Plan Your Day

Plan Your Day - EmilyMarko.com

24 hours. It seems like a lot of time, but how quickly it can pass you by. There seem to be so many different things that need to be taken care of in just that one day. If you are anything like me, you may create very lofty goals for that one day and then feel complete disappointment when many (or all) of those goals are unmet. Or you don’t take the time to plan any goals and you get sucked in to Pinterest for hours (yeah, that happens sometimes).

Last week I wrote about being more productive by prepping for mornings the evening before. That definitely helped to get my day started, but if I don’t have a direction for my day, no amount of prepping the night before can make the next day productive. This week, I want to share two templates I have been using to plan my days.

The first template provides space to identify goals for each area of your life – health, financial, household, community, work and social. I use these categories as a reminder of what is important (remember the Big Rocks!), but also to cut down on feeling overwhelmed. By simplifying my life into six categories with goals for each, I feel more in control of my time. Every week I fill out a new template, but it could be completed monthly if that is what works for you.

Once the weekly goals are captured, the second template is used to schedule daily action steps that will help me meet those goals. The day is broken down into thirds – morning, afternoon and evening. Instead of just one day, I have three opportunities to plan what I will do during my day. Some mornings, I schedule health first with a workout. Other mornings, my schedule focuses on work if there is a deadline approaching. As changes occur, I adjust my schedule but I never lose sight of my goals. The icons for each category are reminders so I don’t get hung up in one area.

Try out the Weekly Schedule and Plan Your Day templates and let me know how it works for you!

How do you currently schedule your days?
Do you focus on all areas of your life or get hung up on a few?

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Morning Prep

MornPrep - EmilyMarko.com

July has been an interesting experience of different ways to strive for ultimate productivity. I can’t say that I have mastered it yet, but I definitely found many resources to help me get there.

One practice I have found most useful is taking some time each evening to plan what I will do the next day. I am the first to admit that I am NOT a morning person. I may be up and moving around, but my brain is definitely on low function.

To give my brain neurons some time to charge up, I prep the night before so I don’t need to rush around and think too much in the morning. What that means for me is to pack my son’s lunch, plan what we will eat for breakfast, clean the kitchen for easy food prep, put out clothes for the morning and whatever else I can think to do.

I have not practiced this every night, but on the nights I do take the time to prepare, my mornings run so smoothly.

Another habit I started is writing a list of to-do’s to follow for the morning and into the remainder of the day. If I know I will attend my exercise class then I write it down and assign a time for it. Then I list any phone calls or emails I need to make and a time slot to complete. Once I get the personal items listed, then I block off time for work and create a realistic to-do list for the open time slot.

When morning comes, that to-do list might shift a bit, but I have the action items I know must be completed and then the others can be pushed off for later if necessary.

These are great habits to begin forming now so I can be productive and ready for the new school year.

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Are you a morning or night person?

What types of prep tips do you have to share?

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What’s In Your Jar?

Big Rocks - EmilyMarko.com

In my newsletter this month, I shared some tips on productivity. I mentioned that a great way to start upping your productivity is to first reflect on your current priorities.

I shared a concept from my past life in corporate training and development – the Big Rocks. This is a concept used to help prioritize your life, which focuses on making room for the most important things you value in life, the Big Rocks. If the small stuff, the sand and pebbles, is given priority, there isn’t room to fit what matters most to you. Because the small stuff is – well, small – it can easily fit in between the Big Rocks. The small stuff sure can add up though, and if that is where the focus of our priorities are then your days will be so full with sand and pebbles the rocks will never find room.

So be sure to fill your jar with your Big Rocks first.

Check out Franklin Covey’s fun video that explains their concept.

I have been practicing this concept for the past week and I already feel more productive! Prioritizing is not always easy and I had to say No to some things of interest in order to stay focused on my Big Rocks, but I felt good about those decisions because ultimately I was staying true to what I value most.

So my challenge to you is: Identify your Big Rocks and then schedule one of them into your week before you schedule anything else in. Every week try to add another big rock.

I created a free downloadable template to complete as a reminder to stay focused on what matters most. Try it out!

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Are you giving enough time to the people or things that matter most to you? 

Need help identifying what matters most – try this template.

Think about how you fill your jar on a daily basis?

What does your jar say about your priorities?

Is there any small stuff you can stop doing?

Let me know how your challenge goes!

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Interested in receiving updates about how you can become a Passionate Do-Gooder – Sign up for the e-newsletter here.