Life is demanding. There is no doubt about it. Modern life is even more demanding and stressful. There are countless things demanding our attention. Career, personal, health and social goals we've set for ourselves are constantly crying out for fulfilment. Because of this, 24 hours feels more like 4. And no, it doesn't just end there. The vicious cycle continues, day after day, until one day, you look back and wonder where half of your life has gone. You ask yourself "what have I achieved?"
Why planning your day is important With this article, we hope to remind you that building a wonderful legacy starts with the daily input of extra efforts of mindfulness. This begins with planning. Contrary to what many believe, planning is a time-saver and not a time-waster.
It helps you realise the value of your life Time is not only money. Time is life. When you limit your time to money, you are devaluing your life. Knowing that your time/life is precious adds a deep sense of urgency and makes you want to make the most of it.
Tragically, too many of us wait until we are nearing the end of our lives or until we are struck by a life-changing illness or event before we realise that we ought to value each day. Planning your day is a way of setting out to accomplish something meaningful. Having that plan drives and motivates you, therefore, gearing you more towards a fulfilling life.
It helps you prioritise and stay organised When you seem to have so much to do and so little time, one of the keys to effective time management is planning. What do you and all successful people have in common? The same 24 hours per day. What sets them apart? They so much value these hours that they plan very CARFULLY how they spend each minute of that precious time. It's no surprise that one of the famed keys to success is effective time management. When you maximise your time by prioritising, you separate yourself from those just drifting aimlessly in the pool of life. You set yourself apart, ready to scale new heights.
It's human nature to be drawn towards the easiest tasks and to attempt doing them first. We feel pumped and excited to attack the 30 minutes tasks in the morning while skirting around the tougher and longer ones. This leaves us with the most difficult task when we have the least amount of energy. This is a sure-fire way to give the task less attention than it deserves.
Knowing this, you can plan your most important and demanding tasks to be the first ones you tackle.
More control One of the ways where we err as human beings is striving to control the things that we can't. It is simply impossible to predict exactly how your day will go or control every aspect of it. Traffic, late appointments, late bus or train and sudden illness are just some of the things that can derail your day. That being said, what about the things you CAN control? Are you controlling them efficiently?
Having a plan from the start of the day makes you feel more prepared and confident for the day. We are usually able to squeeze more into a carefully planned day. Having a plan will help you maximise your productivity. Even if you are in a repetitive mind-numbing job, refuse to let your day pass you by in a blur. Seize the day and make the most of it. Don't wish away your day away, it's the same as wishing your life away.
Rather than the day just happening to you, go out and make things happen. Plan your day by the hour and stick to it as much as possible. Planning your day helps to identify the aspects where your time is being wasted and eliminate it. This will empower you to feel more in control.
A word of warning though, don't delude yourself into thinking you can control everything. You cannot.
With a carefully planned day, you will also be less likely to fall into the trap of letting others waste your precious time. You will find yourself having less time for pointless arguments, needless complaints, futile social media scrolling. You will become more solution-oriented and productive.
See the bigger picture With daily plans, you'll be able to factor in your short-term and long-term goals and take daily steps in achieving them. As you progress, those goals will look less mountainous and more achievable.
Track your success & productivity There is nothing more satisfying than glancing over your plan and ticking it off as done. Writing things down in a plan adds an additional sense of importance. No longer will you hear yourself say "where has my day gone" When you have a day where every hour is productive and accounted for, you'll be delighted to see how much you can pack in the day. Now imagine looking back at your planner at the end of 1 year, 3 year, 5 years or a lifetime. How wonderful it would be to delight in how far you've come with written evidence.
Accountability How you choose to plan your day is completely up to you. Of course, you will have pre-determined activities like appointments, work, school runs etc. What about the time in between? When you start planning your days, you begin to realise what matters and what doesn't. You'll have less time to be idle, even your "me time" and relaxation will be planned. The days when you don't manage to complete everything on your plan, you are able to analyse and see what went wrong.
Less mental stress and never forget a thing. Staying organised means remembering to do everything that needs to get done. How many times have you laid down on your bed ready to sleep then you remember that very important task you were supposed to do during the day but didn't remember? Maybe it's old age. Maybe your brain is just struggling to cope with the sheer amount of information you are bombarded with daily, after all, we are in the information age. Writing down the things that need to get done (especially the night before) automatically reduces the pressure of needing to remember.