When you are planning your days there are several things to consider: for a day to have a purpose it needs to start with a clear intent. Each day is wasted unless it started with a clear intention.
Go to bed with a plan for tomorrow in mind.
Ending each day with a clear intention of what needs to be done tomorrow prepares us for the battle ahead. Every moment is a battle between your mind and your values. We are constantly bombarded with distractions, urgent matters, stress, and temptations; only those with a focus on what is really important for the day will be able to overcome these enemies of productivity.
Start each morning by planning your daily schedule.
First thing each morning we should spend 5-15 minutes planning out what we need to do for the day. Whether its groceries, errands, meetings, or exercise: making a clear list of what we need to do for the day will set us up for more productive days. Think of your morning schedule as a daily reminder to stay on task. Sure, 15 minutes is a lot of time for the busy individual, but the increase of productivity you will see from this daily task will pay off in dividends.
Make a weekly schedule at the end of each week.
Making a weekly schedule allows us to look at an entire week and determine what tasks are most important: it also allows us to look at scheduling logistics such as time sensitive tasks and pressing issues. By extending our perspective out over an entire week we can more accurately plan our daily schedules. The weekly schedule combined with a daily schedule each morning gives us a broader perspective on what is important for the week.
Schedule big tasks and pressing tasks first when possible.
Often times the more important or pressing a matter is, the more we tend to procrastinate and push it aside. By putting our most important tasks first, we not only create momentum for our day, but we become more effective and get more important things done; additionally, we have more energy and focus in the morning hours: this will increase the quality of our work for our most important tasks.
Make sure and add time for self development and improvement, and add time to relax and rest.
You are your greatest asset; taking time out of your day to do things that better you will add up to exponential gains in the future. The better you become, the more effective you become; the more effective you become, the better you become: it adds up over time. One of the ideas of the book “7 habits of highly effective people” was to focus on production capacity over production. By resting, exercising, eating right, taking breaks, and focusing on ways to become better you make yourself more effective. A great example of this principle is quitting your full time job to go to school so you can double your salary. You may lose 2 years of income while you get your degree, but with a salary double what you make now in 2 years of work you will make what you would have made in 4 years of work before.