How to plan your day?

“The more you try to do, the less you actually accomplish.” , Chris McChesney 

Planning removes choices from the equation of the additional tasks you have to do. You will get that, the planned time intensifies your level of focus.

While planning is almost everyone’s forte , the question remains- Are we planning according to our need ?How do we know that? Can we do the multiple tasks as efficiently as the successful people doing in their day? The answer is a ‘yes’ if you are planning your day correctly.

So, amidst the concept that multiple tasking in a day is possible, the contrary – Multitasking at once is also possible. We hear people bragging about multitasking. I used to do that too which I thought was one of my expertise. However, research has shown that , often, human beings are not good at multitasking. Task-switching is inefficient. Just to be clear, I am here talking about the difference between doing multiple things in a day and doing multiple things at once(or task-switching).

To avoid this interruption due to multi-tasking, one thing that has helped me is batch working.

Why does batching your tasks work?

By batching I mean putting similar tasks in a series.Actually this is  a personal set of preference.What I like about batching is it gives you dive deeper into a certain area more specifically without having to switch over different versions of tasks at the same time. This is the reason I like to segregate my tasks by diving into different modes like creativity, technical writing, admin tasks,etc. 

Define your ideal day

What would an ideal day look like for you? You might bring up anything that you weren’t doing before. By practice too, I find defining my ideal day has become crucial. How do you want to spend your day? If you are unsure how to spend your day you can get inspiration from the people who have a similar niche or have similar habits that you want to incorporate. However, It doesn’t matter if you haven’t set up that routine yet. This shouldn’t be causing you to stop planning your day. The best way for me to define my ideal day is by setting my priority tasks. For example: My morning routine is crucial for me to run my day. This makes a whole difference to my day.

Plan ahead 

Planning your day ahead gives you a space to not buffer on the planning zone next day (this is what most perfectionists do) while you should be doing your real  task . Try planning the night before instead by creating a list of things you will be accomplishing for the next day.

For me, writing down my to-do-list beforehand , especially the night before gives clarity on my intention for the next day.

Small Initiation

I ask you, what would be that one task from your list that would make you feel you have conquered the day? 

Often perfectionists set high standards on themselves. There is a higher chance that you will flatten yourself before going through all the listed things. That’s when the procrastination and self-doubt creeps in. For this, taking a small step helps. 

What I like to do is, if the task seems tedious and I know it is going to take longer time and effort, I just give myself a lower time limit for a task. By accomplishing the least amount of time, I mostly continue doing the task  or just in case I get a certain amount of work done for that day instead of beating myself for not starting the task at all. 

You can take an example : If you are just starting out with your physical exercise, giving yourself an hour of time to workout daily might not be better. However, at the beginning , just by giving a minimum of 5 minutes will add your action’s consistency. 

Stop over-researching

If you are researching just out of that sudden need to add over your knowledge then probably you are just intimidated to start your day. Often having a certain plan in your day can be empowering and also, it can lead to dissociation within yourself. Often due to overwhelm, perfectionists feel overwhelmed before starting their tasks and end up researching their task related stuff just to occupy themselves.Remembering that this is a form of procrastination is a crucial step of awareness too.

On one hand it might seem like they are working on their subject but in reality they are self-sabotaging by procrasti-researching which is similar to procrastination in this case. 

Putting a clear picture on the things you want to accomplish often leads to the exact things you want to explore. This doesn’t mean you will not be entering into this rabbit hole of exploration. My point is having a clear picture on your attainments and with the simple reminders of them.

Have a routine

Having a simple routine that aligns with your value and goals is crucial if you are seeking to plan and run a day successfully. I think routines should not be over complicated. You can establish various morning and evening routines that suit you. For example :I have a set of activities I do during my morning routine. A simple activity like a 5-minute journal sets the intention for my day. 

Plan your time

In simple terms , I like to  segregate my day basically into two sections. First half of the day into creative mode and later into tasks that need less brain energy. This doesn’t always happen  because I am more into batching similar activities in a day. However, if you have a variety of tasks lined up for the day , I think batching different tasks in a single day works (to the possible extent). This is just an example, you could also use time blocking techniques that go into the fundamentals of each task. Time blocking usually gives focus on each task as well as gives an estimation on time required to complete the task. 

Expect the bumps

So, while having a plan that is full set for the day, we get into this planning fallacy where we do not foresee the bumps into the road. That’s the superpower of having an optimistic plan. So to avoid disappointments over not having met the exact expectation over your plan, you need to think ahead about the bumps. By this, I am not telling to expect the negatives ahead, but what I mean is as human beings, we may get distracted or our plan might get disrupted by outer circumstances. So, while planning , we tend to set those goals with the high expectation and not expect the scaled down hindrances that might occur. 

The whole point of expecting the bumps in the road is to acknowledge that anything planned doesn’t have to be perfect. Also, this realisation gives you some real estimation of time and effort needed to complete the task for the next time.

Less is more

Opting to complete multiple tasks doesn’t mean a day will turn out to be productive. In fact the opposite is true. Sometimes, targeting to finish all the various tasks in a single day leads to decision fatigue, tiredness and a sense of losing self control. 

Often perfectionists love to put things over the plate just to make themselves occupied and busy. What it does is, it not only makes things complicated but sometimes it prevents us from not taking action. Mostly it is due to  the cost of overwhelm that the unfinished tasks are creating.

Why planning a day makes a day successful?

First of all, by planning a day, one removes the decision pressure they have to make in order to do the things for that day. Also, perfectionists love to indulge in procrastination just to avoid the disappointment of the failure at the task, even before starting. So, by incorporating the mindset on how perfectionists works and also, having a plan for a day will get along well to head towards a successful day

What if you are not sure what to plan?

Take your moments to think about the things to keep inside your plan. Not knowing what to do will keep you stuck forever. I’ve been there and I know exactly how it feels. So, avoid indecision but instead decide to know what to include in your plan and move on.

Why does only planning your day never work?

I’m a master of planner. Seriously!  I’m not trying to swell but I love planning to its fundamentals. The happiness to plan and get lost in the nitty-gritty is so fun, especially if the tasks are aligned with your interest. However, a few years back, I noticed that only having a plan without execution is no good.

Before, whenever,  I felt like I had this whole thing figured out to get them accomplished, I felt excited. However, while executing  the plans, either I felt overwhelmed or lazy. So, my inaction has nothing to do with how well I targeted  my plans. It was all within my mindset that was pulling back from taking action.

Power of self image

Let’s say you want to wake up early in the morning but you are not being able to. You might have a list of reasons on your hand but I tell you the number one reason I’ve found that holds back from taking any action or getting something into habit  is due to the self image that we create of ourselves.

By self image , I mean, in your core self, what sort of person you think of yourself. Do you believe that you are a morning person? Shaking off your old mentality and creating your new self image creates a huge difference in your mindset if you let it be.

Also, ask yourself what sort of ideal day you want to have?

This gives you an idea on the outlook of your day to be conquered.

I’ve created a free printable guide on how to do things when you are super unmotivated?

Download it , give it a read and let me know how you find it helpful.

Talk to you soon!

Love + Light,

Ariena

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