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The idea of having a daily schedule and doing a certain thing at a certain time every day might sound boring. But by structuring your day and following a timetable, you’ll be able to create much more spare time for your enjoyment. Creating an effective daily schedule isn't as much about penciling minute-to-minute activities into a daily planner; instead, it's about setting priorities for each day.
Identify Your Priorities
Prioritizing your tasks properly could be the No. 1 strategy when it comes to maximizing the outcomes of your day. In the classic book "7 Habits of Highly Influential People," Stephen Covey urges you to question whether the matters that you spend time on are urgent or important. Urgent matters are usually visible and call for action. An urgent matter can be anything from an office emergency to an outstanding bill. By contrast, important matters usually reflect on your personal values whether it’s to jog in the mornings to keep fit or making time to call your mom.
Do the “Worst Thing First”
“If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first,” Mark Twain famously said. The frog is a metaphor for your biggest and most important task. Once you identify it, schedule this task as early as in the day as possible. By applying the do-the-worst-first strategy to your daily life, you’ll kick-start your day with a great sense of relief and accomplishment.
Having a robust daily schedule is great, but keeping a flexible mind about your schedule will yield even more benefits. Many opportunities in life introduce themselves in the form of a new activity, meeting a new person or simply saying yes to an invitation. Grabbing new chances or experimenting with different things isn't setback, even if you feel that seizing these opportunities hampers your daily schedule. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits states that developing a flexible mind is the key to being open to anything, happy with change and prepared for any situation.
Maintain a Good Work and Life Balance
You cannot thrive in life with too much work and too little play or vice versa. According to the British Psychological Society, high-quality me-time improves your psychological well-being and makes you more engaged at work. In the same way you that schedule time for tasks, set aside time for your pure enjoyment. Whether you spend this time with your family, with your dog or alone with your hobbies, take some time off for yourself on a regular basis.
Didem Tali is a journalist whose work appeared on the National Geographic, The Guardian, BBC and many others.
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