The best way to schedule your day

 “What is the best way to schedule my day??”

I hear this question from friends all the time. Deciding how to structure our time and steward our resources is top of mind for all of us.

We’re working longer, but not always smarter.

Scheduling your work day depends on lots of factors. If you work in an office, home office, what type of work you do, etc..

No matter what field you are in and what type of business you do, there are three habits that will help you have the happiest and most productive day possible.

3 Keys To The Best Way To Schedule Your Day:

1. Do the things that have the most impact.

Look at everything you need to accomplish in your work day first thing in the morning. Find the three most important things and get those things done first. Sure, some other tasks may be easier and let you mark it off your checklist quickly, but stay focused on the three important tasks first each day.

2. Stay focused to avoid wasting your time.

Staying focused is key to having a great day. For me, that means my notifications are off during certain hours of the work day. Another way many people lose precious time during the work day is through checking email every hour can also be a big distraction. When you are working on a project and need to stay focused your email can wait a few hours.

3. Schedule short breaks throughout the work day.

This one is so counterintuitive, you may be tempted to roll your eyes, skim over it and never think of it again. (How do I know this? I used to do the same thing!)

We can only stay focused on a single task for about 90-120 minutes at a time.

Physiologist Nathan Kleitman, a groundbreaking sleep researcher, first coined what he called  the “basic rest-activity cycle”: the 90-minute cycles during which you progress through the five stages of sleep. Kleitman found the 90-minute pattern in our days, too, as we move from higher to lower alertness–the ultradian rhythm.

Have you noticed how you have certain times of day where you operate at peak performance and other times you seem to be phoning it in? Ultradian Rhythm at work!

Our brains are meant to have breaks.

We can only focus on a single task for a limited amount of time before our focus and work suffers. When we take a break, we are allowing our brains to  process.

The brain gradually stops registering a sight, sound or feeling if that stimulus remains constant over time. For example, most people are not aware of the sensation of clothing touching their skin. The body becomes “habituated” to the feeling and the stimulus no longer registers in any meaningful way in the brain.

Taking a break from the task at hand allows our brains to make breakthroughs in our work.

Want to remember more and be more creative? Take short breaks during your work day.

Your brain needs time to be away from the computer screen. In my opinion, checking Facebook does not *really* count as a break, neither does checking your email. Why? Those things are too closely tied to your work because you are still staring at the screen.

Try going outside for a few minutes, do some stretches, chat with a friend for five minutes or say a prayer. Disengage and get out of the normal ‘head space’ that your brain is in during the work day, and come back refreshed and more creative.

Try this for a few days and your brain will thank you.

Alli Worthington

Alli is the COO for Propel Women and helps people be more successful in business and life. Gifted with a knack for identifying trends early on, a voracious reader and self-taught businesswoman, Alli’s influence extends from Fortune 500 companies to international humanitarian organizations to small business owners and entrepreneurs. Her dynamic style and expertise in productivity, marketing, branding and digital strategy make her sought after counsel. And her insights on balancing motherhood, career and marriage have led to appearances on Good Morning America and The Today Show multiple times. Alli lives outside Nashville, TN with her husband, Mark, their five sons, and their rescued dog. Most flat surfaces in their home have one or more of the following on them: books, sports equipment, legos and, quite possibly, a little dog hair. Connect with Alli on Twitter @Alli, Facebook and Website.

Join the discussion

pauline July 30, 2017 at 12:41am

I completley agree, it is easy for me to just want to work through the time I should take a break, just to get my project completed faster. I remind myself often to just stop, take a break for 10 minutes, the project will still be there. It is true, I do come back refreshed and able to complete the project with a fresh look. I will continue to push myself to get away from my desk for breaks, and yes not checking fb, but chatting with a friend or taking a walk.

Candy July 28, 2017 at 10:11pm

This was a great article! I am preparing to go back to work after maternity leave and need to completely reshape my perspective about scheduling my day. What tools do you use to scheduled your day? Do you use a day-planner, your phone, an app, etc.?

Sherry July 28, 2017 at 11:12am

I was just introduced Today to "Propel Women". This information was of such great advantage to me. I just retired 6 mos ago and I'm in Ministry but I find myself all over the place without any accomplishments for that day. Thank you so much for these directions. I love it.

Susan Gruener July 24, 2017 at 6:29am

I enjoyed reading about these points to be more productive throughout the day (week).
Although I am no longer in the work field, and am not raising young children etc., I always find these informative 'tools' beneficial in my every day life.
Thanks!

Amy Van July 24, 2017 at 3:55am

Love it! This is so helpful regarding stewardship of our day. I incorporate "Lord, help me to be a good steward of my day today" because as solopreneur I determine so much of where I focus my time - a great blessing and gift and yet can be so detrimental. This helps to remind me to stay focused so my brain (and Spirit) can stay focused on God's most important priorities. Thank you Alli!!

Neisha July 24, 2017 at 1:36am

What an article. Just what I needed as change has become a full season for me at my workplace. I am also an entrepreneur and my daughter just started her business and I am a single mom... i have a bright smart son who can take things apart with his eyes closed... so scheduling my days will help a lot and focusing on the top three things of the day will help! This was very helpful. Thank you so much!!!!

Neisha July 24, 2017 at 1:36am

What an article. Just what I needed as change has become a full season for me at my workplace. I am also an entrepreneur and my daughter just started her business and I am a single mom... i have a bright smart son who can take things apart with his eyes closed... so scheduling my days will help a lot and focusing on the top three things of the day will help! This was very helpful. Thank you so much!!!!