Ever get to the end of the day and think, that was a waste? Here are some more common complaints:
“I feel like an automaton, cranking out widgets.”
“I’m totally overwhelmed.”
“I’m totally bored.”
“My kids didn’t see me all day.”
“I didn’t do anything fun!”
“I just wanna watch TV for the rest of the night.”
“I don’t even know what I did all day!”
How can you make your day much more satisfying?
Here’s a simple activity you can do in two minutes to set the course of your day and make it a great one. Even on a crappy day filled with unexpected bad news, having a plan that includes a few bright spots can make a big difference. Here goes:
- First, get two minutes. Really, don’t let yourself be interrupted for two whole minutes. This is better done in the morning before email or phone calls, and best done the night before.
- Jot appointments. On a 3×5 card (or a small piece of paper measuring about 3×5 inches), write on the left side, all of your appointments and meetings with their start and end times.
- Note goals. On the right side of the card, write all the things you plan to do that day. I suggest you use the goal format of verb and object so you know when you will be done each one.
- Prioritize. This is the most important part of the processs. Next to each goal number it 1-3
3 = Something I might do if I have extra time
2 = Something I plan on doing today.
1 = Things that are really really important to do today, especially if it’s on your Week’s Plan.
- Circle the one most important thing to do today to give yourself the best chance of making this day a good one.
- Make appointments to do the 1’s.
Okay, that’s it, your Day’s Plan in two minutes. Here’s an example:
What makes this list unlike other lists is key:
- You’ve spent a concentrated time thinking about the day as a whole, and how to make it great.
- Your emphasis is on crafting a great day, not getting a lot done.
- It does not contain anything on it you won’t do today.
- You can set aside all your other Do Lists for a whole day.
- If you have a giant checklist of work to do for a specific goal, hide that checklist in a folder or a drawer until it’s time to focus on that goal. Pull it out for the time you are working on it. Then hide it again.
- When circumstances change in a day, make adjustments right on your Day’s Plan, but make sure you are clear about your priorities. Put new things that will happen in the future on a different list, not your Day’s Plan.
- At the end of the day, reflect on how it went. Write a few notes on the back of the card, then take a deep breathe, make your next Day’s Plan, and do it!
- Repeating makes life much better, and doesn’t cost a thing (unlike shampoo).
If you like this idea, download a half page worksheet you can print as a reminder.
Stick to your plan unless you consciously decide to change plans.
Look at it this way:
A plan is simply a reminder of what you thought was important to pay
It’s also a map of opportunities to focus on things you care about, and when you do that, and lose yourself in the process, it almost always feels great. A day with a few moments like that make for a great day! Of course, don’t pass up a chance to do something even better. Just make it a conscious choice.
So, what is the one most important thing you will do today?