Plan Your Day & Priorities to Get Things Done
Have you ever had a day like this? You look at your watch and it’s time to pick up your kids from school or it’s almost lunchtime and it feels like you have not accomplished anything? Your daily to-do list is still too long. But wait, you have been busy, working hard all morning. But, what were you doing? What one important thing did you accomplish? You wonder how could you plan your day better and get things done?
Does it seem like you are busy all the time, but never getting the right things done? Let’s talk about how you can manage time to improve your productivity.
How to plan your day is part of the Organize Your Life series. We are going week-by-week and organizing our home, our time, our digital life and more. You can read all the posts on the Organize Your Life page.
If you want to plan your day right and get things done, you need to start with a plan every day. Your plan should include several key priorities that will help you maintain your focus all day. You can use the Daily Focus Planner to help you make your daily to-do list and plan your day (get a copy below).
5 Secrets to Planning Your Day Successfully
Today’s Daily One Focus
When you start your daily plan, ask yourself, what is the one thing you must do today to feel successful or that you have been productive? Do you have a project you want to finish? A room you are redecorating? Schoolwork or study time with your child?
Every night before you go to bed or first thing in the morning write down your “Daily One Focus”. When you start your day, keep your focus on this one task. No multi-tasking allowed. Focus your time and mental energy on completing this one important task you selected for today.
Since I started using the Daily One Focus method, the more I focus on just one main project or task a day, I will get the Daily One Focus task completed and so much more. When you don’t focus on your one priority focus for the day, you actually get less done.
Your goal is to be sure you complete today’s one most important task or goal today. Only on rare occasions should this task be carried over to the next day (i.e. unforeseen circumstances like your child is sick or your car breaks down and you are prevented from working on this task). Don’t be too easy on yourself or you will continually come up with excuses for not completing your one daily priority.
At the end of the day, your “Daily One Focus” should be complete and you are ready to start tomorrow’s priority.
The Hot List
After you have completed your “Daily One Focus” task, you will usually have 2 or 3 other important tasks that should be done today. These tasks are your “hot list”. A hot list could include many things such as:
- get an oil change for your car
- balance your checkbook and mail all payments due
- schedule doctor/dentist appointments for your children
- business-related tasks you need to complete
- cleaning your house
- making your weekly/monthly meal plan
You can include many types of chores or tasks on your daily hot list. When selecting what to include on the hot list, you should include only high-priority tasks and ones you believe can be completed on the day you schedule them.
You may also find it helpful to give these chores and tasks a number (i.e. 1, 2, 3) and complete them in the order you assigned them. If you rank everything by importance, you will continue your focus on completing the most important things first.
The best hours of the day are early in the morning. You will accomplish so much more early in the morning. Your home may still be quiet since everyone is still asleep. You will have energy because you are well-rested from a good night’s rest.
If you want to complete your “Daily One Focus” and “hot list”, you need to get an early start on the day. If you wait until the end of the day or after your children go to sleep, you may be too tired and not have the energy to complete what needs to be done. Depending on the time, if you need to reach other businesses, starting early in the day is better.
All Action Must Be Focused
As you go through your day at home or at work, are all your actions focused on completing your “Daily One Focus” and “hot list”? You must have a laser focus on these tasks. Don’t let yourself get distracted by Facebook or Pinterest unless they are part of your daily focus.
To stay focused, you must be disciplined. You will need to recognize what distracts you and causes you to miss deadlines. Then you will need to set up ways to self-correct if you get distracted.
It’s so easy to have our phone with us all day. We pick it up to read a message, then before we know it we have spent 20 minutes scrolling Facebook or Pinterest.
Social media is fine to enjoy. But don’t become so involved in reading Facebook updates you don’t complete your “Daily One Focus” or don’t spend too much time on your Pinterest feed and don’t complete your “hot list”.
If you want to take a break from your focused work, you can set a timer for 10 minutes. Enjoy and comment on Facebook or Pinterest. When the timer chimes, it’s time to get back to your “Daily One Focus” or “hot list”.
Also recommended: 6 Steps to Stop Procrastinating
Always Have a Plan
If you want to get more done each day, you will need a plan. A plan that helps you determine your most important daily task or chore, a plan that also allows for 2 or 3 other important tasks and recognition of what distracts you from completing your goals.
You should also have a plan for when things don’t go as planned. Don’t panic. Take a few minutes and determine what you can do or if there an alternative approach you can take. When you take a moment to gather your thoughts, you will usually a new solution.
To help you with your daily plan, I’m sharing this to-do list printable – Daily Focus Planner for you. This planner has a daily or monthly layout and you can set your daily priorities or hotlist plus things you would like to-do list and note pages.
Get your Daily Focus Planner and start mastering your time today.
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How do you manage your time? What is your best time management tip?
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