How I Plan My Day

Once I’m up in the morning, I have a routine (generally helpful) that includes a few minutes looking over the schedule and tasks for the day. This allows me to plan my approach from the start. While thinking through the plan one day, I thought it might be helpful to document what the process contains for the benefit of all.

*Often I take a look at my planner on my way out the door for a walk, since I find it helpful to think and walk. This doesn’t work for everyone, but it may be a way to multi-task for some. If you need to sit down and focus entirely on the page, please do that. Once I walk back in the door, I write down any adjustments needed.

On this particular day, I had three things scheduled and three priorities for activities. The first appointment was at 2:00, then 4:00, then 6:00, so I had hours to flex before getting where I needed to be…but not a lot of time later in the day. The tasks that needed to be tackled were varied: laundry, desk work, and raking hay.

First I considered priorities. The hay had to be baled by that night, since rain was forecasted for the next day. The desk work needed to be at least partially completed, since the due date was the next day and there wasn’t a lot of time to work on it the next day. The laundry just generally needs to be done, although we can always survive for a day or two without it.

Then I considered logistics. Although the hay was the primary importance, the dew needed to dry before I could tackle it. Desk work and laundry could be done before the raking, while the sun did its work. If I had time after raking, I might be able to fit in some more work, but if not, I had at least completed what was necessary. This also worked well because my mental energy would be better first thing, more than after working outside for a few hours.

* I have found the best time for me to do laundry is while doing work at my desk. The machine alerts prod me up out of the chair at regular intervals, which is healthier than sitting for hours. Since transferring laundry takes about 0.00000001% of mental capacity, I can retain my train of thought and jump back into the project easily when I get back.

One thing I check for appointments is that I have everything prepared. In this case, books were in the truck already and a bag was packed by the door, so I was set. Any other preparation would have had to fit into the morning also.

I also checked the task list for the week to ensure I was aware of possible errands I could run between appointments. Those were scheduled with enough margin that I would probably have some time — though not a lot — in between, and I wanted to be prepared to fit a stop in on the way home.

*Not surprisingly, the day did not go as planned! However, because I was clear on my priorities, the logistics could bend to work around what was absolutely necessary. The hay got baled, the work got done in time, the laundry was clean-but-not-folded, two appointments were attended, and no errands were crossed off the list.

Habits Pay Off

“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.”
(James Clear, in Atomic Habits)

If you are trying to build your savings, compound interest is your friend.

If you are trying to reach a goal or simply grow in grace, habits are your friends.

When you think about eating an elephant one bite at a time, habits are a great illustration of “one bite” a day. If you do one thing every day (or every weekday), how much would be accomplished in a month? Or a year? It takes time to build those habits, but the investment pays off immensely in the future.

  • Reading the entire Bible is something many people do every year, but it is done a bit at a time with a reading plan.
  • Decluttering your home may seem overwhelming, but a drawer a week or a room a month makes it happen.

“You get what you repeat.”
(James Clear, in Atomic Habits)

If you want to do something more (like exercise or read), doing that thing 10 minutes a day will add up. After a few months, you will indeed have done something more.

  • Exercising often will increase your health.
  • Reading regularly will make you a reader.
  • A little bit of study every day will allow you to learn.
  • One meal with guests a month, or a quarter, will open up your home and make hospitality what you do.

With repeated small steps, a big change becomes possible.