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How to Plan Your Day: The Complete Guide to Everyday Productivity

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https://doist.com/blog/how-to-plan-your-day/

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How to Plan Your Day: The Complete Guide to Everyday Productivity
Learn how to plan your day to increase your productivity, achieve your long-term goals, and make time for the things that matter.

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Make planning a habit

Make planning a habit

Some mornings we feel motivated to create a to-do list, but that is often the exception. We need to get things done, even when we feel disengaged.

Start by setting the alarm for you...

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Align your to-do list with goals

  1. Break down your big goals into daily tasks. You can't add "Get in shape" to your daily to-do list, but you can add "spend 30 minutes on my bike."

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Have one daily priority

Many of us start our mornings with dozens of things we need to get done, but later realize that we haven't crossed any of them off our lists. We did get stuff done, but none of the things we pl...

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Eat the Frog

'Eat the Frog' is an excellent productivity method for putting your highlight into action early.

It is often the task we most want to avoid (therefore, eating the frog). It cou...

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Pomodoro Technique

This method is best for people who enjoy working in short, focused sprints with frequent breaks. It forces you to consider how long your work will take.

  • Set a timer for 25 minutes an...

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Time Blocking

With the Time Blocking method, split your day into distinct blocks of time. Then, dedicate each block of time to completing only a specific task or set of tasks.

Ensure to include blocks fo...

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Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix productivity method lets you consider the urgency and importance of each task. This method breaks tasks into four quadrants and prescribes how we should deal ...

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Choose your planning tool

Now that you've decided on the productivity approach, it's time to pick your tools:

  • A to-do list app: A digital task manager is great for those who are tech-...

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How to stick with your daily plan

  • Eliminate disctractions that pull you away from your objectives for the day. Work with most of your desktop programs closed, your phone on silent, and your notifications off...

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Reflect regularly

Make time for a weekly review to consider whether your planning process is working or could be tweaked. Consider these questions:

  • Are my days calm and intentional or stressful an...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The weekly review

It’s dedicated time to think about the past week, reflect on what went well and what didn’t, and plan for the week ahead. 

It’s a chance to get aligned with your goals and ensure ...

The 3 parts of a weekly review

  • Get Clear: process all your loose-ends.
  • Get Current: make sure all your items are up to date.
  • Get Creative: come up with new ideas to improve how you live and work.

Benefits of weekly reviews

  • You gain an objective view of the week: a weekly review forces you to practice intention by taking time to pause and reflect as you consider what you did versus what you planned to do.
  • You become proactive in planning: a weekly review isn’t only a retrospective, but a prospective too. It lets you run through the upcoming Monday to Friday proactively.

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Become more organized

Become more organized

In order to be successful and reach your goals, you need to be organized.

One first step in this direction refers to starting your day planning: choosing the agenda that wo...

Practice a lot

Acquiring organizational skills, as in getting better at planning, can take a while. While finding the appropriate agenda is essential, making a habit out of using it is just as important.

Plan important moments monthly

When preparing your schedule on a monthly basis, make sure to add not only the daily tasks and objectives, but also the big moments.

For instance, integrating your friends' birthdays can prove both useful and time saving for the future.

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The urgency bias

The urgency bias

We usually give priority to unimportant tasks when there is a sense of urgency around them.

We’re actually psychologically wired to put aside important tasks in favor of ta...

Why it’s hard to ignore urgent tasks

A few explanations as to why it’s so hard to reject urgent tasks:

  • The completion bias. Our brains crave the reward we get from checking off small to-dos from our list.
  • Tunnel vision: When we get overwhelmed by the things we have to do, we choose to act on those most available to us; these are usually emails, calls, meetings, and other low-friction tasks.

Urgency puts us into reactive mode

The problem is that we’re continually bombarded with urgent work: emails, meetings, calls, and instead of being in control of our time and attention, we respond and act on someone else’s priorities.

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