Don’t Make This Mistake When You Plan Your Day
When it comes to planning a successful day, there’s one mistake I see a lot. To be completely transparent, despite knowing better, I still make this mistake frequently. Oops! Here it is:
Your “to-do list” should not be your “wish list.”
What I mean by that is that when you sit down to write your to do’s for the day, they should be the things that you can actually accomplish during the day (with a little breathing room) instead of all the things you wish you could get done. See the difference?
While this sounds easy enough, it’s a lot easier said than done (which is probably why I have such a hard time avoiding it). It’s hard because it requires making tough choices about priorities and excluding things that we really would love to do.
However, the truth is you really only have 24 hours in the day. Writing 32 hours worth of stuff on your to do list isn’t going to help add 6 hours to your day. It’s only going to mean that you end up getting some things done and not others, but it won’t allow you to be intentional about getting done what matters most.
I also think this is a big reason why so many of us have such a hard time following through with our plans. We set ourselves up for failure, so there’s no way we can even follow through.
Even when I really try to make my daily plan more realistic, I end up writing down all the tasks I could do if my day were completely ideal. I list all the things I would do if I were functioning at 100% maximum energy, nothing unexpected came up, my kids took long naps at the same time, and so on! There are some days like that, but that’s not most days.
Therefore, it’s better to plan with a lot of margin time, and then have a list of the next things you should do if you get everything done. If you’re able to get a few extra things done, that’s a great bonus!
Being in the habit of accomplishing everything on your daily to do list is so important.
First, it gives you a lot of peace of mind knowing that everything on your must do list will get done. When I turn my to do list into my wish list, I feel out of control because I have no idea what will actually get done, and that causes mega stress!
Second, feeling successful will help you create positive momentum to keep going instead of wanting to throw your planner out the window after two weeks only to buy another one two weeks later.
If you want more advice for planning a successful day, I highly recommend signing up for 5 Keys to Planning a Successful Day as a Christian homemaker by my friend Jami Balmet. It’s completely free, and it includes a pdf guide (which has lots of great advice but is also really pretty, which you all know is super important to me), a pretty scripture art print, and a 30 minute video. It motivates me so much when I hear someone go over the basics of planning. I also love that Jami includes Bible reading and prayer as an essential. I definitely could use more encouragement in making that a priority. Click here to sign up for the free training.
How about you? What helps you develop a good daily plan?
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Hi, what planner is that in the first picture? It looks like one that would really suit me. Thanks
LauraJane SaysPost author
It’s the raspberry personal size inserts from the Sweet Life Society ( http://http://bit.ly/SweetLifePlannerClub ) inside a personal size filofax.
Emily @ Small Stuff Counts Says
This post is so good! Your quote about a to-do list not being a wish list is so true! I need to hang that quote up as a reminder above my desk.
LauraJane SaysPost author
thanks – so glad you liked it!