How Planning Can Help Your Day Run Smoother

Do you sometimes wish that you could start the day over again? In esscence "refresh" the day like we refresh a page when it's not working right.  Sometimes I fall into the thinking pattern that my day is not going well and therefore it will continue that way. No matter how many times I tell myself that, it simply isn't true. With proper planning we can make our days go smoother, even if everything doesn't go exactly as planned.

Notebook for Planning

The Power of Planning

From moment to moment, I can change the way that I feel about the day and you can too! I'm going to share a few tips that have helped me to change my mindset when things aren't going well and also some ideas for planning before hand to help avoid catastrophes in the first place.

One Monday morning I had a lot of things to do. I had an eye appointment for myself, a grocery pick up right after, and then a doctor appointment for my son. I started the morning scrambling around to get everyone ready and out the door on time. We made it to the first appointment right on time, but then I had to call the insurance to make sure my doctor was covered in my network. So, that set us back and we finished 30 minutes later than I had anticipated.

Next we rushed to pick up groceries that I had previously ordered and set to pick up at a certain time. We were late picking up groceries and had to rush home to put them away. I still had a little time before we needed to head out to the next doctor appointment so I decided to make muffins. I had the muffins timed to the minute of when I needed to pull them out so we could jump in the car to head to the doctor.

Unfortunately, just as I pulled them out my son needed a diaper change and his sister was hungry and suddenly we couldn't find any shoes and I felt like the day was spiraling out of control. I was wound up from the morning and I snapped at my daughter.

She felt really bad and I felt really bad. On the way to the doctor I was tense and drove a little too fast as I tried to make it to our appointment on time. As we got out of the car (still couldn't find one of the shoes that magically disappeared from the car) I tried to tell my 4 year old that I wasn't mad at her, I was just upset by the situation.

Right there, I decided to turn the day around. I didn't want to allow my poor planning and judgement to affect how my kids were feeling. So, I decided to relax and focus on having a good experience with the kids.  The kids started talking really loud while we waited for the doctor to come in so we played a game where I whispered in their ears and blew so that it tickled them. In no time at all we were laughing and having so much fun. It really hit me then that I could choose to focus on the positive and direct my day in a better direction.

Tips For Planning To Make Your Day Better

Give yourself extra time for the unexpected- I have found this to be very helpful when my kids are involved. I always try to give myself an extra 10 or 15 minutes to get out the door when I'm bringing kids. They usually need to find clothes, change clothes, get a snack, pick a book or toy, and/or go to the bathroom. Also if there is unexpected traffic, it doesn't bother you when you have given yourself extra time.

If possible, prepare things beforehand

I never regret taking the time to gather things I need before I leave the house. Often I will make a few trips to the car with stuff I need to take before I start gathering the kids. Just like I have my school age kids prep their clothes and lunches, I try to prep my diaper bag and anything else I need before leaving the house. When I don't take a few minutes to prep I almost always end up spending more time trying to find things and making trips back and forth from the car to the house.

Don't let one small mishap determine your day

I often wonder why it is so easy for us focus on one negative thing that happens and forget to consider all the things that are going right! I know that when I make a conscious effort to breathe deep and consider blessings that I can really put things into perspective. Suddenly, being a few minutes late to an appointment is NOT the end of the world and doesn't mean that the rest of my day is going to be awful. 

Focus on being present

This is SO hard to do when challenging things are happening. Part of why difficult things are difficult is because our minds often go back to past experiences that were similar or project into the future of what could happen because of this one experience.

Though it's important to learn from the past and to prepare for the future, it's also crucial to our well being to live in the NOW. When we do that, we are able to control what we will do in the moment we are in. It may provide us an opportunity to observe others around us and what we can do to improve the situation for them. As we focus on the present, we can acknowledge the challenges we are facing and choose to focus on something positive in the here and now. I have read countless stories, like Unbroken,  that have helped me to see the amazing potential we have to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Be patient with yourself and others

Isn't it so easy to get upset with our self and others when we make a mistake? Part of the human experience is making mistakes. I know that is hard for all of the A type personalities (like me) out there to hear, but it's true. We ALL make mistakes. When we can accept that and look at those moments as learning opportunities, it opens us up to new opportunities that allows us to grow. Focus on the good in yourself and others. Harsh judgements and negative thoughts never lead to improvement and growth. Patience and positive thoughts can literally change the world.

Remember that YOU are in control of your day, it doesn't control you

Again, it's so easy to decide that we don't like something or it's not going the way we wanted it to, and then our circumstances will dictate how we feel. However, it IS in our control to decide to find a positive spin. It may not be very obvious and could require a lot of work on our part, but it is possible to choose how we will allow the circumstances to affect us. Even if it is something as simple as deciding to take a deep breath and telling yourself that it will be ok.

I hope these tips get the wheels in your mind turning. I truly do believe in the power of positive thinking and taking ownership of what we choose to focus on (by mindfully planning ahead) and ultimately how we feel. It doesn't happen all at once, but with practice it gets easier and easier.

Do you think planning helps to make your day go better? What do you try to do to stay positive or to redirect your day, week, month or life when it is challenging? I'd love to hear your thoughts. I think that different tools help different people and it always benefits someone when we share our successes! Share your ideas on Instagram and add #peachtreedr.

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