Planning the day is perhaps the habit that has more impact on my life, and is not complicated but it requires perseverance, consistency, and being intentional.
The first step to fully plan your day is to create a morning routine and I started with habit by reinforcing it by writing a draft the previous night. I do it at night mostly because I have more time at the end of the day, nights are usually a quiet time just before going to bed, and important with fewer interruptions from the daily light.
Creating a Draft
The first draft, or when I set up a new routine I take a few minutes to write it on paper or digital, the simpler the better. Firstly, the objective is to make my personal commitment to what I will do the next day when I wake up. Secondly, as I’m writing it is where the magic begins because I can take some extra steps that help me accomplish my routine. Thirdly, and most importantly, I think about WHY it matters to me.
As a result, when I’m writing my plan I organize it into mental blocks to accomplish some of my personal goals
Analysis of my routine
|Tasks||I’m Thinking / I’m Doing|
– Wake up at 5:55 am
– Think about my intention for the day for at least 2 minutes
|– Obj: Being intentional about my next day.|
– I setup my alarm at 5:55am
– Put on my exercise clothes
– Have fun doing exercise
|– Obj: Being healthy by making time to take good care of my body.|
– I use positive language when I’m writing it to motivate myself
– Additionally, I leave my exercise clothes next to my bed.
– Prepare Breakfast
– Have breakfast with my wife
– Wash the dishes
|– Obj: Being a good partner and spending quality time together with my Wife.|
– Thinking: Being healthy by early healthy.
– I put a chore, right at the end so I don’t forget. Is automatic by now…
– Make my bed
– Get dressed
|– Obj: Being organized by making my bed, makes my room looks organized and clean.|
– Get dressed. If there’s an important event or I know the day will be tight in time I pick the clothes the night before otherwise, I go by simple any T-shirt and jeans/shorts with sneakers.
– I use music to boost my motivation.
Connecting the habits
I use a trick called Habit Chaining “As soon as I finish _____ I will start _____” so my first habit is the cue to start my next habit.
I used this concept before but I truly understood when when read about it on Atomic Habits. I highly recommend reading this book.
- “As soon as I wake up I will think about my intention for at least 2 minutes.“
- “As soon as I put on my exercise clothes I will have fun doing exercise. “
- “As soon as I finish exercise I will start preparing breakfast.
… and so on.
The key is “consistency” to keep it day after day, once you have done it for many days it will be automatic. Also “perseverance” to do it when you don’t feel like doing it, I use positive language and habit chaining to keep doing it. And finally “Being intentional” that’s why I plan it the night before so reinforce me WHY I’m doing it.
After several years of doing it, the mornings stop being a drag and became an awesome moment on the day that sets the mood for the rest of the day. Give it a try, start gently with yourself, do it for you, and when you feel you can’t try to find that moment to reinforce why you want to do it.
Hope this helps, let me know what other strategies you use.