Today I will tell you why you should say ‘NO’ to your habit of creating ‘to-do’ lists, and present a new proven way on how to plan your day to be the most productive, present and pleasant to yourself and actually get things done! We often focus on all the activities, but not the outcome and what you really REALLY want in every aspect of your life. That’s why today we will replace your to-dos with your purpose. ‘Me First’ day planner will help you focus on what you want to achieve in your life and business. If you’re not taking care of yourself, how can you take care of anything else?
Step 1: Me First Mentality
The problem is that we usually make ‘to-do’ lists of things that we need to get done for someone or something else, but not for us. Our day starts with the morning routine, and thus you should choose something that gets you, YOU, excited to get out of bed in the morning. For example, you can list your biggest desires and outcomes in the next 6 months or 2 years: personally, professionally, in relationships with your partner, family, and friends, etc. Those outcomes should be super specific to keep a clear idea of what you want to achieve. Write down those outcomes on paper and read them every morning when you wake up. Believe me or not, but your purpose will get you motivated!
When you wake up, you usually take your phone and start checking your messengers and social media. A good habit to develop is to stop touching technology as ‘first thing in the morning’. Instead, do something for yourself, something that will get you moving: meditating, running, going to the gym, or just putting a smile on your face! But remember that you need to find what works for you as an individual because we are all different.
Start your day in a very good headspace, and the only way to achieve that is to take care of yourself before you take care of anything else.
Step 2: Simplify and focus on the outcome
We all tend to write down long ‘to-do’ lists and keep ourselves busy during the day by getting them all done. Most of the time, those things don’t really serve our purpose and just make us burn out because we do just busy work and not really what we want to do. However, you should write down 1-3 outcomes with simple subtasks per day, instead of keeping yourself busy with unnecessary tasks or things. Keep your outcomes super specific and something that actually makes you excited. The best way is to use a pen and paper rather than your phone because all the apps and notifications will just pull your attention away and distract you. Let me give you an example:
On a business level: You want to increase the sales of a certain product by 20% next month.
On a health level: You want to lose X amount of weight or increase your muscle mass by X % within 3 months.
These outcomes are specific because you know exactly what you want to achieve, and thus the subtasks underneath them will be easy to understand and serve the greater purpose.
Step 3: Subtasks of step 2
Once you know the outcome, you want to break it down into subtasks to understand how you can achieve this outcome and what you can be doing today to help you get there. It doesn’t mean achieving this outcome in one day, it’s just not realistic. Create intentional action steps that are not ‘to-do’ lists, but ‘to-love’ lists! Things that you are going to do to thrive every day and achieve what you really want in your purpose in life and business. Subtasks should be specific, doable and broken down into tiny-tiny baby steps that will actually get you to your goals without you feeling dull about ‘how on Earth will I achieve this goal’.
Step 4: Prioritize
The long list of tasks overwhelms and encourages you to procrastinate and actually do nothing productive during the day. Instead, take a look at what you need to do today to get closer to the wanted outcome meaning that you should find a task that will give you a bigger outcome or the biggest return on your investment of time, and this task will be the one to focus on first.
Another thing that can help your prioritizing is … social media. I’m not encouraging you to stop using it. Do what makes sense for you, so it’s not pulling your attention away, and do it on your terms. Block times during the day when you intentionally go to each platform to engage and post. 15 mins windows or 30 mins blocks – and that’s it. What I suggest is to turn off your notifications for most or all apps. When you see lots of notifications on your phone, what’s your first reaction? Stress, anxiety and a feeling that you need to do something. This all takes you away from your desired outcomes.
Put your tasks into 4 categories:
– can do
– don’t like doing
– shouldn’t do
– can’t do
This exercise will help you understand what you are really good at and love, and make decisions on what should be outsourced, if possible.
Step 5: Find your flow times
It’s up to you to find and decide what part of the day is the best time for you to take care of the hardest tasks. Block off and color code different aspects of your life that you are trying to prioritize to reach those outcomes. For example, block times for your personal engagements and work things, health and work out, etc.
Review your intentional steps each night for the next day to plan and prioritize them. Start your morning by reading your ‘Me First’ planner, and stop making overwhelming ‘to-do’ lists. Instead, specify your desired outcomes, break them downs into action steps and finally get those things done that actually bring you where you want to be.
I hope that this information will help you become more productive and focus on yourself first! Check my other blog posts about personal development here!