Each of us have multiple roles we need to fulfill each day, and with each role, there are multiple priorities all vying for our focus, attention, and time. It can all get a bit much, particularly, if you have not planned and prepared your day, properly.

The level of planning and preparation we put into larger events in our lives would directly impact the result, either a raging success or complete chaos. Despite this knowledge of how important planning and preparation are, we often still neglect where it would impact us the most – our daily lives.

Waking up and spontaneously doing things without any prior thought may work for (a small number of) some people, but I can contest that it does not work for most humans I know. If we start our day without any intention, it will often mean goals are missed, and us feeling perplexed with where the time has gone.

The best approach to avoiding unproductive days is to develop a daily planning routine. One which works for you, and leaves you feeling calm, focused, and productive. This post will comprehensively walk you through different strategies to consider when developing your daily planning routine.

Once you have your strategies in place, planning your day shouldn’t take longer than 15mins, but it’s worth spending time trying and refining different approaches to figure out what works best for you.

First things first, let’s make planning a habit

Planning to plan is key. Scheduling time, at the same time each day will help make this happen. Approaching the day with a plan may not feel so important when you wake up feeling energized and motivated to seize the day, but you’ll need it when it’s still dark outside, freezing cold, and the allure of your warm bed is hard to resist.

Set an alarm for 15mins dedicated to planning out your day. This could be first thing in the morning, or as part of your end-of-day routine. You will soon reap the benefits of this habit, feeling more organized and driven for the day ahead. Over time, planning your day will become natural, a habit that you won’t have to think about.

Don’t forget your goals when prioritizing tasks

It’s important to ensure that your daily planning is helping you get closer to your bigger goals. Ensuring that they are aligned, will add further motivation to completing tasks. Do this by breaking down your bigger goals into smaller, more achievable chunks. For example, you can’t just ‘create and publish a new blog’, but you can ‘brainstorm blog post ideas’, ‘look at different blog platforms’, and ‘draft blog post 1’. Each task clearly contributes to the larger goal.

Look beyond today, and view your week as a whole

There are only 24 hours in a day. You will have multiple goals, each with their own list of tasks to accomplish. Are there tasks you need to complete every day? Are there tasks you could do as a batch? Or are there tasks all related to one goal? Some may have a tight deadline, whilst others are more flexible.

When you zoom out and look at your whole week, this may help you work out priorities for each day.

Utilize a productivity method

There are quite a few to choose from! Now that you’ve looked at your bigger goals and your week as a whole, let’s get to it!

A mix of process and strategy, once you find the right method, it can make a huge difference to your productivity. When you start comparing, testing, and implementing different methods, keep in mind that…

  • these methods are only guidelines. Refine them as you see fit to your specific work style
  • feel free to choose your own adventure – you can mix and match these methods to create one which works best for you
  • remember that the goal is to get tasks done! If you’re finding it takes a considerable amount of time and energy to stick to a method, it’s not for you
  • you may have to switch between methods. A method might work for your current project, but not others. Or it may have worked last month, but not this month
  • what works well for your colleague, may not work well for you. You are unique and the method that works for someone else may not fulfill your requirements
  • you need to still put in the effort. Finding a productivity method that works for you is fantastic! But it is no silver bullet, you will still need to put in the effort

‘Now that we have a solid foundation, let’s look at different productivity methods (Pomodoro Technique, Time Blocking, Getting Things Done, Eat the Frog) and tools (Digital – Llama Life, Notion, or pen and paper!).’

Check out Part 2 – Productivity methods to consider – Coming out 14th July 2022

Guest Post – Nhi Hemingway

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