Do you dive into each day without a game plan? Are you easily sidetracked? Do you procrastinate on the important (but boring) stuff, then kick yourself when the day’s over and you still didn’t manage to get it done?
Wouldn’t it be great to arrive calm, prepared and on time to everywhere you needed to be? To feel happy and connected. Grateful for another amazing day – and looking forward to another one tomorrow.
The secret to this involves a little light planning at the start of each day. Instead of just doing whatever’s in front of your face, it’s time to Design Your Day.
I created this printable day planner to help busy mothers stay focused, stop wasting time and be more mindful as you move about your day.
The feedback I get on this Design My Day Action Sheet. is phenomenal! There’s a colour version or you can grab one in black & white so it won’t suck up your printer ink. I’m working on a lovely spiral bound version as well. I’ll talk you through each section here:
1. Give gratitude.
There’s a small box here to jot a short note about whatever you’re feeling particularly grateful for today. A daily practice of feeling gratitude for what you already have, brings more good stuff into your life. Really!
2. Choose your feelings.
We spend too much time thinking of what we have to do and not enough on how we want to feel.
You can’t always choose what happens, but you can choose the way you feel about it. Write three words that best describe how you’d like to feel today.
If your day ahead is jam packed with a lot of places to be, you might choose to feel: Calm. Peaceful. Mindful. With those desired feelings guiding your day, you’ll get it all done in a better frame of mind.
For a family day at home, you may choose to feel: Connected. Present. Playful.
Husband driving you nuts? You might want to feel: Open. Loving. Kind.
3. Schedule in events and prepare for success.
Refer to your calendar and jot down where do you have to be today and when. What can you do to make it all go smoothly? Do you need to take snacks and swimming bags for the lesson, forms to the appointment, retainer to the orthodontist, eco bags to the supermarket? Park it all by the front door so you’re not flying around trying to do it last minute.
Leave some gaps so you can slot in some other things… Could you prep dinner earlier? Run an errand on the way to school? As you Design Your Day, think about these kinds of things too.
4. Identify your 3 Most Important Tasks
Your 3 M.I.T’s are the tasks you most want or need to get done today. No matter what else you do today, these are the things you will get done. This means doing them early in the day before you get caught up in other easier, more fun tasks. (Or Facebook.) Get into the habit of doing your 3 M.I.T’s first before doing anything else on (or off) your to-do list. This means you can finally stop beating yourself up for not getting it done again today!
4. Add a few more things from your to-list
Once you’ve done your 3 M.I.T’s, what else would be great to get done today? You might not get to all (or any) of these, but it’s good to have something to aim for. Remember – even if something’s not urgent yet, it’s good to get it done now before it becomes urgent. (Read this if it all feels important and urgent.)
5. Phone calls and emails
Instead of making phone calls throughout the day, note the calls you need to make and do them all at once. Emails can eat huge chunks out of your day if you’re not careful. Stay out of your inbox as much as possible and set a time limit once you do go in. Write down anyone you need to email and send those mails before you get caught up in fresh ones. (I know, easier said than done…)
There’s a nice white space at the bottom for all of those extra thoughts and notes that pop up throughout the day. You can refer to those when designing your next day. It’s a great idea to design your day the evening before so you can get stuck in straight away the next day.
Important note: A mother’s life is un-pre-dictable. Just when you’re getting started on your first M.I.T, you get a call from the school nurse and have to drop everything. Try to see unforeseen setbacks as opportunities to model flexibility to your children. The earlier they learn to adapt to changed plans the better. Just do your best and stop beating yourself up for not getting it all done. Never be a slave to your to-do list. Always find some joy in each day and know that what needs to get done will. The most important thing is to feel happy. Cuz when mama’s happy, everybody’s happy!
Take Action: Print out several Design My Day Action Sheets and commit to doing this for one whole week. Then let me know how you’re kicking ass on your productivity! 😉
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In the comments below, let me know what you think about designing your day on paper like this each day? What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to managing your time?
Mixing practicality with self-awareness, Kelly helps mothers get on top of their endless to-do’s, set goals and improve their lives one small step at a time.
Grab her free Life Wheel Tool for discovering what needs your focus first.