7 Steps to Choosing How You Spend Your Day

Today is a very important day because not only is this the final episode of season four where we’ve been talking all about big goals and dreams, it’s also the one-year anniversary of Productivity Paradox! Fifty two weeks ago from today, I started the podcast, and to see how far it’s come has been an amazing journey.

That is why I feel so passionately about you chasing your big goals and dreams.

I think this is such an important topic for us to round out everything that we’ve talked about over the course of this season because I really believe so many people feel out of control with how they get to spend their day. That’s why I’ve created this post to go along with episode 052 and included 7 steps you can start taking right now to choose how you spend YOUR day!


  1. Rethink ‘busy”

    Live by your own rules and stop worrying so much about what others think. We want to own our day, not the other way around. When you spend all day running around putting out fires, you end your day feeling exhausted and unsatisfied. How many times have you laid your head on the pillow at the end of a long day, and you felt unsatisfied, unsuccessful and unhappy, but you think, “Why? I was busy all day long,” but what were you busy doing?

    “Not everything is a priority. We need to take a hard look at the items on our list every day and make a decision if they are truly important, and pushing us to our goals.”

  2. Focus on priorities, forget about the rest

    If you give your insignificant tasks a small container of time, they’ll fit it, and if you give the same task a big container of time, they’ll fit that too, so we have to limit the amount of time we’re giving these unimportant items. I use the term “giving” intentionally. You’re gifting time on tasks and activities as if your time were infinite and you can generously hand it away. Don’t allow your learned helplessness to tell you that you don’t have a choice. If you this may be an issue, listen to episode 045, because I walk you through that!

  3. Use the priority system

    I talked a lot about this in episode 033, and using this system instead of the tradition to-do list will change the way you work. You can use the categories of immediate, important and insignificant to help guide you every day. This works at home, at work and in your personal life. We need to prioritize opportunities for growth and creativity, instead of pushing them aside.

  4. Prioritize learning and exploration

    Put this in the important category of your priority list. Batch learning about things that you enjoy so it feels like a mini-vacation. This could be something different for everyone, and you could even tie into an action plan you have for a long-term goal. Take the steps you wrote out, and work on the first one for an hour every day, or 15 minutes if that’s all the time you can spare and treat it like a real priority.

  5. Don’t fixate on the clock

    We all have different peaks and valleys for our productivity, and just because it’s a certain time or it’s been 30 minutes, doesn’t mean you need to stop working. I want you to take into account your personal energy rhythms without fixating on the actual time because we don’t want to waste our peak times on mindless work, and we don’t want to spend some of those slumps in our ultradian rhythm on the important things as well. Try to explain to those around you what times you work best, and then treasure those times for working on your big ideas and projects. Doing this means you’ll get more and better work done in the same amount time as working on it outside of a peak productivity time.

  6. Create solid habits and routines

    To gain momentum, you first have to make that step, and if you want to run, you have to start first by walking. Having some solid habits in the morning can give you the push you need. I start my own morning routine with 16 oz. glass of water because it’s a small win, giving me momentum to keep up my water intake and other good habits throughout the day.

  7. Do a daily download

    Set up your following day for success each evening. Investing less than 1% of your time tonight will help make you 10 times more effective tomorrow. You’ve heard me talk before about ending your day with a daily download, and you know that I believe so strongly in this that I have a notepad called the daily download dedicated to this task of reflecting, processing, and prioritizing for the next day. This one activity is what helps me close out my day. Use the daily download or your own version, meditate, write down your thoughts, journal, etc. Find a way to decompress at the end of the day and I know you’ll be able to start tomorrow feeling more prepared and relaxed.


What’s Next?

Not everything is a priority, and we really need to take a hard look at the items on your list each day and make a decision whether they are truly, truly important to you and whether they do push you forward towards your purpose, towards your goals, towards your dreams. A good way to create that space is through routines and habit.

When I say to focus on your priorities, I don’t simply mean lump more on to your already-overflowing plate. I mean for you to truly give attention to those priorities. Monotasking, in my opinion, is one of the best ways to really make your priorities feel like priorities.

I want to challenge you to make some choices. Choose to rethink what it means to be busy, and choose to live a life you’ll love. Make the choices that do allow you to achieve those goals and dreams that you really want.

Comment below how YOU will start spending YOUR day. What is a passion or goal of yours that you want to go after?

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton