Hi & welcome to the final day of the how to plan challenge! I am so glad you made it this far! You are definitely showing up in your life by taking this challenge and I hope it made a difference for you.
Now let’s start planning our day and sticking with it!
It’s time to start taking action day-by-day. But with life, lots of things can come up. There is always a million things going on and it can shift and mess up our perfect plans. It’s not easy once life gets in the way of our plans.
Whenever I don’t take the time to plan out my day and instead try to wing it, I always end up wasting time. I never know what to work on or how to start. I get too caught up in a task that wasn’t even important. Or I try to do everything all at once and end up getting nothing finished. So my days end up being extremely busy yet totally unproductive.
By planning my day ahead of time, I end up saving time, and feeling less stressed out and overwhelmed.
In this post, I will be showing you a step-by-step plan on how I plan my days to schedule and create balance in my life.

How to Plan Your Day & Stick to it:

1. Block off committed tasks first

  • Look at your weekly schedule and plan in your committed tasks such as appointments, picking up your kids from school, the time you need to stop working etc.
  • Calculate if you have enough time time in your day to finish your to do list. If not adjust your priorities and shift things around
  • Change what you can

2. Capture everything & figure out what you have to do

  • Everyday we are bombarded with tasks, events and other things that need to be processed. Have a place where you can capture it all so nothing gets forgotten or missed.
  • Add all of the tasks to your  to-do list or inbox and process it every day. Put everything into your  inbox — little, big, personal and professional. All your to-do’s, projects, things to handle or finish. This will help free up your brain and ensure you never forget anything.
  • Now decide what to do with your brain dump
    • If it takes less than 2 minutes, do it now.
    • Prioritize what’s important and urgent
    • Eliminate tasks that you really don’t need to do
      • Apply Pareto’s Law which states that 20% of inputs create 80% of outputs. What are the 20% of tasks with the highest impact? Focus on the important few and eliminate or minimize the rest!
      • Make “NO” your default response to commitments and tasks: When faced with a task, replace the question “How can I do this?” with “Can I say “NO” to this?”. Constantly question yourself if something is really necessary!
    • Delegate tasks to someone else – ask for help
    • Or figure out a way to automate it.

3. Plan Your Day the Night Before

Planning your day the night before ensures that you are doing things that are important to you rather than urgent. When you plan ahead of time, nothing is getting in the way of your plans. & you can be sure to rest easy knowing that everything is ready for you tomorrow morning.
  • Each week you should have had 3 main goals for the week. Look at that list or your monthly list and decide what needs to get done today. What can you move into your day? Focus on your outcome goals
  • Set 1-3 MITs (Most Important Tasks) each day. Make sure at least 1-2 are related to your goals. I like to write down my top 3 each day down in my Daily Planner to make sure I stay focused. Writing it down also helps me to stay motivated every time I check one of them off!
    • What tasks would make for a productive and accomplished day?
    • If you can only get 3 things done today what would it be?
    • Even if you only get those 3 things done you will still feel like it was a good day.
    • Choose your top 3 tasks each day, doing this helps you focus and makes sure you are getting the important things done.
    • Next to each task, write down your estimate of how long each task will take to get done. Set time limits and deadlines
    • Write down your tasks in a to do list or bullet form. Break down big tasks and create subtasks by indenting them
  • Use the top line or box for all day events or special occasions.
  • Use stickers for major events so they stand out.

4. Look at your weekly schedule and block out time for your big tasks. Find open time slots

  • Which time of the day do you have the most energy and focus? Which of the day do you have the least energy?
  • How much time do you have available to work? Be realistic about the amount of time you have and the number of tasks you’re trying to plan
  • Schedule in your tasks, and plan according to your energly levels

5. Set rules or themes for each day.

Having predefined rules for your day reduces decision making and saves you energy and time. I know what I have to do each day of the week because of my themed days. Without those I would be lost. So take some time to set up your focus or themes for each day.

6. Schedule in self-care, downtime and fun stuff.

Find open time slots for smaller tasks

  • If you notice you have a free ten minutes here or an empty half hour there, fill this space with tasks that need to get done but always end up getting pushed to the side. These are things that aren’t helping you reach an ultimate goal, but still need to get completed.

7. Take Action

  • Work on the first task and do it
    • Use pomodoros – the process of using timers to help you stay focused for a certain amount of time. Read more about pomodoros here.
    • Eat the Frog – do the task your most dreading to do first thing in the morning so everything else will be easier.
  • Don’t get distracted
    • Make a list of common distractions that prevent you from getting your top 3 things done
      • attitudes, sleeping in too late, sickness, social media, neighbors, kids, husband’s work schedule, doctor appointments, etc.
    • Create a DO-NOT-DO list
    • Unplug while you are working. Put your phone on do not disturb or airplane mode or just turn it off and put it away while you are working.
  • Manage your mind. Your mind can help give you a boost of energy and motivation too. Just try talking to yourself as if you were your own cheerleader and watch how you start to feel different. Getting a quick boost can be that easy!
  • Keep your planner open all day every day,

8. Review Your Tasks

  • Review your tasks as you do them. Did a task end up taking longer than you expected? Did an unexpected priority force you reorder your day?
  • Spend just a few minutes each night making necessary adjustments.
  • As tasks are completed, you’ll have the flexibility to move things around.
  • If things didn’t get done, write it again for the next day as your number one priority task.
  • Re-prioritize your tasks and delete any if necessary.
  • Perfect your new plan of attack each night.
  • Make this a habit. You can do it before leaving the office or do it in the comfort of your living room. Just ensure it gets done.
  • You’ll end up getting better at planning your days by reviewing what happened every day and tweaking your schedule until it becomes routine for you.

Final Thoughts on How to Plan Your Day

The key to having a productive day is being prepared and ready. Planning ahead can help. When you plan your day you are making sure priorities are planned out first for a successful day.