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How To Plan Your Day For Optimal Productivity

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How To Plan Your Day For Optimal Productivity

Planning your day is one of the most important things you can do everyday.

As Brian Tracy says, “Every minute you spend planning saves 10 minutes in execution.”

By taking just 5-10 minutes each morning (or the night before) to strategically plan out your day, you'll be able to get significantly more out of your day.

We're all given the same amount of time everyday (24 hours), but we all don't use it the same way.  Planning your day (even your week) will allow you to effectively utilize the hours that you have available during the day.

In this video blog, I'll be sharing with you step-by-step how to plan your day.  This is the exact process I go through every week and every single day, which allows me to be super productive.

Watch the video below:

(Click here to watch on YouTube)

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Make Sure You Have A Long-Term Plan

Before I plan each individual day, I always make sure that I'm running off of a weekly plan.

It's also important to mention that my weekly plan is also based on my monthly and yearly goals (click here for my how to set goals video blog).  I always make sure that I have a bigger picture plan that I'm moving towards, such as my yearly goals or my life plan.

Much of the process that I've learned is from Tony Robbins, in his “Time Of Your Life” program.  It's one of my favourite programs on productivity and time management, as well as Eben Pagan's “Wake Up Productive”.

I'm not going to spend much time going through my weekly planning process (that is for another post), but the process is similar to my daily planning process.

But I can't emphasize this enough: make sure you have a long-term plan that you're moving towards.

Each day's effort should be moving you closer towards your long-term vision and plan for your life.  You need to know WHAT you are doing all of this for and be moving towards the bigger picture for your life.

How To Plan Your Day

Here's the steps that I follow for planning my day.

1. Capture Everything I Need To Do

Take out a journal (or an app or whatever) and write down EVERYTHING you can think of that you need to get done.

Typically, I work off my weekly plan for this, but I always add more things that come up throughout my week in my daily planning process.

An example of what I might come up with for today is:

  • Morning ritual
  • Workout arms
  • Read 30 mins
  • Eat 2500 calories
  • Go for a walk
  • Record videos for blog
  • Publish a video blog
  • Coaching call Kyle
  • Coaching call Lene
  • Interview applicants on oDesk
  • E-mail graphics designer
  • Publish a Kindle book
  • Contact supplier for quote
  • Call mom to tell her I love her
  • Plan a fun date this week for Tatiana
  • Send thanks to those that supported my Change Heroes campaign
  • Go to hot yoga class with Jason

These are all the activities that I want to accomplish for the day.

However, you'll probably notice, they're all scattered.  It's an unorganized list.

While this might work for some, one thing that I've learned is that it's important for you to next identify WHAT YOU REALLY WANT.  Instead of just working off this list, I need to have a specific target that I'm after and moving towards.

2. Know Your Outcome

“What do I really want?”

This is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself.  I ask myself this question all the time.

Yes, I want to workout today.  But the truth is, I don't just want to work out for the sake of working out.  The reason why I'm working out is to achieve a specific OUTCOME.

The outcome I'm trying to achieve by working out is to gain muscle mass, while being healthy and energetic.

That's why the next step is to write out in your journal what your OUTCOME is.

For example, here's what I'd write for my outcome, on a new page in my journal:

I will easily make massive progress today towards gaining muscle mass, while feeling healthy and energetic.

That's my outcome.  That's what I'm working out for.  And now that I know my outcome, I can think of additional activities that can help me to achieve it.

Another example is for my business.  What is the reason why I am coaching clients, publishing video blogs and recording videos?  Again, it's to achieve an outcome.

Here's an example of a business outcome:

I will easily make massive progress towards reaching my goal of $84,000 per month, while positively impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

When you write out your outcome, it's important to ensure it's related to your goals.

You also want to ensure it's captivating and exciting to you.  Make sure it's specific and clear.

3. Know Your Purpose And Reasons Why You Want It

Once you know what you want, and it's written in your journal, next you want to write out WHY you want it.

I usually write out underneath my outcome a small paragraph about why I want it.  Or I might just write down 3 reasons in bullet point, just to do it quickly.

These reasons are what will MOTIVATE you.  It's what will give you the fuel for the fire to achieve your outcome.

Here's some examples:

OUTCOME: I will easily make massive progress today towards gaining muscle mass, while feeling healthy and energetic.

PURPOSE: 

  • To feel more confident and attractive.
  • Taking care of my body is the ultimate expression of self-love.
  • To feel energetic and cherish my Temple!

And another example of another purpose:

OUTCOME: I will easily make massive progress towards reaching my goal of $84,000 per month, while positively impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

PURPOSE:

  • To grow and show myself what I'm capable of!
  • My mission in life is to ultimately serve and impact thousands of people!
  • By adding more value, I will grow, my income will grow, and I will change lives!

Pretty simple, right?

I try to make these reasons quick so I don't spend too much time on this each morning.

By writing this out so far, I will already start to feel motivated for my day and excited to take action.  I already have a plan that I'm moving towards.

4. Create Your Action Plan

Once you know what you want and why you want it, the next thing is to create your action plan.

This is where I take ALL of the items I've captured earlier and now organize them for each of my outcomes.

For example, this is how I'd create my action plan for my current outcomes:

OUTCOME: I will easily make massive progress today towards gaining muscle mass, while feeling healthy and energetic.

PURPOSE: 

  • To feel more confident and attractive.
  • Taking care of my body is the ultimate expression of self-love.
  • To feel energetic and cherish my Temple!

ACTION PLAN:

  • Workout arms
  • Eat 2500 calories
  • Hot Yoga session with Jason
  • Go for a walk
  • Morning ritual
  • Make & drink green juice
  • Jump on rebounder for 10 mins

You know what else?  Now that I know my outcome, I can add some more items that may help me achieve this outcome more effectively.  That's why I've added some more to the above list.

Here's an example for my other outcome for the day:

OUTCOME: I will easily make massive progress towards reaching my goal of $84,000 per month, while positively impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

PURPOSE:

  • To grow and show myself what I'm capable of!
  • My mission in life is to ultimately serve and impact thousands of people!
  • By adding more value, I will grow, my income will grow, and I will change lives!

ACTION PLAN:

  • Record videos for blog
  • Publish a video blog
  • Coach Kyle
  • Coach Lene
  • Coach Willy
  • Interview applicants on oDesk
  • E-mail graphics designer
  • Publish a Kindle book
  • Contact supplier for quote
  • Respond to comments on blog/videos
  • Go through next Module of Amazing Selling Machine
  • Prepare 10 Audiobooks for Audible publishing
  • Order 10 new Kindle books

As you can see, ALL of these action items support my outcome.  But again, I can now think of more things that I can add to the list to better achieve my outcome as well.

I would then continue this process for any other outcomes I have for the day, such as one for my relationship (based on items I captured earlier), and for Contribution.

Everyday, I have different outcomes.  It's based on the question, “What do I want?” and the captures of what I need to get done.  

By going through this simple 3-step process, I now have a clear plan for the day.

Next, I always make sure to prioritize each action item.  I will write the number 1 next to the item that is most important, number 2 for the 2nd most important, etc…

This helps me identify what is the highest priority for me to work on, in order for the day.

Plan And Organize Even More

As you can see, this method is a lot more effective than a “To Do List”.  It's creating a powerful plan for the day, that motivates you and gives you more fulfillment for achieving your action items.

To take things further, I always make sure to SCHEDULE these action items.

I use the Calendar app on my iPhone and I schedule in exactly when I'm going to go to the gym.  I also schedule in my coaching calls, when I'm going to record the video blogs, publish a video blog, go to hot yoga with Jason, etc…

By scheduling in the exact time in my calendar, I know exactly WHEN it will happen.  I don't leave it to “whenever I have time”, because as we both know, your time can then easily be sucked by other things.

This is being PROACTIVE with your time, not REACTIVE.

Another time management tip is to use a timer when you're working.

If I'm going to the gym, I have a set time frame of when I will finish my workout by.

If I'm publishing a video blog, I will use a timer and set it for 45 minutes and then work as fast as I can to achieve it in that time frame.

By using a timer, it creates more urgency and keeps you on track with things.  It will help you avoid any potential distractions and ensure that you're following your plan.

And one last tip…

Use Leverage!

I always think of ways that I can outsource and leverage things to other people.

It's about working Smarter, not Harder.

I hire and work with virtual assistants and other skilled freelancers to help me achieve my goals much more rapidly.  That's why I use graphics designers, writers for my Kindle books and virtual assistants to publish and do specific things for me.

It makes my life much easier.  I can then focus on what's most important that I'm the best at.

Celebrate Your Day

As you're taking action and checking off your action items, make sure to CELEBRATE your progress.

The more you celebrate and acknowledge yourself, the more productive you'll be as well.  It will start to anchor those emotions of success to taking action, which is what you want.

Also… maybe you didn't get everything done on your list.

THAT'S OKAY!

For me, it's impossible to get everything done on my list.  The reason is, I'm always adding more and more items.

The goal is to make sure you achieve your TOP PRIORITY ACTION ITEMS, not ALL of them.

The ones that I don't get done, I just move it to my next day's plan.

As long as I get the highest leverage, most important things done – then my day is a success.  Even if it's ONE really important item, then I will be happy.

You want to focus on making progress, not trying to be perfect.

This is what has worked for me for planning my day.

There's many methods and philosophies out there, which is why it's important to try different ones and do what WORKS best for you.

As I mentioned, Time Of Your Life by Tony Robbins and Wake Up Productive by Eben Pagan are both fantastic time management programs that are worth checking out if you want to learn more about this.

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Thank you so much for your support, and if you have yet to leave a rating or review, please leave me an honest one on iTunes, YouTube or below on the blog.  I appreciate it!

How To Plan Your Day For Optimal Productivity
5 (100%) 10 votes
  • Eric

    Hey Stefan, Eric here. I’ve been watching your videos a lot lately and its really helping to motivate me. Once thing that I’m really working on is fitness… I know you are very intentional about what you consume…are you temped by going out with friends and having a nice dinner with a few drinks? Good food and beer/wine is my downfall to being in great shape. Just wondering if you wrestle with that at all as a young guy like me. Thanks for all you are doing!

    • Thanks Eric! I honestly don’t struggle much with that. It’s because I value health/energy above the pleasure of “feeling good in the moment” and the temporary satisfaction that alcohol and what you call “good food” provides. I enjoy eating healthy – it’s not a struggle, but I actually crave and get a lot of pleasure from it. And alcohol often leaves me feeling very dehydrated and my body doesn’t respond that well from it. Wine I have once in awhile, but that’s about it.

      • Artem Stupakov

        Hi, Stephan, open UPW book and there is very useful info about alcohol and brain. Brain needs at least THREE YEARS to recover from last doze of alcohol. Please mind that Tony Robbins lives sober!

  • This is great! This actually answers my question from last week about goal setting. Thank you for taking the time to write this post. It was detailed and I will be definitely using it!

    I really aspire to meditate on yearly goals, even a life goal, that’s something that needs much consideration.

    Thanks!

  • No problem Darreell! I usually go to sleep around midnight, wake up around 8AM. I plan things around 8:30 I’d guess, as part of my morning ritual.

  • Check out the My Evening Ritual video blog.

  • You’re welcome!

  • Awesome!

  • Great! Good luck.

  • Chaz

    This one was awesome, I had been waiting for a daily productivity. Nicely done Stefan!

  • Silindile Meyiwa

    This is excellent video post and blog. I feel like my eyes are open to new ways of ensuring that everyday I take a step forward to reaching my ultimate goals! Thank you so much my brother 🙂

  • Sometimes my outcomes are based on my monthly goals, other times it’s based on a project, and sometimes it might just be “To be happy today!” or whatever. It’s based on your answer to this question: WHAT DO I WANT?

  • Hey Stefan! Great post! Curious to learn about your monthly and weekly planning. Would love for you to share that with us. Have a beautiful day! gary

  • Shmuel Shaya

    Amazing, inspiring, helpful. Thanks to Guy Shaham
    who sent me this link!

  • Nick Di Fabio

    Thank-you for this post!

    Would love to see what your weekly planning looks like [e.g. time allocated to it, time spent on it, etc.] and see how it all ties into daily planning and productivity : – )

    “I’m not going to spend much time going through my weekly planning process (that is for another post), but the process is similar to my daily planning process.”

  • gigi m

    This is a pretty good way to get the most out of your day. I have realized that I end up wasting lots of minutes and sometimes hours of my days for not having specified what I need to do when and you have addressed that. I really like the idea of writing down your outcome, purpose, and action plan when planning for the day. This made me feel motivated to want to see myself achieve that at the end of the day. Thanks for sharing