It begins with a thought.
It's an idea in your head. And you create them with the most simple intention of making it happen. PLANS.
Plans are the best when they have been carefully thought out. And it begins as an idea which you build upon as you go along. The reason you started thinking in the first place comes from one thing only - to create an ideal scenario of how to spend the day without facing setbacks.
It should start out carefully. Every action has to have method and purpose. Every step must be strategized. You prepare, plan ahead and then execute. That's the scenario. Everything must be written down and followed to a tee so that tracking progress will be easy.
Doesn't that sound good? Having days like that is getting more and more scarce in a world where stress and distraction can readily multiply. It isn't easy to get rid of them without proper help. They will affect your day even when you don't expect them so just in case your day begins to toil and tumble, here are some things you can do to improve it:
1. Be Organized - In Thought, First of All
Do not begin your day with cluttered thoughts.
It sounds easy enough. But why can't many people get this right? In all honesty, no one is an expert at organizing from the start. But it can be done if you process your thinking methodically. Writing it down is one such way. When you practice the act of transferring your ideas on a piece of paper, your brain can start the visual mapping of that idea in your head.
This is then the start of information processing. The brain can process any information faster and even recall details when you can see it on a visual plane.
It is also sometimes called a “brain dump” of ideas. This is mostly recommended so you don't exhaust your mental capacity and avoid overthinking. You can organize your thoughts, first of all, if you practice the act of writing everything down in one place like a notebook or a planner. And then follow through by arranging these ideas in an organized fashion.
For example, you can do it in a bullet list or assign numbers to each line of thought. The easier your method, the better for your eyes (and brain) to process.
Once you can clearly see an organized view of your ideas, it is easier to get into the habit of planning with that organized mindset.
- Visualize Your Day
It helps your organization process when you can visualize your day first of all. What does your ideal Monday or Sunday, for example, look like? And to answer that, you have to consider what you have on your list/brain dump sheet.
You can begin to organize your day if you know what you want to do versus the things you have to do.
Imagining your day first can give you perspective on the amount of time spent - an estimation. IF you visualize every detail, you can control your plans accordingly. Going about your day can simply be following your thought-out schedule or, quite simply, not doing so.
- Begin And End Your Days With Planning
Take a queue from the playbook of highly successful people. The way to never have a bad day is to plan ahead, at the end of the day when you have nothing else left to do or before beginning your day upon waking up.
The secret, after all, is to make planning ahead a habit everyday. Planning gives you a track to run on. And it is something you can follow for the rest of the day so you don’t go “off the rails’ and lose control.
- Start With A Small List
There's probably one good reason your day never turns out as you expect. You weren't following a list for your tasks. So as you went about what you had to do, you jumped form one thing to another. Without focus and clarity, prioritizing tasks would never cross your mind.
One thing you can do to improve how you handle your day is to learn the art of creating to-do lists. If you're not a lister, don't make a big one. Start small lists at the beginning but do it everyday.
Lists give you clarity. And the reason why checklists work 100% of the time is because it reveals a higher way of thinking. Everything comes in sequence. Just be aware of one thing: For every checklist, there's always 1 or 2 things which are more important than the rest. And these take precedence above everything. For example, for every 10 tasks you write down, make room for 2 with higher priority over others.
And this is exactly what the daily layout of your planner will help you make. Don’t be afraid to use this part habitually.
- Set Up Your Day For Success
Never allow yourself to run out of steam. If you need a break, take it by all means. If you run out of energy, take a short nap and instantly get recharged after. One thing to remember about rests and breaks is they can set your entire day up to accomplish everything. It has a lot to do with your energy reserves.
If you plan a fully packed day but not have enough energy to do it all, you will never be able to follow through. Always include rests and breaks in your daily planning. This is one proven way let you get through your checklists and knock out your daily goals without running out of energy.
As it turns out, one way to have an improved day is to guarantee your energy levels throughout the hours where you're supposed to be most productive.
It's a good thing that all planners are laid out to include blocked schedules so you can set aside time for all your daily tasks, set aside time for each of them and then follow through with encouragement that you'll never fail and let the day get the best of you.
- Plan To Get Distracted
It's always the unexpected things we didn't plan for that can make or break our day. Even though you've meticulously planned out every detail, there will always be distractions that come in between your productivity.
The best way to handle distractions is to plan for them and have an action plan to deal with it. Distractions are always going to be there. But they don't have to step in the way of your productivity. The goal is to predict every obstacle in order to handle them better them next time. Be flexible in your plans as well since not all distractions repeat and not all can be thoroughly controlled.
- Don't Take Everything On
The key strategy is to keep a your day as productive as possible. That does not, in any way, imply that having a full packed day means you are being wise about using your time. So many people get this bit wrong.
If you want to set up your day for success and productivity, you need to be able to distinguish between being busy and being productive. Busy is a word we use when we don't know how to deal with the amount of workload and only acting upon them without having a strategy or a plan. The mistake a lot of people make is to dive head on and deal with it as you go along.
Always remember that you can't do everything. It's impossible to get it all done at the same time. But if you have a big workload, you can plan ahead and use time management to your advantage. Use a planner to keep track of all activities and always be on top of what you need to do.
Sometimes all it takes to have a an improved day is to plan and plan with commitment and mindfulness that everything you do is taking you towards your goals. It's not easy to do but with practice and faith, you will get better.
Your planner can turn your worst habits around and help you achieve your best goals. But you need to be present. The hard work is yours but so would the payoffs.