It amazes me that with all the technology and knowledge we have at our disposal, people still have WTF days – they wake up and have no idea what they are going to do.
Beyond the things that they are forced to do (work, school, chores, errands), there is no routine, no structure, no direction.
They get to the end of their day and it hits them:
WTF happened to my day?
It seemed busy. Stuff obviously happened. But W. T. F.
Days like this are a waste.
They have no purpose, no direction.
They’re just a stream of endless busywork with no focus and over the long term, this leads to bad things.
And worse than all this – that’s one of maybe thirty-thousand days we have in our lives.
With everything we have and know about technology and organisation, there is no reason to have any WTF days.
Here’s how we can stop having WTF days and start having productive days instead.
Tools You Need to Stop Having WTF Days
You need to have the basics of the time management stack set up.
- A calendar and schedule. The less white space, the better.
- A personal task management system. Because you definitely have things to do, even if you don’t have them written down yet.
- A journal. Your goal is to not let the number of results increase when you type “WTF” into the search box.
- Your standard work tools and systems.
How to Stopping Having WTF Days and Have Productive Days Instead
The big secret to stopping WTF days is to plan your days the night before.
I say “the night before”, but realistically the best time for most people is either:
- Before they leave work for the day, or
- At the start of their evening ritual.
Here is exactly what you do.
- Sit down. You need about ten minutes for this.
- Wrap up today’s journal entry and answer your evening review questions.
- Create a new journal entry for tomorrow:
- Check your calendar and note any appointments.
- Check your weekly journal entry for your weekly plan, and copy in anything you need to.
- Check your personal task management system for any recurring tasks, project items, areas of life items or once-off actions.
- Check your work’s project management system, Slack and post-it notes for anything urgently due or top-of-mind.
- If using my journal structure, write out two outcomes for tomorrow and list your tasks.
- If using the classic Ivy Lee-Charles Schwab method, write down six things you will do tomorrow.1You will start at number one and only progress to number two once number one is done.
- Note down anything else you need to do tomorrow.
- Chunk up your days into blocks of time.
- Close your journal entry and let it sync to your devices.
- Rest up, because tomorrow is going to be a very productive day.
Executing Your Newly Productive Day
When tomorrow arrives, wake up and run your morning ritual.
Start your day and reference your journal entry and tasks.
And just execute.
As you progress through the day, check off completed tasks and outcomes, note things and adjust as you need to.2For more on this, see my guide to journal entries.
When you get to the end of the day simply repeat the planning process for the next day.
What To Do Next
It’s that simple.
- Have a basic time management stack set up.
- Plan your day the night before.
And stop having WTF days.
- You will start at number one and only progress to number two once number one is done.
- For more on this, see my guide to journal entries.
Photo by Tobias.