A SMART goal pulls on a popular system in business management  . That’s because it ensures the goal you’ve set is both realistic and achievable. It can also be used as a reference to guide you through your action plan.
How to plan your day
“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans..” While this saying holds a lot of truth, it is also true that a goal without a plan is just a wish. Without proper planning in place, the line between idea and strategy becomes unclear, blurring your map for the future. Yet when you plan your day out , set goals and track your progress, you know exactly where you stand as your work toward your goals.
Whether you’re seeking to tame an overwhelming workload, build a new habit or create more time for fun, understanding how to plan your day out is key to taking control and getting where you want to go. Here are the top eight ways to plan your day so you can improve your productivity and achieve your dreams.
How to plan your day out
1. Think ahead
Human beings have limited willpower. When you attempt to plan your day out in the morning, you deplete your supply of willpower first thing. Why do that to yourself, when you can just as easily plan your day out the night before? By giving yourself a heads up on what tomorrow will look like, you’re mentally prepared the moment you wake up – no need to waste time and energy when your day’s strategy is ready and waiting.
This doesn’t necessarily mean scheduling out every minute of your day. It also means using the power of routine to take some things off your plate. There’s a reason Steve Jobs and Barack Obama wore the same thing every day. These types of routines save your brain’s energy for what really matters – making tough decisions and focusing on your goals.
2. Embrace rituals
Your most powerful routine takes place in the morning. Embracing morning ritual s will provide the structure and discipline you need to learn how to plan your daily life . It also sets the mood for your day, shifting your mindset to one of positivity and productivity.
L ike any new habit, managing your schedule takes consistency to make it second-nature. Build new habits into your schedule so you’re reminded to follow through on them on a consistent basis. By making new habits ritualistic, you’re able to build patterns that align with your values and priorities.
3. Slow down
As helpful as technology can be, mastering how to plan your day is a great time to go analog. Before you turn on any technology, get out a piece of paper and write down what end results would make for a successful day. Next, write down the steps needed to get there.
From those steps, select the ones you can realistically get done in a day. By taking a few minutes’ break from the rush of digital information, you’re able to focus calmly on today’s plan of action. Make this a part of your morning routine to get your mind in the right place before you start your day.
4. Find tools that work for you
You don’t have to ignore technology entirely – time management apps and tools are essential for many people. To master how to plan your day out, elevate your focus with Tony Robbins’ best-selling custom life planner, the RPM Life Planner . Unlike the majority of time management systems, which focus solely on mapping out your to-do list, the RPM Life Planner takes a holistic approach.
You get all the tools you need to get organized and pursue what you truly want out of life right at your fingertips. You get an achievable blueprint for not only how to plan your day but also how to strategize and meet larger life goals. This approach saves you from the busywork of unfocused activity. You get real progress – forward movement toward your passions.
5. Use chunking
When you have too much on your plate, it’s almost impossible to focus on anything, much less on how to plan your day . Enter chunking , the time-management strategy at the center of the Rapid Planning Method (RPM planning). Rather than thinking of your time as a fleeting resource that’s either “spent” or “saved,” RPM planning guides you to prioritize the outcomes you really want in life, then target your time toward those goals.
By using the chunking technique, you’re able to set realistic and achievable goals with the resources you have without exhausting yourself. To practice chunking, group similar activities and information into bite-sized pieces. Chunking is one of the best ways to plan your day – you’ll notice everything from planning your work day to enjoying your days off becomes more natural.
How to make a life plan
Creating a life plan is one of the best things you can do to identify the things you most want in your life and develop the strategy to make them happen. Here are the steps to help you create a life plan:
1. Create a vision
Allow yourself to dream big. Imagine what an average day in your ideal life looks like. Imagine where you work, what kind of work you do and the income you earn. Imagine your relationships with friends and family. Maybe your ideal life means gaining new skills to find a more fulfilling job. Maybe it is honing your skills to increase your marketability and find a higher paying job. Maybe it’s working from home to spend more time with your family.
Imagine the kind of person you want to be and how you want others to perceive you. For example, you may want your colleagues to know that you are reliable in delivering your work. You may want your manager to respect you as someone punctual in meeting deadlines and accountable for your quality of work.
Think about the things you want to improve in your life. This can include different areas in life, such as finances, career or health. It may entail some weaknesses you want to overcome. Consider how you will measure your improvement and define success. Clearly define what success means to you.
2. Perform a self-assessment
To perform a thorough life assessment, you need to be honest with yourself and what you want. A life assessment includes considering factors like the roles you have in life, your satisfaction with different areas of your life and your various strengths and weaknesses. Reviewing your life from different perspectives allows you to develop a holistic evaluation. Practice self-reflection to clarify your roles and satisfaction in different areas of life. If you struggle with assessing your strengths and weaknesses, ask several people close to you who will give you an objective opinion.
Everyone fills different roles in life. Brainstorm a list of the different roles you play. Examples of roles include student, coworker, employee, manager, entrepreneur, volunteer, spouse, parent and sibling. In the next step, you’ll prioritize these roles and identify the values you want to bring to each one.
Consider different areas of your life such as career, finances, personal development, community, health, relationships and faith. Look at each area of your life and rank your satisfaction in that area on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being ‘needs a lot of work’ and 10 being ‘best’.
Identify your strengths and weaknesses. These can be either technical skills or soft skills. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses allows you to decide where to focus your energy—which weaknesses to improve or which strengths to highlight.
3. Prioritize your life
Review your list of roles and reorder them according to what is most important in your life. For example, your role as a parent or a manager may be more important to you than your role as an employee or student.
Also, prioritize the areas of your life to identify what is most important to you. For example, your health and family may be more important than your work or hobbies. When prioritizing areas of life, it’s also important to consider how different areas are related. For example, you may prioritize family over finances, but some financial goals are necessary to care for your family. Establishing that one is more important to you does not decrease the value of another; it simply indicates the areas you want to focus more attention on.
Prioritizing your roles and the areas you want to focus on will help you identify your values and non-negotiables when it comes to your career. For example, if your family is among your top priorities, you may prefer a career with a good work/life balance that requires little or no travel for an organization that is close to home and respects employees’ non-working hours.
4. Identify your values
Comparing how your life is now and what you want your life to be will help you identify your values. Allowing yourself to feel and analyze the difference clarifies your core values. The person you imagine yourself to be—with the life you imagine—lives by these values. They represent who you are as a person even if you’re still working to realize them.
When you identify your values and what is important in your life, they become a measuring tool for every decision. Decisions become much easier because you can clearly see what does and does not align with your values. For example, you might value work that is gratifying and serves your purpose more than you value the size of your paycheck. Understanding this helps you narrow your job search to opportunities that are more gratifying instead of any position with a higher salary.
5. Establish goals
Now that you have an idea about the life you want and what is important in your life, establish high-level goals for the person you want to be. These goals are the things you want to accomplish over several months or years. They may include things like achieving an executive-level management position or earning a specific annual salary within a certain timeframe. They may also include obtaining a job with income and the freedom to vacation with your family twice a year.
Schedule Your Tasks
Setting a deadline for your goal is a must; it prevents you from delaying the start of your action plan. The key, however, is to be realistic. It’s highly unlikely, for example, that you’ll lose 20 pounds within two weeks. It’s even less likely that you’ll keep it off.
What’s more, you should also assign tasks a start and end date for each action step you’ve created, as well as a timeline for when you’ll complete specific tasks. Adding them to your schedule ensures that you stay focused on these tasks when they need to happen, not letting anything else distract you.
Beware the temptation to double-book yourself—some activities truly can be combined, like a run while talking to a friend, but some can’t. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can both write and catch up on Netflix simultaneously.
While you can use a paper calendar or planner, an online calendar may be a better option. You can use it to set due dates or reminders for when each step needs to be taken, and it can be shared with other people who need to be in the know (like your running buddy or your mentor).