We’re all familiar with the concept of to-do lists or even done-lists. The most important factor in our work life is how to plan your day.
It starts with keeping an account of the things that you need to do during the day or what you’ve already accomplished. While these can be valuable tools in both your business and personal life, often, they lack one thing — a priority!
How many times have you finished items on your to-do list, only to realize that the most important tasks were overlooked simply because they were written near the bottom?
So what’s the entrepreneur’s secret to managing your day the right way?
Purposing your day with intent and care!
Whether you have limited time or a lot, a day with purpose will leave you feeling more productive and thus, more satisfied.
What does Purposing your Day involve?
Purposing is a way to plan your time and tasks in detail. You start by identifying what needs to be done, then organize how you will do it and prioritize what’s important. Finally, factor in your working style and acknowledge what might keep you from achieving your goals.
Why is it so essential to designate your most important tasks?
It’s easy to work hard and lose track of time over the non-essentials. But in reality, identifying your top taks lets you tackle things are most impactful to your business right now or are time sensitive. So maybe your client proposal is important but cleaning out the inbox can wait. On the other hand, something mundane like finding missing receipts needs your attention first, if tonight is the tax deadline 🙂
Here are 7 key ways to plan your day right!
Identify Your MITs — Most Important Tasks
When you get up in the morning, the first thing you should do — after you get out of bed and move through your morning routine, is to determine the days MITs — the most important tasks. Figure out what you need to do during the day, and then decide which things are the most important. It won’t be the same every single day, but you can figure out what should take priority.
Once you figure out what your MIT’s are, the best course of action is to complete them first thing in the morning. If you put them off until later in the day, you risk getting too busy to finish all your high-priority tasks. This isn’t always an easy skill to learn. It will take practice, and you will need to learn how to retrain your brain.
2. Break it down
When the day’s list seems elephantine, remember “There’s only one way to eat an elephant. One bite at a time.”
Break your workday into quarter or hourly chunks and designate tasks to those time periods.
(Team to add Day Planner template)
Don't let the day get away! (A timesheet can help...)
3. Retrain Your Brain
Determining your day’s most important tasks every day & assigning them time chunks is something that may be hard to do unless you retrain your brain by turning the behavior into a habit. This isn’t a metaphorical description — when something becomes a habit, your mind creates new pathways, locking that behavior into your personality. This is true for both good and bad habits — smoking creates new paths, just like determining your most important tasks or going to the gym every day.
Experts can’t agree on how long it takes to create a habit. Some believe you can retrain your brain with 21 days of continuous behavior, while others think it can take up to six months to achieve those goals. Regardless of the time it takes for your brain to grow new pathways, continuous repetition is necessary to create habits that will stick with you for the rest of your life.
Pick your time
Research has proven that people are most productive during the first two hours of their day. This doesn’t apply to the hour or so immediately after waking when you’re usually reaching for a cup of hot coffee or making your way into the shower. Once you start working, though, you’ll likely get the most done during those first two hours. That’s why you should always complete your most important tasks first. Take advantage of that burst of extra physical and mental energy to help you prioritize and keep moving forward.
Make it a choice
When it comes down to it, whether or not your day is productive depends on your mind. These habits don’t start externally — they all begin inside your head. Weight loss, for example, is more than just calories in vs. calories out — it’s deciding to make healthy choices where diet and exercise are involved. Purposing your day by making deliberate choices like turning off social media for two hours or no emails until lunch gives you a solid foundation to move forward, regardless of what your goals and tasks are for the day.
Recognize that Distraction Is a Part of Life (and Plan around them).
Whether you’re at work or home, distraction is a part of everyone’s life. There’s an endless stream of emails, chats, conversations, and tasks to be completed. According to psychology experts, we even risk creating a distracted life. This happens when we take on so much that our mind is torn in different directions, and we can’t focus on anything. We’ve got the breadth of human knowledge at our fingertips, but the brain hasn’t learned how to cope with the sheer amount of information we have available to us.
The same thing applies to the tasks we assign to ourselves each day. If we don’t prioritize these things, it’s easy to lose track
Work smarter with these expert tips!
Assess and review periodically
If you love your to-do lists but you’re having trouble keeping track of your tasks during the day — or you’re leaving important things unfinished just because they’re on the bottom of your list — consider adding a new habit to your repertoire. Self-awareness is a powerful tool. When you time-track your work, you can notice the gaps in your productivity. This will also keep you from wasting time or completing busywork to stay motivated or productive.
Also read: Lead your workday with 12 Efficiency Mantras
Success demands purposeful action. A little bit of planning and prioritizing can pay off in a big way, helping you get things done with ease. Repurposing your day can improve your productivity and boost your bottom line.