Becoming More Productive - How To Plan a Highly Effective & Efficient Day
Updated: Dec 26, 2020
We start each-day with a clean slate. The day is yours for the taking.
Depending on how you approach it – you can either own your day, or your day can own you.
It comes down to planning.
Without proper planning of your day, you’ll find yourself being very ‘reactive’ to your circumstances. You’ll become extremely vulnerable to wasting time, missing out on progress, and ultimately missing out on the things that matter most to you.
If you are able to successfully plan out your day, master the secrets of productivity, and execute on your plan – you will be well on your way to owning the day, owning your goals, and having fun along the way. This is the pro-active approach and it ensures you get the most out of your day.
Today I am going to teach you how to efficiently and effectively plan your day, and master the art of prioritization and productivity – so that you can own your day, and own your goals.
Three Common Problems:
When it comes to owning your day, there are three common problems/obstacles that arise that prevent you from doing so: (1) Not planning the day, (2) Not prioritizing correctly, and/or (3) Not being productive.
When you succumb to any of these three – you are likely letting your day own you. We want to avoid this, instead - we want you to own your day.
(1) Not Planning The Day:
When you don’t plan your day out, you are throwing proactivity out the window. You are being completely reactive to your circumstances. Whatever your environment desires of you or requests of you, you exclusively focus on that. This can be pretty unforgiving - especially in today's world, when things move fast.
So if you aren't planning your days out with great care, you need to ask yourself - how do you expect to reach great heights in your life, if you aren't taking control and being pro-active?
You must make your environment a product of you, take things into your own hands, and plan out your day. Be proactive. Be default aggressive.
(2) Not Prioritizing Correctly (making you ineffective):
Now let's say you’ve identified what you have to do today, you've implemented a proactive approach, and planned out your day.
The second biggest challenge you’ll face is not prioritizing correctly.
If you aren’t focusing on the right things, you’ll be ineffective.
It's very easy to be busy these days, but being busy doesn't necessarily mean you're being effective. You might have a to do list of a bunch of tasks, but if you're focusing on all the wrong things - it's not going to get you to where you want to go.
So in order to be effective, you need to begin considering a few things.
Which task should you do first? What comes next? Which tasks are more important than others? Where do urgent tasks fit into the schedule?
These are all questions that will be answered in this blog as well.
Prioritization is key here – when you able to prioritization correctly, it will make you extremely effective.
(3) Not Being Productive (making you inefficient)
The third and final challenge revolves around productivity (aka efficiency).
You’ve planned out your day. You’ve prioritized your day the correct way so you're focusing on the right things (ensuring effectiveness). But, there are only 24 hours in a day - so efficiency matters.
You must avoid being unproductive at all costs. Avoid time wasters, distractions, and things that sap you of your time without any real benefit.
With the amount of distractions that come with technology and a never ending amount of ‘notifications’, productivity is a true challenge that must be conquered.
Once you do, you will have removed all shackles that were preventing you from crushing it.
I promise you – if you follow the productivity recommendations in this blog, you will have more than enough time for work, fun, self-development, reward time, and all other important aspects of your life.
It is all about being efficient with your time.
How To Efficiently and Effectively Plan Your Day:
Think of it like this. Planning your day is like having the roadmap to your destination. Prioritization (effectiveness) are the wheels to your car, and Productivity (efficiency) is the engine to your car.
They each play their role. Without your roadmap, you won’t know where to go – so we will start there.
There are three key steps to planning your day:
1. Identifying your tasks / objectives for the day
2. Prioritizing those tasks (considering importance & urgency)
3. Putting them into a daily sequence; chunking method.
There are two great times to do this, pick whichever works best for you.
a) The evening before sleeping (planning for tomorrow)
- So that once you wake-up you are ready to go.
b) The morning of (planning for today)
- First thing in the morning.
I recommend using a digital notepad on your phone – this way wherever you go, you will always have your plan for the day with you, and you will know what you must accomplish.
Step 1 – Identify Your Tasks/Objectives For The Day
The first step is to identify all tasks, objectives, and key things you want to accomplish for the day.
This should include all tasks – work/purpose related (e.g. your side-hustle or career), self-development related (e.g. working out or reading), and even social/having fun related tasks (e.g. going to the movies, hanging out with friends).
Take note of everything. Don’t worry about filtering just yet.
Step 2 – Prioritize Tasks/Objectives By Importance & Urgency
Referring back to our earlier analogy, prioritization is like the wheels to your car. It doesn’t matter how good your engine is, or how good of a roadmap you have - a car without wheels is ineffective. It won’t get you to your destination – just as a lack of prioritization won’t get you to your goals (because you aren’t going to be able to focus on the right things).
So now that you’ve identified all the tasks you plan to accomplish for the day – it’s time to filter them using prioritization.
There are two factors I want you to consider at all times with your tasks – (1) importance, and (2) urgency. This creates four categories your tasks will fall into.
1. Important & Urgent
- Do it now (or ASAP)
2. Important but Not Urgent
- Decide when to do it (schedule it)
3. Urgent but Not Important
- Delegate it
4. Not Important and Not Urgent
- Dump it (don’t do it)
Review all of your tasks and put them into these categories. The important and urgent tasks should be done the soonest (ideally you want to do the hardest thing first), followed by the important but not urgent tasks, and then lastly the urgent but not important tasks.
If a task is not important and not urgent, eliminate it all together. It’s a waste of your time!
If you want to be successful, you have to prioritize what is important over what is urgent! Ensure you are completing important tasks each and every day.
Tasks that are going to have impact on you reaching greater heights and you fulfilling your purpose. Prioritization ensures effectiveness.
Step 3 – Put Them In a Sequence (Chunking Method):
Now that you’ve prioritized your tasks, the final step of planning your day is to put them into a daily sequence in which you will accomplish your tasks.
The beginning of your day should include your morning routine, after this has been completed your are off to the races.
Put your important and urgent tasks be completed first, then your important but not urgent tasks, and then lastly your urgent but not important tasks.
Be sure to layer in your meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack breaks), and be sure to layer in occasional break periods.
A great rule of thumb here is to use the chunking method:
The first quarter of your day will include your morning routine and ramp up period (self-development tasks; e.g. working out, meditation)
The second quarter of your day should include the hardest tasks of your day (important and urgent tasks / work-purpose related tasks)
The third quarter of your day should include cruise control tasks of your day (finishing up remaining tasks)
The final quarter of your day should include your reward time (having fun, hanging out with loved ones, relaxing, taking time to yourself)
The more you do this, the quicker this entire process will become. You’ll be able to jump right into the daily sequence step just by knowing what is most important and most urgent out of all of your tasks.
Step 4 – Go Execute
At this point you will have a full-fledged productive and prioritized day planned ahead of you.
The next step is to simply execute.
Get out of your own way, and execute on the masterpiece of a day you have just created for yourself!
The only risk at this point becomes losses of productivity, where you stray away from your day plan.
So with this, I’ve included three additional tips to ensure you are as productive as you can be:
(1) Avoid time-wasters not related to your day plan (excessive social media, random videos or consuming random content) – be disciplined!
(2) Only focus on the high ROI activities related to your tasks (80% of your results come from 20% of your actions)
(3) Include strategic breaks to avoid burning out (work occasional breaks into your schedule like meals, exercising, or just a plain old 10 minute break to do whatever you feel like)
- Ensure your breaks don’t require much mental energy or bandwidth (you want to save that for the important stuff)
- Ensure your breaks don’t zap you of more time than needed (e.g. avoid getting sucked into a blackhole of Social Media or YouTube) / set an alarm
The Bottom Line:
Each day is a new and exciting opportunity to add more bricks to the fantastic life you are building for yourself.
It is completely within our power to own our day and take things into our hands.
I trust that you will begin planning your days with the productivity and prioritization I mentioned in this blog, and you can be sure that great days are ahead!
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Now go get after it!
My Challenge To You:
Grab your note-pad, plan out your day tomorrow using this method!