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The Not-To-Do List: 3 Things to Avoid to Stay on Top of Your Day

Busy, busy, busy – mindlessly doing whatever pops up next.

This is how so many of us move through our day. We are constantly in reaction mode, pleasing everyone but ourselves. It doesn’t have to be this way.

You can choose to run your day instead of letting your day run you.

Let’s face it. Left to its own devices, your day can run you into the ground leaving you feeling like a failure at the end of every day.

Here are a few things that I avoid to stay on top of my game, especially when I start to feel a little burnout.

These things help me stay organized, on task and also give me a little bit of time and space to just breathe. What a concept, right?

#1 Avoid ending the workday without a plan for the next day.

I preach this over and over because it’s that big of a deal.

To stay on top of my game, I end the workday with a plan for the next day, and it’s in my calendar.

If I’m going to plan for five tasks tomorrow, five things that I’m going to get done tomorrow, like record a podcast, get on a call with my ads team, troubleshoot my quiz, whatever it might be, then I actually have time slots on my calendar for each of those tasks.

It’s called scheduling it. Give every task a time slot.

Have you ever sat down and wrote a list of all the things you’re going to get done that day, and then you only get half of them done?

Oh yes, I’ve done that and I’d look at that list and realize I never had the time to do all of it. There weren’t enough hours in the day to get all of this stuff done. And I was sick of feeling defeated every day, that I had a list of ten things, and only five got done. I felt like a loser at the end of the day.

The lesson here is don’t set yourself up to feel like a failure.

One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is a reality check of “What’s really possible today?”

It’s not about lowering our expectations, or going easy on ourselves. It’s about setting small, daily, attainable goals.

And when we accomplish these things every day it boosts our productivity, our confidence and our motivation. It creates momentum.

I always, always, always look at my calendar the day before. I’m never surprised in the morning about what’s to come. When I’m shutting things down at, let’s say 5p.m., I take time to look at tomorrow’s calendar and make sure I’m very clear about how the day is going to go. If anything isn’t sitting well, I’ll figure it out in advance, because I love to hit the ground running in the morning.

When you fiercely manage your calendar (and yourself), you win the day. When I’m done at the end of the day, I feel very accomplished and that hasn’t always been the case.

If you’re ending your workday feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, overworked, just mad that you didn’t get all the stuff done, try what I laid out for you here. You have to be really diligent and intentional, but you will win the day. I promise you that.

#2 Avoid hitting the snooze button.

How we set-up our day determines how we end our day.

It’s so common for many of us to hit the snooze button everyday. The amount of sleep you get never feels like enough, so you use your snooze button to tack on an extra 10,20, 30 minutes… whatever you can squeeze in.

Those stolen minutes – as delicious as they seem – aren’t worth it.

I’ve heard you should get up as soon as your alarm rings – but why is hitting that snooze button bad for your?

Turns our this habit is counterintuitive; instead of giving us a little more rest, it makes us more tired during the day.

The body needs some time to get you ready to wake up. When you let yourself go back to sleep, your body thinks, “False alarm! I guess I didn’t need to do anything, because we’re not getting up after all,” and settles in.

When that buzzer goes off a second time, your body and brain are taken by surprise, resulting in the groggy, fuzzy-headed feeling called sleep inertia. The more you snooze, the more confused your body and brain get (“So are we going back to sleep or not?!”), so you’ll probably feel more out of it even though you spent extra time in bed.

What’s more, this groggy, fuzzy-headed feeling can persist for up to two to four hours.

This sleep inertia ads to difficulty getting our day started. It’s harder to get in the zone and focus. Our attention span is shorter throughout the day. We get cranky more easily and we give up on ourselves.

At day’s end, we feel like garbage because we didn’t get our stuff and then we repeat the snooze button habit all over agin.

The answer here is simple.

Set your alarm for the time you really want to get up. When your alarm goes off, GET UP!

#3 Avoid jamming your schedule so tight that you can’t breathe.

I have full days, like head down, 8:30 to 6p.m.

But I also have cushion built in my calendar.

You’ll see 15-30 minute or one-hour chunks of time with literally the name cushion on them. That means that between coaching sessions, meetings, recording podcasts or writing blogs, I give myself a buffer where I have space to breathe, go walk or cuddle with Kipp, refill my water bottle, grab some lunch, whatever it might be.

I always have a built-in cushion because I don’t want things to be so tight that one coaching session runs into the next or other tasks that take me longer than planned screw up my entire day. It’s like a domino effect everything falls apart.

If you can start to get into the practice of adding a little cushion to your calendar, I promise you, you will not feel so depleted and tired at the end of the day.

Wrapping It Up

Again, here’s the three things I avoid to stay on top of my day.

The first is that I avoid ending the work day without a plan for the next day.

Second, I avoid hitting the snooze button. Now that you know how it kills your focus during the day, I hope you avoid it too.

Third, I avoid packing my day so tight that I can’t breathe.

It’s one day at a time. Avoiding these three things helps me stay on top of my game and get a lot done throughout the day, throughout the weeks, throughout the months, throughout the quarters, and throughout the year.

I hope they help you too!

Looking for more support on taking charge of your days? Check out

THE FAIL PROOF PLANNING SYSTEM

Giving you all the coaching and tools you need to tackle every day with confidence.

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