5 Steps to Create a Daily Schedule (with template)Starr Campbell
Our lives are busier than ever, and it’s easy for your days to become overwhelmed with tasks and priorities. When you are running a business, it’s essential to use your time wisely and make the most of it. Though it’s easier said than done, you can maximize your productivity by using a daily schedule that helps you stay organized and on top of your most important tasks.
Many people underestimate the power of visualization and following a crafted routine, but seeing how your time is spent can help you identify how to utilize it effectively. Creating a daily schedule is a great way to plan our your day and start to managing your time efficiently.
Why is a daily planner necessary?
Managing time is a skill that is vital to progress. The best leaders are those who have mastered their time management skills by employing a daily planner to better manage their schedule. A daily planner helps to prioritize time and tasks and keeps you efficient. However, schedules are only beneficial when they are abided by consistently. Daily planners help you stick to your schedule and typically come with a section for to-do lists or other notes you may need throughout the day so nothing will slip your mind.
When people think of a planner, they tend to picture a notebook filled with illegible words scribbled in the “don’t forget” section. You need a better approach to managing your daily tasks. To begin, a daily schedule template can help you outline your tasks, priorities and the time spent on them. It’s also a great way to better understand your daily bandwidth and time blockers. Daily planners also help you avoid procrastination and decision fatigue.
Decision fatigue shows up when your brain is overloaded with looming tasks and decisions that need to be made, big or small. If staying on top of your inbox is a chore. Specifying time once a day to go through your emails can increase your productivity throughout the week - since it’s one less thing to think about. Having your day pre-planned leads to better efficiency and decision making.
What should a daily schedule look like?
When creating a daily schedule, the first thing you should keep in mind is to be disciplined and realistic. You do not want to book your days solid throughout the week or give yourself too much unaccounted-for time. A daily schedule should be straightforward and structured around the most important parts of your week. It would be best to allow a little room for error when creating your schedule, since every day rarely goes according to plan.
Before you start putting your daily schedule together, take some time to learn what works best for you. There are certain times of day when you are naturally full of energy and creativity, and others when your body slows down. For many people, morning is the peak time. Many of the world’s most successful innovators and business leaders credit their achievements to waking up early.
To get the most out of your mornings, you should implement time blocking when creating your schedule. Time blocking is a time management technique that makes your schedule easy to read and follow. Your entire day will be accounted for with specific blocks of time designated for the tasks or activities you need to focus on. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all style or method to keeping a daily schedule. No matter how you decide to customize a schedule, creating one is easy. Here are five steps to create a daily schedule that works for you.
Steps to create a daily schedule
Start with a list
Start by writing down a to-do list of all your tasks and assignments. You can also write down your daily errands, tasks, and obligations to see the big picture of what you need to accomplish. Don’t limit your thinking to just work – include your family duties and hobbies too. Remember, try not to be too vague.
Now, begin to prioritize your tasks. Decide in order of priority which items should stay or go. You can't compromise on the morning review of your team’s work or carpool for the kids, but time at the gym can be moved around. Decide what’s most important to you and go from there. Don’t be tempted to squeeze items into your schedule. Items that don’t fit into your schedule need to be moved to another day or you’ll need to reconsider priorities.
Block off your time
As mentioned, time blocking is an essential part of building an effective schedule. By chopping your time into blocks, you can focus on one main task or related tasks without anything else encroaching on your time. Ideally, a time blocked schedule should mirror your condensed to do list.
One common misconception about time blocking is that it binds you to a strict routine that’s jam-packed with tasks. Though a time blocked schedule can look intimidating, it’s all in your perspective. Think of it as a foundation more so than a blueprint. You can set certain days for a series of tasks. For example, Mondays can be “Backlog Day” where you answer emails, follow up invoices, and finish outstanding work. Tuesdays and Thursdays might be for “Deep Work”. Breaking the day down into “blocks” allows you to see exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it.
Remember to be flexible
Reality is often far from expectations when most people create a daily routine. It’s impossible to foresee the slight hiccups that come along with every day, so try not to be too rigid. Include at least a forty-five minute lunch break and time away from the computer, even if it’s just five or ten minutes.
Different surroundings can inspire creativity and make you more productive when you return to work. Flexibility can also mean not overworking yourself for the sake of staying focused. Sometimes stepping away for a quick walk or a coffee break can do wonders for your mind.
Prioritize your tasks
It may seem like a no-brainer but deciding what you need to do every day can be difficult. There is always a home improvement job that needs completing or a work project that isn’t quite finished. Specifying your most vital tasks can help ensure interruptions, long meetings, or outside distractions don't completely derail your time.
What do you need to do that will move you closer to your daily goals? Figure out what those tasks are and highlight them. Once you figure out what they are, it would be wise to coordinate them with the time of day you’re most productive. Some people work best later in the day, so their most important tasks should be completed around 4-6 PM. Understanding your body’s natural routine will make following your schedule frictionless.
Use a daily planner template
Now you are ready to assign those tasks on your to-do list to specific time frames. This is where a daily planner is beneficial. Freehand schedules are often hard to keep up with and are not visually appealing. A template for your daily schedule allows you to map out your day by giving specific times to tasks and ensuring that you are not over- or under-committing your time.
Download our free daily schedule template to manage your to-do list with ease. Fill in the top section with a motivational quote that will inspire you to conquer your day.
Popular free online planner tools
Everyone has a productivity method that works best for them. While some prefer to keep written planners on their desks, others find more value in online planner apps. Here are three apps you can try to manage your schedule.
Notion - Notion seems like it’s complex, but this daily planner app makes managing your schedule simple for teams and individuals. Notion’s community has countless templates available to download for planners. In addition to the to-do list features in the software, it has numerous capabilities for scheduling and managing workflows.
Friday - This iPhone planner app breaks tasks down into a number of steps and gives you the option to add notes, recurring times, tags, deadlines, and more. Organizing all areas of your life is made simple with their user-friendly interface.
MyDailyPlanner - The leading choice for Android users, MyDailyPlanner is a robust app for managing your to-do list. You can create tasks, subtasks, groups, and set up recurring tasks. It comes with an unlimited reminders feature and the option to integrate with your calendar of choice.
A daily schedule can be the difference between hectic weeks that feel out of control and smooth days filled with actionable goals. Managing time can be difficult in your professional and personal life, but it can be simple. TimeTap can help you meet your scheduling goals with our extensive feature list.