Hey, Boss! It’s Sunny Lenarduzzi. How to plan your day is a great topic that I have been waiting to talk about! It’s so, so important. If you’re sitting there watching me with one eye, and have the other eye on your to-do list, here’s what we’re going to do together right now. No more to-do list, because it’s not about having a list of need-to-dos all day long. That’s just straight up distracting.
Today we’re going to talk about how to plan your day to be the most productive, present, and pleasant to yourself. Often, we’re focused on all the activities, instead of the actual outcome and what you really, really want in every aspect of your life. We’re going to replace your to-dos with your purpose.
I’ve actually created a Me First Day Planner to plan your days around what you actually want in your life and in your business. You’d want to grab it, because… if you’re not taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of anything else.
Here are my Five Steps to Planning Your Day on Your Terms.
Step #1 – ‘Me First’ Mentality. Let’s be honest, that’s not generally how we plan our days, it’s usually “What do I need to do for everyone else? What do I need to do for my business?” And you kind of come last. We’re going to flip that script. We’re going to put you first.
What does that mean? Well, I want to have one caveat here. I know there’s a lot of videos on my morning ritual, and this is how you should start your day, and duh-duh-duh. I’m not going to do that, because what I’ve come to realize is there’s no one-size-fits-all. What you need to do is find what works for you. What gets you excited to get out of bed in the morning?
Some ideas perhaps, that could work for you, that have worked really well for me, is I have a list of my biggest desires and outcomes that I want in the next six months to a year. Personally, professionally, in my relationships, whatever it may be, I have these overarching outcomes that are super specific, and I read them every morning when I wake up. That gets me motivated for my greater purpose, to get out of bed, and get moving.
Another thing that works really well for me, is I don’t touch technology first thing in the morning. Instead, I do something for myself, which means for me, I like to go for a run, or go to the gym and do something to get moving. Now, for other people that might mean getting up and meditating right away. It might mean getting up, and just putting a smile on your face, or doing some deep breathing. You really have to find what works for you as an individual, because we are all different.
All I want you to really understand here, is that you need to start your day in a really good head space, and the only way to do that is to take care of yourself before you take care of anything else. What does that look like for you? I’m going to challenge you to have that me first mentality right when you wake up.
Step #2 – Simplify and Focus on the Outcome. I’m just as guilty as anyone else of writing a long list of to-dos, and just keeping myself busy by getting them all done, but that’s not really feeding my soul, or really getting to the core purpose of anything. I think it’s actually the best way to burn yourself out, because you’re just doing busy work, and you’re not doing what you really want to be doing.
This is from Tony Robbins, it’s his RPM system of planning, the Rapid Planning Method. It’s only focused on the outcome. What does that mean? Say in my business we want to increase sales of a specific product by 20% this month. That is my overarching outcome. It’s specific, I know exactly what I want, and therefore the to-dos that lie underneath that are going to be easy to understand, and they’re going to be serving that greater purpose.
Or on a health level, maybe you want to lose X amount of weight, whatever that might be for you, or increase your muscle mass by X percentage. You want to keep your outcome super specific, and something that actually makes you excited. That’s going to be different for everybody. Keep the outcome specific, and something that motivates you, so that it actually makes you want to do what you need to do to achieve that outcome.
Now, I write these down, but I’m literally writing down these three outcomes each day, no more. I keep it simple, and then I write subtasks just for those outcomes, so I’m not busying myself with a bunch of to-dos that aren’t really necessarily, or I could be outsourcing to somebody else.
And yes, I physically write down my to-do list still, because let’s be honest, if you pick up your phone, and your to-do list is on your phone, what’s the first thing you do when you pick up your phone? Ooh, Instagram. Ooh, Facebook. Oh, notification on Twitter. You’re not focused on the to-do list … which you shouldn’t be anyways. You’re not focused on the outcome, you’re focused on all the things that are pulling at your attention, instead of focusing on what you want to be doing.
Step #3 – Create Subtasks of Step #2. Once you know the outcome that you want, you want to basically break that down into subtasks of that outcome. Basically, how are you going to achieve that outcome, and what can you be doing today to help get you there? Now, this doesn’t mean achieving that entire outcome in one day, because I’m also guilty of trying to do that, and that’s just not realistic or possible. It’s taking baby steps towards that overarching outcome.
Creating intentional action steps is what I want you to do for step three. Intentional action steps are not a to-do list, they’re a to-love list. They’re what you’re going to do to thrive every day, and achieve what you really want, and your purpose and life and in business. These intentional action steps need to be specific, they need to be doable, and broken down into teeny tiny little baby steps, so you’re not saying big things like what your outcome is, like increase sales by 20%.
You put that down on your to-do list, you’re going to be like, “Well, how do I actually achieve that?” Then it becomes this daunting and all-consuming task. That can be your overarching outcome, but you want your subtasks to be intentional action steps that are baby steps, that will slowly but surely (or maybe fast) get you to your goals.
Step #4 – Prioritize. Now, it’s really, really important, because if you don’t do this, again, you’re just going to get overwhelmed really easily, and it will kind of cause paralysis, and not doing anything productive at all. Prioritizing means taking a look at what you need to be doing that day to achieve those overarching outcomes, and looking at it through the 80/20 lens, or the 90/10 lens, meaning that if you put all of your effort into one task, what task is going to give you the best outcome? What’s going to give you the biggest return on your investment of time? That’s the item that you probably want to be focused on first.
And also, which one is a timely task that needs to be done sooner than later, to achieve that outcome? Another way to look at this, is I travel a lot for work, I know a lot of you do as well, so really putting that pressure on yourself, and saying, “If I had to go to town tomorrow and disconnect from everything, what’s the one thing that I need to get done in order to achieve my outcome?” That’s going to really put it into context and perspective, instead of trying to achieve everything at once.
Now, another thing about prioritizing in the day and age that we live in, is social media. I recently did a post on the fact that I went off of social media for two weeks, and it was one of the best things that I ever did. I love it, it’s part of my job, it’s part of my business, but it needs to be done with intent, and it can’t be all-consuming throughout your day. We are pulled by enough things throughout the day to take our attention away from ourselves, and what we really want. Social media needs to be done with your control.
What I like to try and do, and something that I’ve been implementing, is turning off all notifications. I have no notifications from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, anything. I only see what I see when I open the app, because if I wake up in the morning, or check my phone at lunch time, and I have a bajillion notifications on my phone, what’s the first reaction? Stress, anxiety, feeling like I need to be doing something. That takes me away from my desired outcomes.
When it comes to social media, do what makes sense for you, so it’s not pulling hour attention away, and you’re doing it on your terms. What I also started doing is blocking times throughout the day, where I will intentionally go on each platform to engage and post. It’s sometimes in 15 minute windows, or 30 minute blocks, and that’s it.
Finally, the last part of prioritizing is something that I do for myself, and that I’ve had my team do as well, so we can better optimize all of our roles, and that’s creating a graph with four categories. You populate each of those with the tasks in your business that fit into each one. Listen, you might not be able to outsource some of those tasks right at this moment, but it helps to get it out of your head, and it actually starts manifesting what you want to be outsourcing, and eventually will be able to hire for, whether it’s an intern, or a full-time employee.
Prioritizing also means taking a look at what you’re having to do in your business or your life every day, that you’d rather not be doing, or you shouldn’t be doing, and it’s not in your genius zone, so it’s pulling away from what you’re really, really good at. It’s such a powerful exercise. Plus, it’s included in your Me First Day Planner.
Finally, step #5 – Make it Real and Find Your Flow Times. Again, you probably heard people say, “The best time to do your hardest task is in the morning,” or, “The best time to do your hardest task is in the afternoon.” It’s up to you. You really have to find what works for you, and what your flow time is. For me, I get my `best work done, weirdly, later at night. I tried to force myself to do it in the morning, but it just doesn’t work.
That ebbs and flows too. Sometimes I’ll go through a period of time where it’s better for me to do my hardest task in the morning, but you really have to find what works for you. The other piece of this is actually blocking off and color coding different aspects of your life that you’re trying to prioritize, to reach those overarching outcomes.
In my calendar, I actually block off personal engagements, like hanging out with friends, or going on a date night with my boyfriend, or needing to go to the doctor, whatever it may be. That’s color coded in pink, and then my work list, which is going towards those outcomes in work, are in blue. I actually block off time. It’s not for meetings, it’s just for me to focus on specific tasks, so I’m blocking everything else out, and I can actually get it done.
Color code and block out your calendar for you, and what you want to be doing in every aspect of your life. I also put in my fitness workouts in the morning, and time to meal prep throughout the week, so making sure that you actually have the time blocked off visually in your calendar.
One more bonus tip is – if you really want to feel calm and on top of things each day as you go into your life and your business, one thing that I found to really help me (and again, it’s not one-size-fits-all, but this has really helped me) is reviewing my intentional action steps each night. So knowing what’s in store for me the next day and being able to then sit down and prioritize with the 80/20, or the 90/10 rule or what’s going to get me the best outcome, and what I should be getting done the next day, and I highlight those items.
Now, grab your Me First Day Planner and make sure you get started on planning your days around what you actually want first. I know, an awful idea, right? 🙂
Also, don’t forget to join the Be Your Own Boss Mastermind group on Facebook with thousands of entrepreneurs all over the world. Join your fellow bosses in achieving the life you want to live on your own terms!
Thank you so much for reading and watching!
See you next week!
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