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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

Why Planning Your Day is Vital for Productivity (And How to Do It)

Why Planning Your Day is Vital for Productivity (And How to Do It)
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Aren’t you amazed at how some people can manage to do everything they want within their planned time? Do you want to find out their secret? Planning your day isn’t as difficult as it may seem.

If you want to be someone who can actually achieve what they plan, you need to start spending some time planning your day. Don’t worry, today you’ll find all the A to Z of why and how to plan your day.

These tips for planning your day will work perfectly for students, as well as career-oriented individuals. What’s even better is that you’ll learn all the expert tricks of how you can improve your productivity by planning your day accordingly.

Doesn’t it sound like a one-stop solution to all your work problems? That’s exactly what it is. So, keep reading to find life-changing tips!

Why You Should Start Planning Your Day

Before we move onto the fool-proof formula of planning your day, first let’s convince you on why planning your day is a task you should spend time and energy on.

You’re Prepared

With a plan in mind, you know what’s coming. The responsibilities of the day are clear, unless an unexpected or urgent task comes up.

The point is, when you head to war prepared, there’s a higher chance of victory. However, if you’re attacked without a clue, you not only have to fight harder, but there’s also a very low chance of your success.

If you wake up knowing the things you have to do, you’ll be more motivated. Since there’s less time to procrastinate, you can’t do anything but focus on work. Your subconscious is prepared, and so you take on the tasks with full motivation.

This actually works wonders to get you to finish your tasks of the day promptly.

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Allows You to Prioritize

You can work all day long without accomplishing anything. This is a very rookie mistake that you need to avoid. How, you may ask. Well, planning your day is the answer.

When you plan your day, you have the opportunity to prioritize your work in a way that ensures that important jobs are fulfilled[1].

Without a plan, you start doing what comes to your mind. It is a very haphazard way of doing things because nothing is connected or coherent.

On the other hand, when you proceed with a plan, you can give more time to what needs it the most. If, for example, you’re going through a tough time in life, you can prioritize self-care that day. The great thing is that, since you have a plan, you can still squeeze in the urgent tasks.

So, it’s a win-win situation where you get what you want without compromising on your responsibilities.

Enhances Time Management

One way or the other, productivity always comes down to one thing: time management.

What better way to manage every second of the day to its full potential than planning it out?

When you schedule your day, you’ve basically put every minute to use. Task 1 is designated for one time slot, task 2 for another, lunch-time for one hour, and so on.

All the needs and jobs are taken care of. Yet, nothing overlaps. Personal commitment, work deadlines, and everything else are perfectly planned out throughout the 24 hours. You don’t feel burdened, and you don’t waste any time.

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Creates a Structured Life

There are days when you just want to wing everything. It’s great to be spontaneous once in a while, but it’s not something you should do every day.

As fun as this lifestyle sounds, it won’t be long before it starts taking a toll on your mental health. Surprises and urgencies are not that fun to deal with when they start affecting your personal life and work efficiency.

Planning your days brings an order. It makes your life systematic. Don’t confuse this with a boring lifestyle. A structured life means that you’re clear about what you want to do. It doesn’t mean you’ll follow the same routine every day. However, whatever routine you want to follow is pre-planned and well thought out.

Not only is it an effective way to boost your productivity, but a structured life also helps you get rid of bad habits while strengthening good ones.

How to Start Planning Your Day Perfectly

It’s now time to finally talk about the easy yet effective method of planning your day for productivity.

1. Start With a Goal

The first part of your plan is to have a clear goal.

Never proceed with your day’s plan unless you have a goal for the day in mind. Daily goals are important when it comes to keeping you on track and helping you achieve something at the end of the day.

Your day’s goal should be in line with your week’s goals so that you’re moving forward instead of wandering around.

With this goal in mind, plan your tasks accordingly. Make sure that each task leads to the accomplishment of your goal so that by the end of the day, you have fulfilled what you have in mind.

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2. Look at Each Day as Part of a Week

Although you’re planning your day, don’t look at it individually. Consider one day to be 1/7th of your week. Similarly, do not look at one day differently than your entire month.

The point is that each day should contribute to your bigger plan of the week, month, year, and life. It should all be cohesive. Ultimately, everything you do in one day should be coherent with what you want to achieve in the longer run.

Don’t forget to keep the future and the bigger picture in mind when planning your day. Also, keep the previous day and the coming day in mind. For example, if a task from the previous day was left incomplete, make sure to carry it on the next day. If you know you have a deadline in the coming days, schedule a part of it in your current day.

3. Categorize

A day is comprised of much more than just work. You have personal commitments, work deadlines, social life, house chores, and so much more. A perfect plan should include all these categories.

One major issue is that a lot of people tend to focus too much on work and too little on themselves. For the perfect daily plan, don’t forget to add in some personal time. Some alone time is necessary for mental strength, creativity, reflection, and other important things that help you keep going[2].

Having categories in your plan will allow you to balance it all out. You’ll know you have to set aside a certain amount of time for one category. This way, no part of your life will be neglected.

4. Be Flexible

Don’t make a plan that’s too stringent. You never know what surprises life will bring in the coming day. Therefore, always have enough room in your plan for adjustments.

Mark the things that cannot be moved around at all so that you know you need to get them done no matter what. This way, you won’t have to think long and hard to make room for the unexpected urgencies.

Be flexible enough to accommodate an urgent work task, a mishap, health issue, uninvited guest, and other similar things.

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5. Maintain Balance

One day is no more than 24 hours. Don’t overburden yourself by wanting to achieve more than possible.

A balanced plan contains no more than 1 or 2 big tasks. The rest of the day is divided into 4 to 5 smaller tasks. Some of these tasks are more time-consuming than others. Similarly, some are harder and more challenging, whereas the others are a piece of cake.

Also, maintain a balance between fun and boring tasks so that one day isn’t all mundane and the other is full of excitement.

Add in a few optional jobs that you can do if you find the time. However, even if these optional tasks are left undone, it won’t harm you.

To keep the balance intact, make sure to add something to each category that was previously talked about. Once again, don’t forget to include some time to relax. If you wear yourself out one day, you won’t be able to perform well for the rest of the days in the week.

Conclusion

By now, you’re most likely convinced that planning your day is worth it. Now, it’s time for you to make it a habit to plan your day the night before so that you wake up with a clear perspective of what you need to do.

It hardly takes half an hour each day to make a thorough plan. But, in the longer run, it saves you way more time. This is the best way for you to reach your goals quickly and efficiently.

If you seek growth and development in your life, you shouldn’t skip planning your day from now on!

More Tips on Planning Your Day

Featured photo credit: STIL via unsplash.com

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Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

Can’t Focus? The Mistake You’re Making and How to Focus Better A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success 17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It How to Think Critically: 5 Powerful Techniques

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Last Updated on July 27, 2021

Can’t Focus? The Mistake You’re Making and How to Focus Better

Can’t Focus? The Mistake You’re Making and How to Focus Better
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What comes to mind when you think of learning how to focus better? Do you think of the attention or concentration it takes to complete a task? Do you consider the amount of willpower needed to finish writing a report without touching your phone? Do you think it requires sitting in complete silence and away from distractions so that you can study for an important exam or prepare for an interview?

I’m sure many of you can relate to the above statements and agree that the ability to focus is about staying on task for a given period of time. Breaking that concentration would mean that you’ve lost your focus, and you’re either doing something else or trying to gain back that focus to finish up the intended task.

With an ever-increasing amount of information—that is easily accessible online and offline—we’re faced with a lot more opportunities and avenues to create possibilities to experience things on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, that can make it a lot harder for us to make progress or get things done because we’re either easily distracted or overwhelmed by the constant influx of information.

That’s why many of us end up having problems concentrating or focusing in life—whether it be on a smaller scale like completing a task on time, or something much bigger like staying on track in your career and climbing the ladder of success. We’ve all found ourselves in situations where we blame our failures due to a lack of focus.

Learning how to focus better doesn’t have to be too complex. Here is some information to help you get started.

Focus Is Not About Paying Attention

What if I tell you that you’ve been doing it all wrong this whole time?

Focus isn’t just the attention span of giving 20 minutes to a task. It actually goes far beyond that.

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The real reason why we focus is because we need to do something that exceeds our existing capability. We need to devote large amounts of time and energy to move the needle in life, to make that progress and positive change.

And why do we want to do that? Because we want to spend time becoming a better version of ourselves!

At the end of the day, the reason why we stay focused on any task, project, or goal is because we want to succeed. With that success comes progress in our lives, which means we eventually become better than what we were a month ago, or even a year ago.

Let me give you an example:

Say you’ve been tasked to manage a project by your boss. You have targets to meet and favorable outcomes to achieve. Your focus and attention has to be on this project.

Once the project has been completed, your boss is happy with the results and your hard work. She rewards you with praise, a promotion, or maybe even a year-end bonus.

That’s your success right there, and you feel good about your achievements. Looking back at who you were before and after the completion of this project, wouldn’t you say you’ve become a better version of your previous self?

Focus Is a Flow

This is what focus is and how where learning how to focus better starts. It’s not a one-off, task-by-task mode that you jump into whenever needed. Rather, focus is a flow[1].

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Focus is the way in which you deliberately target your energy to push progress in something you care about. Because focus takes energy, time, and effort, whatever it is that you need to focus on should be something meaningful to you, something that’s worth shutting down phone calls, text messages, and social media for.

So, why is it that we sometimes find it so hard to focus?

Usually, it’s because we’re missing two major elements. Either we don’t know where we want to go—in that we don’t have a clear goal—or we do have a goal, but we don’t have a clear roadmap.

Trying to improve your focus without these two things is like driving to get somewhere in a foreign country with no road map. You end up using a lot of gas and driving for hours without knowing if you’re getting anywhere.

Let’s go back to the example of your boss assigning you a project to manage. The company is opening a new office, and your boss wants you to oversee the renovations and moving-in process of this new location.

Now, if you didn’t have a clear goal or end result of how the new office should look, you could be busy arranging for contractors, interior designers, or movers to come, but have no clue what to assign or brief them on.

The second scenario is that you know exactly how the new office should look and when it should be up and running. However, because you don’t have a clear roadmap to get to that end result, you end up working all over the place; one moment you’re arranging for the contractors to start renovations, the next moment you’ve got furniture coming in when the space isn’t ready. What do you focus on first?

The Focus Flow

Without a clear goal and road map, things can turn out frantic and frustrating, with many wrong turns. You also end up expending a lot more mental energy than needed. But, having a Focus Flow when learning how to focus better can help.

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Let me show you how theFocus Flow works.

  1. It starts from a clear objective.
  2. This becomes a clear roadmap.
  3. Then it manifests into a state oftargeted attentionand effort.
  4. This results in pushing your progress towards your ultimate destination.

Setting a Clear Objective

To start off, you need to set a clear focus objective. If you don’t have an objective, how can you decide on which things are worth focusing on? You can’t focus on everything at the same time, so you have to make a choice.

Like driving a car, you need a destination.

In this case, you don’t want to drive around aimlessly. You want to arrive at your destination before you run out of gas.

A good focus objective, therefore, needs to be concrete. This means that it should be something you can visualize, such as determining how the new office is going to look after you’ve completed the renovation and moving in. If you can visualize it, that means you have a clear enough picture to know what’s needed to achieve it.

Drawing a Focus Roadmap

The second step is to lay out a practical focus roadmap. Once you have your ideas, setting an objective is easy. The most difficult part is determining how you’re going to achieve your objective.

There are lots of things you can do to work towards your goal, but what comes first? What’s more valuable, and how long will it take?

That’s where having a roadmap helps you answer these questions. Like driving, you need to have at least a rough idea of which major roads to drive on, and the order in which you need to drive them.

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Yet, creating a roadmap can get tricky because you have absolute freedom on how you’re going to achieve your objective.

To create a good road map, you should include major milestones. These are targets you need to hit in order to achieve success. Your roadmap should also include feasible and realistic actions that you can achieve as you learn how to focus better.

Need a little help in drawing this Focus Roadmap? The Full Life Planner can help you. It’s a practical planner to help you stay focused and on track with your most important goals and tasks in an organized way. Get yours today!

Power Up Your Productivity

I hope you now have a better understanding of how focus truly works. By harnessing your focus using the Focus Flow, you’ll be able to work on a task more productively, not because you’re able to concentrate, but rather because you know exactly what your end goal is, and you have a game plan in place to make that happen.

Once there is clarity, I can assure you that you’ll be less likely to get distracted or lose focus on your tasks at hand.

You may think it’s going to take you extra time writing out an objective and setting out a roadmap. You may believe that you are better off getting right down to the actual work.

However, as I’ve mentioned, there’s no point in rushing your efforts that lead you to nowhere or cause you additional detours. You’ll end up expending more mental energy and time than needed.

Once you’ve made your roadmap and found your focus, follow it up with unbreakable determination with Lifehack’s Actionable Motivation On Demand Handbook.

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More on Overcoming Distractions

Featured photo credit: Paul Skorupskas via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Very Well Mind: The Psychology of Flow

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