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  • Asad Ali

Planning your day is an art

Not long ago I had a chat with a friend and she loved how I planned my day. Over the last couple of years, it has become a habit and honestly feels like a part of me. If I don’t plan my day I'm in chaos.

Planning your day is an essential step in creating balance in your life as it allows you to separate the time you spend working and the time you have for everything else. This is especially important if you work from home or are adopting a hybrid model for work.

Here are 5 tips on how to plan your day

1. Write out your plan every day

Writing your day plan is a good time management practice and yes, that means every single day.

The key is to take the time to put down what you want to get done today.

  • What are your priorities?

  • Is there a deadline coming up?

  • How many hours are you working?

  • Are you giving yourself breaks?

  • How do you keep yourself accountable if you miss out on something?

2. Plan at the same time daily

The goal here is to create a habit that keeps you on track.

You can plan your day the night before or in the morning. I prefer to do my planning before I go to bed so I write down whatever is on my mind and add it to my iCalendar/Google Calendar. Plus this way I don’t have to worry about anything when I’m asleep.

I’m sure we’ve all had that moment when we’re sleeping and remember something that you have to get done but are tired to actually write it and then it ends up being a restless night because you’re constantly thinking about it.

Yeah! Let’s not do that.

3. Divide your task list between work, your social activities, and your YOU time

It’s easy to let work tasks take over and to let your life tasks get pushed aside. I recently revised my daily planner by these 3 themes: work, life, me. (colour coordinate it - thank me later) I did this for three reasons:

  • See what I want to do in each area. This helps me group items together in time slots.

  • Keep my business and personal life balanced.

  • Who doesn’t need their YOU time - this could be as simple as scheduling a time to read or take a bubble bath or as simple as just listen to music and do nothing

4. Determine the open time slots of the day

I usually have a few hours that are open.

This way I have some “wiggle room” for things that are not quite done or taking longer to complete. On Weekdays I aim to have a 30-minute lunch and 1-hour dinner unless I’m meeting some friends.

I finish work at 5 and then working out for 90 minutes

The only bad workout is that didn’t happen

That means I need to get the bulk of my activities done between 6:30 pm - 11:30 pm. Here is how I usually break it down

  • Work on personal projects: 2 - 2.5 hours

  • Study & read: 1.5 hour

  • Dinner and shower: 1.5 - 2 hours

  • Miscellaneous Tasks: 30 minutes

  • Plan my day: 30 minutes Turndown time: 30 minutes

Five hours sounds like a lot of time but it passes by so quickly. Everyone’s day is different so you should plan it in a way that works best for you.

5. Don’t forget to include downtime

Yes, your to-do list doesn’t need to be just about work. You can also include other more enjoyable activities like your downtime. Imagine looking at a to-do list that is full of work but no play, it makes you feel dreadful. You will lose motivation and feel like you’re in no mood to work.

Life is more than just work

Create a plan that includes both work and life. Your playtime is also a form of celebration and something that you look forward to. For instance, your playtime can inspire you to work harder because you know that once you have completed your work, you can enjoy it without feeling guilty.

So, make sure you include some playtime into your planning.

I take Friday and Saturday off to chill with friends and do my own thing but occasionally also sway away from my schedule and do something different

Where do you go from here?

Routine is nice but monotonous

Some of you might think it’s a waste of time and won’t work because your schedule is far too complicated. I think it’s best to give it a chance and see what works best for you.

Remember your motivation and desire for structure is what gets you started but it is your commitment that keeps you going.

To be honest it reminds me of our high school schedule where would have certain blocks for “classes” but now we have “tasks”

Is this what adulting is?

I do way too many things and sometimes it feels chaotic but I like making sense out of it hence I plan my day.



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