How to Organize Your Day in Five Steps
I know that the first part of my day can often set the tone for how the rest of the day will progress. So knowing that I have a penchant for ruining things with my overactive self-talk, I have to stop myself and make a plan. The first step for many is to make a list or plan for the day, but I think it takes a bit more to get focused. You need to get your mind right to focus on what is essential to a successful day. Remember, success is only defined by you. So take a deep breath and try these steps. Write them down. Don’t worry. I’ll include a template for you to follow at the end.
Step 1: Today is a good day to…
This is a question I have to ask myself in order to define what success means for me. Is today the day I’m going to apply to 3 jobs, do the dishes, vacuum, and write an article? Or is today for reading a book, drinking coffee, and recovering from an anxiety attack? Your day belongs to you, no one else. You are responsible for making decisions that support your life goals. Today is a good day to start planning.
Step 2: I am feeling…
This can run the gamut from down/depressed to ecstatic. The point is to check in with yourself and examine how you are feeling at the moment. It is okay just to be okay or neutral. I am just okay, most days. My journal is full of me saying I’m okay-ish. Really think about this one, as you cannot make changes if you don’t pay attention to how you feel.
Step 3: I am grateful for…
This one might feel hokey, but it helps me put into perspective how I am feeling versus where I could actually be instead. For example, I felt low the other day. I was feeling fat, old, and I was struggling to improve my mood. So, I took out my journal and wrote about all the good things happening in my life. It was simple things like a safe space to work, coffee, and my cats. Sometimes being grateful doesn’t have to be grand gestures surrounding the roof over your head or money in the bank. All of that is great, really great, but sometimes knowing you have a friend to talk to is enough to get you through another day.
Step 4: The To Do List…
Don’t panic yet; this one will be the easiest yet if you follow these rules:
- Write down the six most important things you need to accomplish today.
- Do not write down more than six tasks.
- Organize the six tasks in order of their actual importance to your day.
- Move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
This is loosely based on the Ivy Lee Method that I read in James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. It really helps to check off tasks as you complete them. I find it fulfilling to complete a list and have to add things to it as I find them throughout the day. However, I have to be careful not to let the extra things I find to do, keep me from finishing the items on my list. As someone with ADHD, this happens a lot, but I remind myself of the importance I have placed on each item on my list. Six tasks can be doable.
Step 5: My favorite part of today was…
When it comes to the end of the day, and you’ve checked all the tasks off your list, you need time to reflect. So take a moment to look back at your day. Look at the ups and downs. Don’t worry about what you would change to make today better. Instead, focus on the best part of the day. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a huge thing that happens. The best part of your day could be the moment your significant other walks in the door, a moment where you saw a hummingbird or a great chapter in the book your reading. Life is lived between big moments. Don’t forget to enjoy it.
Here is a template to help you follow each step. Follow the template, get yourself organized, and have a great day!