Now that you’ve broken your big scary goal down into manageable chunks (see last week’s post here to see what you missed), it’s time to put together a plan of action for getting things done on a daily basis.
You wouldn’t set out on a journey without a plan. Likely, you would do research, make a list of what you need to successfully travel, and be prepared for the expected and unexpected issues that could come up.
You might list what needs to be packed, important issues that need attention before you leave, and other elements of the trip that need attention. You would shop and get the items you need, pack and prepare, and load everything into the car. Then you’d make sure to get gas and something to drink on the way out of town.
Daily life is lot like a new journey taken every day. Making a list in preparation for the journey is vital for getting the details of the journey covered. Let’s look at some tips for making a stellar daily to-do list.
Tip 1 – Plan Your Day
Plan your day the day before. As your day progresses, you will oftentimes realize things you can’t accomplish or that need attention the next day. Begin your to do list for tomorrow, today, so you are ahead of the game. I put my to do list together as the last thing before I go to bed. I always feel like I have a jumpstart on the day when I get up in the morning.
Tip 2 – To Do List
Jot everything down without censoring yourself, and then revise. Don’t worry about an item’s worthiness to be on the list. Need to buy more toothpaste? It goes on the list. Have to get an oil change? Yeah, that goes too. Finish research for an article you’re writing? Absolutely. Jot it down and decide at the end of the day if it should remain.
Tip 3 – Categorize
Sort your list into categories. Set the personal agenda items separate from those that are work-related. Decide if something must be done by you or if it can be delegated. Farm out the items that can be managed by someone else and keep the items for yourself that require your attention.
Tip 4 – Prioritize
Put your list in order. Tackle the toughest items on your list first. Generally, people have the most energy in the morning. Doing the hardest items out of the gate can alleviate stress and inspire you with your accomplishments. If you happen to be a night owl, reverse the order and tackle the tough stuff when you have the most natural energy. I force myself to get the hard stuff out of the way first thing in the morning. That way, even if something happens and I am unable to get anything else done, I will still feel as though I’ve accomplished something.
Tip 5 – Check it Off
Cross off your items as you go. There is a wonderful feeling of accomplishment that comes from crossing items off a list. Give yourself a high-five and kudos for getting things marked off. Reward yourself for reaching the end of your days’ mission.
Tip 6 – Rinse and Repeat
Prep your new list. Prepare for the new day by transferring any unfinished items to the lead space on your next day’s list.
Creating and following an effective to do list is a perfect way to get control of chaos, plan your day, and be very effective with your time. Enjoy the satisfaction of creating and completing your daily list. Plus, it helps me to make sure I’m not forgetting things that need to be done and something falling through the cracks.
Review How You’ve Done & Evaluate What You Can Do Better Tomorrow
Every day offers the opportunity to be better. The way to improve and get better over time is to look at how you’ve done and determine what you can do better the next day. Being kind to yourself and nurturing your thoughts with encouragement gives you a safe space to be honest about today and make positive changes in preparation for tomorrow.
I’ve always been my own biggest critique. I had to find ways to turn off that voice in my head so that I could move forward productively.
We don’t evolve in a vacuum. There are things you can do to actively make tomorrow better. Let’s look at some valuable tools to grow and make each new day better than the day before.
Be in a constant state of learning
Being in a consistent state of learning is a key trait of the most successful people. Whether this is through formalized training, reading, watching, listening or doing, learning is the element that sets others apart from the crowd. What you learn today can prepare you for a better tomorrow.
What you put into your body will affect how your day goes. Food is energy and sustains us. Food can influence our mood and our mindset. Choose foods wisely and if you fall off the wagon, tomorrow is a new day to make better choices.
I am a little bit of a junk food junkie, however, when I eat better, I always feel better and have more energy, making me a lot more productive. I still slip and have the occasional pizza, but I’m doing so much better!
Movement is essential for stamina, strength, and a healthy mind-body connection. Moving well is important on a daily basis, whether the movement is intense exercise, gentle yoga, or a form of play.
The kids help me with this. They love to dance and so we end up having a lot of impromptu dance parties in my house. The key is to move and maintain your sense of health. If you don’t get the movement in that you need, tomorrow is a new day.
Meditation, prayer, and reflection
Spending time in reflection and/or prayer is an important step towards evaluating your life and expanding your mind. Being quiet and still and looking to something higher than you connects you with the mindset you need to expand and grow.
An article by the Huffington Post maintains that even 20 minutes a day of meditation can help to greatly reduce your stress level.
Ending the day with a proper bedtime and starting your day with having had enough sleep is a perfect way to have the energy and stamina to make the most of your day. If you didn’t get the sleep you needed, start again tonight. Grab some extra sleep on your day off. Energize and renew yourself by making sleep a priority.
You can’t really make up sleep by sleeping longer the next night. I try to be sure I get a minimum of 6 hours each night. I always feel sluggish the next day when I don’t get enough rest.
Today may not be the best day. That’s ok. Tomorrow is a new day and each day that you give your best, you have done all that you can. Thinking about how you can grow, evolve, and be better will lead you in the direction you need to go to make each day a new beginning.