Annie Dillard famously proclaimed, “how we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives.” That tells it all. Our days are units of our lives and it adds up.
Say for instance, if you screw up daily - waste your time, invest your energy in wrong pursuits, and don’t plan your day - and if you screw up enough days, the chances are that you will end you with a screwed life.
Most of us often overlook this fact that we should get our shit together. That we should pay attention how we organize and operate our days.
In fact, most of the young people these days are sleepwalking. When you wake up in the morning, you have no clue what you want to do throughout your day, you have no goals, no plan, and no schedule. This is a recipe for long and short-term disaster.
If you continue living your days like this without a plan and a goal and a schedule, soon you will find yourself in a dark corner, frustrated, depressed and maybe without a way out. And every one of us knows, we don’t want that for us. What is the solution then? Get serious about your days.
Later in this story, I have added story of Piplu R Khan on how he organizes his day, however, you can start pretty simple, here are few pointers that you may use as a template:
Have a goal: Probably you are going through a difficult time or super cool time, does not matter, have a daily goal for yourself which is of course aligned with your long-term goal. Most people don’t have a concrete goal. They have it in their heads, or they think they have it there but if you ask them a few questions they will give you blank stares. Don’t play smart, write down your goal and if you are somewhat going through a difficult time this is a must for you. Write down your damn goal.
Have a plan: Having a goal is the first step, but how do you want to achieve it, write it down. Make a precise and specific plan. Most of us don’t have plans and it often does not end well. They undergrad student does not know what he wants to do after graduation and it applies to almost every young kid out there. Man, have a plan.
Schedule your day: Now this is very important. You have to know how you are doing to spend your day. Schedule your day by hours and tasks. Start your day at a certain time every day and use Google Calendar, a dairy and a to-do list. Don’t allow your day to slip by in a reactive mood. Take control of your, your like is likely change, slowly but surely.
I usually wake very early in the morning, at around 5 a.m and start my work early which I love. By 10 in the morning, I’m done with my day. It unburdens me like anything. After that, things are mostly serendipitous. I might get something important things to do or I might not get anything to at all. It is all about making choices about what I will do today.
I interviewed Piplu R Khan of Apple Box a couple of months ago and here is how he organizes his day for maximum productivity. You may read the interview here.
I’m not a tidy person but I’ve my way of finding a system in the chaos. One thing I do, however, is that I organize myself around a lot of notebooks. I’m a constant note taker. I mostly use pen and paper. Nowadays, I’m also using Evernote a lot which allows me to organize things on the go.
Taking notes is important to me. When I get an idea, I immediately write it down. I don’t wait for later because ideas are fleeting. If you don’t write one down immediately, the chance is that you will forget it later.
The way I operate is mostly manual – you can call me a supremely manual person. I do have devices and I use internet, emails and everything, but I try to limit my technology consumption.
I write a lot, mostly with pen and paper. There is a daily list of what I will do tomorrow – a sort of physical to-do list. I use a paper notebook for that. It is like a ritual to me which do it daily.
I try to be disciplined with my time. If I am writing, I write. I try not to engage in anything else during this period of time.
I don’t usually look at the operational thing. We have people who take care of that. I’m more into bigger picture challenges, into making things better and improving our business and condition. I’m not a micro-manager. I like to delegate.
I usually wake very early in the morning, at around 5 a.m and start my work early which I love. By 10 in the morning, I’m done with my day. It unburdens me like anything.
After that, things are mostly serendipitous. I might get something important things to do or I might not get anything to at all. It is all about making choices about what I will do today.
I have this habit of meeting people without any agenda. If I really like and care about someone – an artist or whoever – I always make a point to connect with them and go and meet.
Sometimes I take an interview, take some notes and all. I don’t essentially meet functional people or industry people or otherwise with an intention. One day I probably meet an old professor, go his/her home, just talk about things and come back. A day well spent.