Controlling Your Day
Do you plan your day or simply ‘wing it’? Whether it is planned or winged the important element is retaining control of your day. What is the key to a successful day? Are you controlling your day or controlling your mind?
Controlling Your Day – The Beginning
How you start the day is more important than many people realise. Most people have a set routine in the morning but is it the type of routine that will set you up for the day in the best possible way?
Think about the first hour of your day and how you spend it. Are these activities setting a positive mindset to begin the day?
Many people start the day scrolling through social media and news channels. This is the first bit of information they allow into their headspace each day. This is great if it is positive but often it isn’t. Do you filter what is on your timeline? Is this really the first thing you want to see at the beginning of the day? Consider what mood this is putting you in before your feet even hit the floor.
Gratitude’s are becoming increasingly popular as a way to start the day. Some people are also stating their positive intentions as well. This doesn’t have to be a significant, time-consuming activity. You can go through them before you get out of bed, as you drink your cuppa or even as you clean your teeth. The more you practice the more it becomes normal!
Plan the day ahead as much as possible. Scan the day ahead and see which elements you are likely to have control over. Look at what needs to be done and when you are going to do it. Allocate activities from your list to do against your diary for the day. Be realistic about what you can achieve and also what activities you need to prioritise.
Set your priorities for the day. Often, we look at the list of everything that needs to be done and it can feel unachievable, especially when we are adding to it faster than we are crossing items off. Identifying three things that need to be completed each day can be an excellent way to not only prevent overwhelm but also to overcome procrastination. If we keep the list short, then we can force ourselves to complete the activities we aren’t so keen on and setting the deadline of completing them that day, can prevent the temptation to put it off until the following day.
Diarise your to-do list. Highlight what you are going to complete on your to-do list and allocate it to a time period during the day. You will need to be realistic about the time that the activity will take so that you can allow sufficient time to get it completed. Consider the vacant time slots you have in the day and what you can realistically complete in that time. If there are gaps left in the day, remember that they don’t have to be filled! Leaving gaps for the unexpected tasks or for some downtime is important.
If something unexpected happens, check the time available against the list of priorities and reassess what you can do, and what you need to do.
You may also want to check out the Zing 365 Series Video on ‘Life Hacks for Increased Productivity’.
Controlling Your Day – The Middle
You can plan your day each morning, and you can create a headspace of positivity and state your positive intentions for the day, but how do you control the rest of the day?
The main part of the day is a fair few hours to control. It is also frequently a period of time that is not fully within your control especially if you are in work or at home caring for young children, neither of whom may be signed up for the day you have planned! You will not always be able to control your day, but you can learn to control your mindset of how you approach it.
It is an infrequent occasion that you have full control of other people or your environment. It is almost unheard of in fact, yet it is something that many people are still fighting to try and achieve that can result in feelings of stress, anxiety and overwhelm. None of which are healthy for our mental wellbeing.
“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free [i]
As you pass through the day, do what you can, when you can.
When the day takes a turn that you hadn’t planned for, ask yourself how you can adapt to it and how you can control your reaction to it?
- Take a deep breath
- Look at the whole picture
- Consider your options
- Put the situation into perspective
- ALWAYS look for the positive
Controlling Your Day – The End
At the end of the day it is worthwhile reflecting on the following:
- How did you control the day?
- How did you control your response to the day?
Spend some time recalling the successes of the day. What went well or what did you handle better than you have previously? This is important to ensure that you focus on the positives of the day rather than the negatives.
What worked well in the day? Was there anything you did differently that had a more positive outcome or did you do something well that you would like to build on?
When you are reflecting on something that didn’t work so well, it is essential to try and balance it out with positives but also, it is important to spend some time thinking about how you might handle that situation the next time it arises. If you need to try something different to achieve a different outcome what might that look like?
When reflecting on the day, consider what your triggers were for negative emotions and behaviours. When the trigger happened how did you respond? Did you respond in a way that achieved the best possible outcome? What worked and what do you need to do differently next time? These are important questions to ask yourself but will only be worthwhile if you are honest with yourself. Blaming a person or situation for your response is not healthy and is likely to result in the same thing happening over and over. This will ultimately be your blocker for change and personal growth.
Evaluating Your Day
- Reflect, but be 100% honest with yourself.
- How did you control your day?
- Where the day was in your control did you make the best use of the time you had?
- Did you complete your priority tasks?
- If not, what do you need to do differently tomorrow to achieve these activities?