Get the most out of every day
Updated: May 13, 2020
Like most people, I feel like my days, and my life can quickly become out of control and utterly unproductive if I don't plan them. Planning, as well as creating healthy habits and routines, and setting goals and priorities are the key to being regularly productive and reducing stress and anxiety.
If you are not clear and focused on what you need or want to achieve each day, you'll be prone to time-wasting and procrastination. You know those days where you open up Facebook for the second time in 20 minutes, or you go and make another cup of tea, or just move things from one place to another? We all have days like that. But, when you are clear on how you would like your day to go, this is less likely to happen.
Even though I use a digital calendar, I still find it really helpful to write down an overview of what my day ahead looks like. I'm a visual person and find that writing and having a mental rehearsal, helps me to feel more in control.
It makes such a difference to get everything out of your head and onto paper. As much as I still use and love technology for planning and staying organised, I can't live without writing. Writing things down by hand really helps me to keep my mind calm and set my intentions.
"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives" - Annie Dillard
SET YOUR INTENTIONS FOR THE DAY
I use my Daily Planner Page (available to download free from the resources page), most days.
I think it works best if you try and get into the habit of filling it in each evening (it helps you to sleep better) or first thing in the morning as part of your morning routine. You don't have to use it every day if you don't want to - just as often as you can or whenever you need a little more focus.
Writing a plan for the day helps me to feel like I'm in control of my day (rather than the other way round). It eliminates the feeling of overwhelm, helps me focus solely on what needs to be done each day, reduces procrastination and helps me stick to my healthy habits.
I can also see when everything I needed to do is done, so it's easier to relax and wind down at the end of the day.
These are some of the prompts included in my daily planner page;
Why today is going to be a good day
Even writing down something small will help you to have a more positive start to the day. This is often the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, and it helps me to feel happier
The most important things for today
Write down three things that you would like to get done each day. I find that three is my magic number. It doesn't feel too overwhelming so you have a high chance of ticking them off.
Keep it simple. Don't write down everything on your to-do list. I keep a separate reminders list that I write everything on, and then pick the top three to-dos for each day.
Make sure that your daily goals are in line with your long-term goals and priorities.
Create your flow and schedule for the day
You don't have to fill every hour - it's just a guide to keep you on track. Where do you have to be and when? First, write down (time block) the places and appointments that you have to be at during the day so that you can plan the rest of the day around them.
You have to be realistic about how much time you have in your day, and what is possible for you to achieve. Don't try and do too much.
Make sure that you have given yourself time for something that you can look forward too. Your day shouldn't be all about work and to-dos. It can be making time to exercise, to spend with family and friends or some me-time - even if it's just 15 minutes.
If something comes up that takes you off your schedule, or you can't fill it in - it's okay. It's a page that you can come back to any time you need to find your focus.
You have to take care of yourself to be able to feel at your best and give yourself the energy you need to have a productive day. Plan some clean and nutritious meals to keep you going.
Keeping hydrated is important. Check off how many glasses/bottles of water you've had throughout the day.
You might think of yourself as quite a healthy person, but when you look back at what you've eaten, your water intake and how much exercise you've done - it might be a different story.
Take a moment to reflect on the day, look at what you've accomplished and how you felt. Make sure that you end the day on a positive. I believe it's always good to finish (and start) your day thinking about what you are grateful for - appreciating the flowers in your garden or speaking to family and friends...
DECLUTTER YOUR MIND AND ORGANISE YOUR THOUGHTS
Write down all the things that are on your mind. To-do's, ideas, goals and responsibilities...
The reason that most people lack focus and attention is that they have too many thoughts swirling in their head, demanding attention.
One of the biggest causes of my anxiety is having too much on my mind. But I always find relief when I take pen to paper and simply get it all out. After you've written out everything on your mind, you may find that it's less intimidating on paper than it was in your head.
From here, you can evaluate your list and get a clearer view of what's important. You can then prioritise and organise, or shelve them to a reminder list if not a priority at the moment.
You can use this page in whatever way you like, depending on the type of day that you are having. You can group similar things under a category heading to organise your thoughts - work, home, personal, health and fitness, errands to run, life admin to-dos, things you need to buy - whatever pops into your mind.
Click on the image below to visit the resources page download your free daily planner page printable.
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