until 3 PM and having a phone call again at around 6 PM.
I put that into my daily planner and get a visual picture of what my day will look like.
There might be some days that you will have a lot of maintenance tasks, and some days you will have less of those.
My advice is to plan these maintenance tasks on the same days and times (if possible). That way, you create habits of these maintenance tasks.
E.g.: Do your laundry every week on the same day.
This will help your brain be more relaxed, knowing when you have to do it. You will already be able to prepare your planning around it because you will know, Monday is laundry day haha! 🙂
Step 3: Fill in the open time slots
Finally, it is time to plan your day for success!
When you have scheduled your maintenance tasks, you will notice open time slots during the day.
But you also have your list of the 5 productive tasks you want to do to move towards your goals. Now we have to plan them into your day, too.
Look at the open time slots you have left during the day. Try to see if you can squeeze some of the productive tasks into the open time slots.
Most of the time, people will find out two things about their daily schedule.
They have a lot of free time in the mornings and evenings.
They have a lot of open time slots spread out during the day that they do not use productively.
Therefore, put your 5 productive tasks in the time slots where you think you will have enough time to get them done.
Make sure to consider how long a task realistically will take.
If you see that you have 40 minutes between doing groceries and having a meeting and you planned on reading a book for 20 minutes, why not spend your time reading that book there?
You will not be able to do all the five tasks every single day, because some days might be busier than others, but try to put at least a couple of them into your schedule.
If you already get two tasks of the five into your plan, you will have already taken steps that move you towards your goals and you will be more productive than usual.
Remember that your day does not have to be perfect, every small step forward counts on your journey.
Now it is up to you, how are you going to use your days? Are you going to plan so you can reach your goals?
I know this is not the conventional way of planning your day, trying to squeeze some productive tasks into your day whenever you have free slots.
But I just see a lot of people saying they do not have time to get things done. And when I look at their daily schedule I notice a lot of gaps that are being wasted.
Of course, the hard part of this approach is to yourself to do it.
It is way easier to do something easy like watching Netflix in between your maintenance tasks instead of doing something productive that moves you forward.
But you have to think about your goals and reasons why you want to reach them.
Think about to do these tasks instead of spending time doing things that do not move you forward.
I hope this approach will help some of you get more things done.
See you next time.