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The importance of taking it one day at a time

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Many moons ago, when working in a very busy, pressured job, I used to sit down on a Monday and plan out what I intended to get done every day that week. 

I honestly believed that seeing precisely when things would get done gave me control over both my time and my to-do list. 

There were just two problems with that:

1) days sometimes don't go according to plan, and
2) tasks don't always take the amount of time we think they will. 

By the end of Monday, I'd have ticked one or two things off my list and done several things that weren't even on my list in the first place.

Of course that then threw things off kilter. I'd have to take my plan for the rest of the week and, in the words of Orange Juice, rip it up and start again. 

It was only Monday and I was already behind. I already felt like a failure, simply because I'd planned too far ahead. 

Have you ever felt that way at the start of the week too?

The good news is that there's an easy fix. 

Having learnt the hard way, these days I advise all my clients to take it one day at a time. 

If you plan out a whole week, what if that video you're creating today takes longer than you expect? What if an amazing opportunity lands and the deadline for submitting your proposal is tomorrow? What if you're feeling under the weather and need to slow right down and rest? 

Of course it's fine to have a few realistic priorities for the week. But don't plan which tasks you're going to accomplish more than a day at a time. 

Planning one day at a time allows you to pivot with grace and ease when something unexpected happens. If things don't go according to plan, you won't waste precious time rescheduling your tasks for the rest of the week. 

And last but by no means least, because you're not fixating on your whole week going wrong, you'll be far less likely to give yourself a hard time, which to me is by far the most important benefit of this approach. 

So what do you think? Will you be giving it a go? I'd love to know whether taking it one day a time would make a difference to you, so please do share your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

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Louise MillerComment