Plan your day or someone else will.

I start each work day off with a planning session. It doesn’t take long, 5 minutes is all you need. David Allen constantly reminds us that what’s on our minds must be dealt with.

In this 5 minutes planning session I write down what’s on my mind and deal with it. This is when I prioritize the day’s work. 

Are your projects important to you? Do you set a clear focus and priority for your day?

Or, do you react to everyone else’s requests.


There is a better a way and it only take 5 minutes.

Here’s my exact steps to planning my day:

  • Journaling – I start off with my journal. This allows me time to reflect over what I did yesterday. What I could have done better, what I’m thinking about right now and what I’m grateful for. This is a primer for organizing my day. .
  • In my journal I formulate  what my priorities are. I list them out. I just do a brain dump. It could be an important phone call or a “big” project on my mind. They all get dumped from my brain to the page.
  • I then distill down the “big 3”. These are the 3 projects I want to push today. I take my action runner pad and write them down on it.
  • I then open up my productivity manager (Nozbe) and scan my projects and next actions list. I then add any single actions from my brain dump to a project or list. I then star the actions I want to get done today. Nozbe uses a star to add it to a priority list. Other programs may differ but they should a method for making a priority list. At this point I also find the projects that I listed on the note card. I review the actions listed under this project. I also add any actions from my brain dump and star the ones I need to get down today.
  • I then scan my waiting for category in Nozbe. I star any waiting for’s that I want to follow up on to move one of my 3 projects along.

If I find I’ve finished my priority list and it’s noon, well I take the rest of the day off! Ha, no not really I then would go through my emails and other lists to take care of any loose ends or requests at that point.

One important thing I find with  focusing on only 3 projects is that I leave margin in my schedule for clients requests and other requests that come in. But the important stuff, at least what’s important to me, is getting done.

I like the mix of paper and digital for this process. Writing out the 3 projects for me to focus on keeps them always present right in front of and having a digital priority and project list keeps everything nice and neat.

In my dot grid notebook I will keep my daily notes in there. I will hand write phone conversation notes or notes about the project I’m working on. Any important notes I may want to reference later get entered into Nozbe under the notes section. I find it easier to reference these notes right in Nozbe.

Want more info on daily planning – Brendon Bouchard has an excellent video and PDF download.

Whether you invent your own system, use mine or just download Brendon’s PDF, it’s your responsibility to identify what’s important to you. Don’t rely on anyone else to prioritize your work because someone else will! It’s far too easy for us to fall “victim” to requests and chase rabbit holes then to actually be responsible and plan our day.

Do you plan your day let me know about it on Twitter.