Many people believe in using to-do lists for planning your day, and I’m here to advocate for a better strategy. I believe using my calendar has helped me immensely in terms of planning my day, and successfully executing on it. Since I use an android, Google calendar was my go-to choice because it synchronizes simultaneously between my computer and my phone, but use whatever you’re comfortable with.
The first reason I recommend a calendar for daily planning is it gives you a clear timetable of what you should be doing at any given time. With to-do lists, people tend to take much longer than they need to for a task, or do the easier tasks and call it a day, or procrastinate on the entire list until the very last moment, or even later.
With calendars, it’s easier to become motivated to do things because if you pass the time-window you’ve allocated for the task, then you don’t get time to do it later. That sense of urgency, has been scientifically proven as a tool to help drive motivation and action. Look at what you have to do, the hardest step is always just getting started, and soon you’ll fall into going with the task.
I like to overestimate how much time I need for a task, incase any emergencies pop-up and realistically, we’re not 100% productive all the time. Don’t be too tight on time you give yourself, but at the same time don’t be too loose, this is something that improves with trail and error. The more times you set an internal deadline, the better you get at reading how much time you actually need.
Calendars provide purpose for your day, each block of time is dedicated to a task and you aren’t left wondering which task I should do from my to-do list, you know what to do and it’s just a matter of getting started. Also on the flip side, when you’ve scheduled some time with friends for example, you don’t have to worry about your to-do list because that time is exclusively for your friends.
When you set up this schedule, it’s best to fit your tasks into one or two hour blocks. This is to utilize the pomodoro technique, of 25 minutes of uninterrupted work and 5 minutes of relaxing (I find listening to a song very refreshing). Repeat that cycle until your time block is finished.
Also be sure to schedule time in for relaxation and rest, whether this includes time spent watching TV, reading a book, hanging out with friends and so on. For anything to have long-term results, it needs to be sustainable. Set aside dedicated relaxation times, so that you prevent burnout.
Lastly, but most importantly, before you take action on this advice. Consider your long-term goals first, and incorporate things into your calendar that take you towards your goals and remove the things that don’t take you closer to your long-term goals. Working on things that mean something to you, is a lot easier to be motivated and disciplined for, than activities that you don’t truly care about. Every night, before sleep reassess your goals and base your next days activities off that.
Good luck and I hope this helps with your day planning. See you next time.