in planning priorities tools ~ read.

How To Manage Your Day With Focus

Focus the day on what needs to be done, rather than how much you can get done. This is part 2 of a 2 part series about managing your day easier and better.

In Part 1 of this 2 part series, I recommend using an easier and better way to manage the day, focusing the day on one or two clear sets of tasks. These are the tasks that, if you accomplish them during the day, you can look back on the day and feel satisfied that what you needed to get done got done.

Here in Part 2 of this series, I’ll walk you through the exact steps that you can use to manage your day with focus. Using these steps will help not only make your day easier and better, it also will help you be more productive along the way.

If you’re skeptical, here’s some proof from the project that I have setup in Asana to manage my day with focus –

manage your day

Here’s how I do it –

Note: I like to use Asana to manage my day, so these instructions will use Asana to provide an example. These instructions are for use with a free personal Asana account. They should also work with paid accounts, I just haven’t tested the instructions with a paid account yet. The steps should be easily replicated to work with your task management system of choice, if you prefer to use a different tool.

1 – Follow these instructions to create a new Workspace in Asana called “Today”

2 – Follow these instructions to create two new Projects in the Workspace you created.  

3 – Name the projects “3 for Today – Work” and “3 for Today – Personal”.

You can also download the same Asana template I use to make my day more productive and less stressful here.

You’ll end-up with something that looks like this –

asana screenshot

Once your system of choice has been established, here’s how to use it –

A – Each morning, before the day gets rolling, add your three tasks to each list.

Doing this in the morning is very important, because if there’s any time we’re going to be thinking pretty clearly, it’s in the morning (maybe after some coffee!), before all the pressures and distractions of the day begin to bombard us. If you meditate in the morning, putting your lists together after you meditate and before you start “doing”, is a great way to help the “being” you experienced during your meditation inform the “doing” for the rest of your day.

B – As the day gets rolling, keep coming back to the list to remind yourself what you’re trying to accomplish for the day.

You may be surprised at how hard coming back to the lists may actually be, as your mind gets pulled in countless directions during the day. When you manage to come back to the lists, you may also be surprised at how effective the lists are in helping you regain your focus and maybe even a bit of inner peace, if you can also remember to take 3-5 full breaths with awareness each time you come back to you list 🙂

C – Check each task off your list as you complete it!

Don’t skip over this small reward for yourself, as the satisfaction of doing this simple action may surprise you in how good it makes you feel!

D – Resist the urge to keep piling it on, after the tasks in your list have been completed and enjoy the rest of your day.

Remind yourself that at the beginning of the day, you agreed with yourself that the tasks on your lists were the most important things for you to get done that day and that you also told yourself the day would be a success if you managed to get these tasks completed.

I hope that by trying this process, it helps you get done what you need to get done, appreciate what it is you’ve accomplished, and resist the urge to keep piling things on during the day. Additionally, you may discover some unexpected free time along the way, that you can now hopefully enjoy guilt-free, in the present moment, knowing that this easier and better way to manage the day will be there for you again when tomorrow arrives.