How to Structure Your Day – 4 Easy Tips

Adriana Girdler

Ready, set, plan! Hi everyone, it’s Adriana Girdler from the MVP Approach, here to teach you how to live your life with purpose and intention. …

Ready, set, plan!

Hi everyone, it’s Adriana Girdler from the MVP Approach, here to teach you how to live your life with purpose and intention. In today’s video I am going to share with your 4 quick easy tips on how to structure your day.

Tip #1 –Plan on Sunday

I would like for you to start planning your day on a Sunday. What? Adriana, you said “help me plan my day”. Interestingly enough, our days aren’t just about the day today and the tasks we are doing, it actually is about looking into the future.  If you really want to get into it, you can get into some major time management and look at things a year in advance and then bring it down to monthly but I don’t want to do that for your yet: I said 4 easy tips.

With this first tip, you want to plan on Sunday. On Sunday, take a look at your calendar, see what meetings you have, what major activities are due and deliverables and then really look at how you’re going to fit these things in. I do have another video that talks about Power Hours, so in your day, you can schedule those in order to get your tasks done. Do that all on Sunday, in advance of, so it gives you a really clear idea of what to expect for the week.

Tip #2 –Plan 60% of your day

This is an interesting one because some people will think that I have to plan 100% of my day.  My answer is “NO, don’t do it”. You will actually have the opposite effect. You’ll be so overwhelmed and when things don’t come to fruition, you’ll be upset. This is counter-productive and actually counter-intuitive but most importantly, it is not efficient at all.

So the one golden rule that I have is to plan for only 60% of your day. Why? Well, I promise you that you will have things that pop up – they always do, particularly at work. You will have to firefight. How many times have you had this great intention and you had your full day planned out and perhaps you only got about 50-60% of it done. That is kind of the magic number I say – if you have about 60% planned out, giving yourself the other 40% flexibility to deal with those one-offs because I promise you, they happen. Don’t include your sleeping – your sleeping is its own time – only your waking hours. It truly makes a huge difference. Only 60% of your time planned for.

Tip #3 – Plan the night before

So you have planned for the week – absolutely fantastic. You are only planning for 60% of your day – you are on the right track. Now what you need to plan always for tomorrow the night before. At the end of the day, whether you choose for that to be at the end of the business day or at the actual end of the day right before you go to sleep, I highly recommend that you take a look at your day and decide what you have to do. Take a look at your meetings, etc., the things you may have planned out on Sunday may not be applicable anymore because we all know when we go into work how quickly our time fills up with meetings, activities, deliverables…all that fun stuff. So by planning the night before, you are very clear when you wake up as to what it is that you have to do. A side note on that is take a look at things from an A, B, C perspective. When you know what you are doing for the next day, stuff that has to be done – for sure, for sure, no ifs, ands or buts – give it an A. These are your high priorities. For those things that if you get them done today that would be fantastic – give those items a B.  For those items that are just nice to have, like if you don’t have any interruptions – give those a C. You are not too worried if those get pushed out. So, plan the night before for your day with an A, B, C method

Tip #4 – Only have one to do list in one spot

Only have one plan and one location. I see so many people having tons of sticky notes, having multiple locations for their plans and then they are wondering why they have forgotten something or they have lost a major task and they can’t find it. It really is critical from a productivity standpoint that you pick one place to have your plan. I know some people prefer an electronic method while others may prefer paper – whatever works for you. There is amazing software like Microsoft OneNote. There is amazing planner systems like the Franklin Covey planner system – actually a little side note, that was the one that I was taught on, way back when and it really got me into time management. I do love the concepts of that. There is also an amazing app called “To Do” that you can have on your phone and have it with you. Last but not least, the old fashioned method of just a piece of paper but again, something that is one place that you carry around with you everywhere that you have access to is critical so you know that that is where you put all your tasks. You don’t have to search for anything because it is all there at your fingertips.

WATCH: How to Structure Your Day

Thanks so much for reading, watching, and listening.


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Adriana Girdler is a project manager, productivity specialist, entrepreneur, professional speaker, facilitator, visioning wizard, and author. As President of CornerStone Dynamics, Adriana is one of Canada’s prominent business productivity and project management specialists—helping both individuals and businesses do what they do, only better. She is a certified master black belt lean six sigma with over 20 years’ experience improving how companies work.

She also holds both PMP (project management professional) and CET (certified engineering technologist) designations. She’s a Tedx speaker, as well as a HuffPost and Thrive Global contributor. She has been interviewed on Global, CBC, CTV, CHCH, 680News Radio, Newstalk 1010, Sirius XM and published in the Globe and Mail and numerous industry magazines. WANT ADRIANA'S FREE ONLINE TRAINING? In 45 min, learn Adriana's 5 project management secrets she use on EVERY project. Sign up for the Free Webinar here: THE FAB FIVE FUNDAMENTALS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT

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