Planning is my jam, y’all. I could spend hours upon hours planning.
Follow through… well, that’s a different story.
It wasn’t until I learned how to plan my day effectively that I was able to actually do what I had planned.
- 10 Planning Mistakes that are Keeping You Stuck
- How to Create a Daily Routine that Honors Your Priorities
- 35 Time Management Tips that Will Skyrocket Your Productivity
Planning, in general, comes pretty naturally to me.
What I needed to learn was how to break my big picture plans down into daily action steps that move me closer to my goals.
It took a lot of trial and error over the years to find a system that works for me.
I find that the more diligent I am with planning out my day, the more I can accomplish.
There is freedom in discipline.
The result is the ability to truly enjoy my downtime without worrying about my task list.
How to plan your day
We all have a million things going on each day. It’s no secret that women are busy.
I’m going to give you some insight into what I’ve learned over the years when it comes to planning.
I will show you some of the things that help me in hopes that it will show you how to plan your day.
Below are ten simple tips to help you organize your schedule, so you can stick to it:
1 // Plan ahead
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to plan as you go.
I value flexibility, so I don’t plan every minute of every day.
The weeks when I am most productive are those that I take the time to plan ahead.
Dedicate some time on Friday or Sunday to sit down and plan out the upcoming week.
It is super helpful to already have your tasks mapped out for you, so all you have to do is execute.
You will not always feel like doing what needs to be done.
Make the decision ahead of time when you are thinking logically instead of reacting based on how you feel.
2 // Use a calendar
The best planner is one you actually use.
There is no perfect planner, friends.
What matters is that you find one you will actually use.
Whether you’re a digital or paper kind of girl, you need a calendar.
A random piece of notebook paper or a million post-it notes just won’t cut it.
This might work in a pinch, but you want a system that lasts.
Pick one and stick to it.
If, over time, you realize that it’s not working for you, choose another.
Whatever the case, use a calendar and keep it in front of you at all times.
3 // Write down your to-do’s
When it comes time to sit down and plan out your week, start by making a master to-do list.
Us productivity nerds like to call this a “brain dump.”
Get everything out of your head and onto paper.
Write it allllll down.
Jot down anything and everything you can think of, so you have nothing left swirling around in that pretty little head of yours.
One reason that women are so overwhelmed these days is that we have a million things going through our heads at any given time.
Release the pressure by writing it out on a piece of paper.
Seeing it will allow you to sort through your list and make a plan of action.
4 // Prioritize your tasks
When you are finished writing down everything that needs to be done, you can sort your tasks.
Break your master list down into smaller lists based on what is urgent and what can wait.
Eventually, you will want to move away from tackling your to-do list based on urgency.
Once you get really good at planning, you will be able to forecast what needs to be done and stop putting out fires last minute.
For now, though, you do need to know what must get done no matter what.
After you sort your list by urgency, you can sort your list according to your priorities.
Priorities are everything.
Do you know what your priorities are?
If not, you should take the time to figure that out.
It is so important to know your priorities, but that is another post for another day.
5 // Fill in your schedule
Now it’s time to grab your calendar and your to-do list and get down to business.
Take note of any appointments or deadlines, so you can plan around them.
Put time-sensitive things on your calendar first.
Notice any open blocks of time and fill in the empty space with your to-do’s for the week.
Start with those things that are most urgent. Then, move on to the rest.
This part is pretty cut and dry.
Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to complete your tasks and be careful not to cram too much into one day.
6 // Get specific
When you write your to-do’s in your planner, you want to be as specific as possible.
This is a total game-changer.
If you want to schedule a time to clean, for example, do not write “clean” on your calendar.
Instead, write down exactly what you plan to clean in that allotted time.
Remember, you want to make as many decisions ahead of time as you can.
This makes it easier to follow through on the task at hand.
7 // Batch your tasks
When you focus on too many things at the same time, you cannot give any one of those things your full attention.
In fact, switching your focus back and forth slows you down.
Batching your tasks will turn you into a productivity powerhouse.
Simply put, this means that you put like items together in your calendar.
You can batch your tasks by type or by day.
My planner breaks each day up into three blocks, and I can organize my tasks however I see fit.
The possibilities are endless.
8 // Rely on routines
After a few weeks of planning, you may realize that some tasks repeat daily or weekly.
Write them down anyway.
Routines are good because they make things predictable.
Adding your routines to your calendar each and every week will cause them to become… well, routine!
A routine is great to have in place, so you have something to fall back on when life gets hectic.
If you have an off day, you can get right back on track the next day.
Routine tasks aren’t always fun, but a routine makes life so much easier.
9 // Be realistic
If you are constantly overwhelmed, you may need to face up to the fact that you have too much on your plate.
You do not have to do everything yourself.
Look for ways to simplify your schedule, delegate certain tasks, or say no to commitments you cannot keep.
There is no one-size-fits-all here.
Figure out something that works for you, your family, and your season of life.
10 // Don’t forget to have fun
By now, you may think I’m all work and no play.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
I can be super lazy sometimes.
That’s why I dove headfirst into learning productivity and time management.
I needed to figure out how to get things done, so I can enjoy my downtime guilt-free!
Downtime is essential. We all need our rest and relaxation.
When you’re planning your day, be sure to include some white space.
You are not a machine.
Plan your days accordingly, so you can spend more time on the things that make life worth living.
Now, it’s your turn
I used to be right where you are – overwhelmed, frustrated, and scrambling to keep up with everything on my to-do list.
You were meant for MORE.
MORE than struggling to keep up.
MORE than survival mode.
Now you know how to plan your day and stick to it.
Stop wasting those precious moments that could be spent on something more important.
You got this, mama.