How to Design Your Day the Way YOU Want It To Go
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.
This free printable day planner sheet will help you to stay focused, stop wasting time and be more mindful as you move through your day. No more flying wildly off-piste!
*UPDATE! By popular request, I have now created a printed coil-bound 90-day version of the Design My Day / Design My Weekend planner! It’s undated so you can start anytime and won’t waste pages if you go away. This is for those who love the free version, but are tired of printing out individual pages. It comes with my top productivity and time management tips.
I’ll walk you through each section of Design My Day here:
1. Give gratitude.
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 about what we have to do and not enough on how we want to feel when we’re doing it. Write three words that best describe how you’d like to feel today. If your day ahead is jam packed, you might choose to feel: Calm. Peaceful. Mindful. With those desired feelings guiding your day, you’ll get it done in a better frame of mind. For a family day at home, you may choose to feel: Connected. Present. Playful. Is someone in your life driving you nuts? You might want to feel: Patient. Loving. Kind. I often choose the word FLOW as I know that when I approach my to-dos with a sense of flow, it all feels more effortless.
3. Schedule in events and prepare for success.
Refer to your calendar and jot down where you have to be today and when. What can you do to make it all go smoothly? Do you need to take snacks and a swimming bag 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 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? Use this valuable space to prepare for a successful day!
4. Identify your three most important tasks.
Your three MITs are the tasks you most want or need to get done today. Check your to-do list and if there’s anything Important and Urgent (i.e. it must be done today or tomorrow at the latest), make it one of your three MITs. If not, choose something that has a deadline coming up and get it out of the way so it doesn’t become urgent. (Read this if it all feels important and urgent.) It’s also a good idea to choose a small-step action towards one of your goals to ensure you make steady progress. Focus on doing your chosen three MITs first before you get sucked into anything else. You have the most focus and energy at the start of your day and leaving it until later means a much greater chance something else will get in the way.
5. Next add a few more things from your to-do list.
Once you’ve done your three MITs, 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. Often I need to carry tasks in this section over to the next day, but as long as I get my three MITs done, I feel a great sense of accomplishment. Make sure you do enough things from your ME Time Action Sheet too!
6. 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. 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.
‘Design My Day is life-changing. It really helps me to focus on what I need to do, instead of drifting through the day with a vague list of things in my head. Writing things down makes a HUGE difference!’—Abbie
‘The DMD sheets are a real godsend! They help organise my thoughts for the day ahead, cutting through the clutter and brain fog! I always do one the night before as it suits my night owl tendencies – then hit the ground running the next day. My son calls them my ‘mummy planner’. —Fiona
Time to TAKE ACTION: Sign up for my 7-Day Design My Day Challenge and commit to designing your days for a whole week, with daily tips and reminders from me to keep you on track. You’ll soon discover how much better your days flow when you design them with intention.
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?
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