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What is the best way to order and organise your daily activities for the perfect, productive day? Find out in this article how to make a daily schedule for yourself to study more for longer.

If you’ve ever attempted to create a daily schedule for yourself, you might have wondered:

“Where do I start?”

Of course, you could simply start shoving study and other work into an empty time table template. Although, this merely achieves a disorderly day of randomly sequenced activities.

To illustrate, how much thought did you put into it? If there’s no strategy for making your daily plans, it’s highly doubtful that it’s effective and productive.

Scheduling twelve hours of consecutive work is undeniably ridiculous. Equally, picking the wrong balance as a student—too much studying what you already know, for instance—is detrimental.

Additionally, blindly blending activities together without a strategy may mean that you won’t stick to your daily schedule.

When sustainability is key, you can’t afford twelves hours of consecutive, focused studying every day.

In this article, I will reveal my strategy for how to make a daily schedule for yourself that you can actually stick to. Let’s begin with the morning!

Create a structure for yourself: How to Organise Your Time at Home (with Compartmentalisation)

A sunrise starts a morning routine, which you should consider when you make a daily schedule for yourself.

Morning routine

Arguably, the morning routine is the most important routine of the day; an effective routine sets you up for the challenges in the day ahead as well as giving a sense of clarity.

So, when making a daily schedule for yourself, do not miss this part out!

Depending on the day, you should make your morning routine neither too long or too short. Moreover, it is incredibly important that you enforce a consistent—ideally early—wake-up time and bedtime.

As a result, you would be able to time your morning activities to the clock. Besides, this gives you an indicator as to whether you’re on track!

Next, when it comes down to what exactly to schedule in the daily morning plan, here are some essentials:

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Affirmations as well as visualisation
  • Exercise

In addition to this, I highly recommend you weave the following in as well:

  • Reading
  • Writing in a journal
  • Simple stretches (this helps prevent your muscles stiffening after abnormally intense exercise)

All of these have their own unique benefits, which I won’t go into too much depth here.

Although, for more guidance for creating the perfect morning routine, how about you check out this book?

Cut Up Your Work into Discrete Sessions

Second on my list is a sustainability strategy for prolonged productivity: never work twelve hours straight again (if you could have even summoned the willpower to do that)!

Not only that, but this technique reduces the effort involved when you make a daily schedule for yourself; it’s far more straightforward than dealing with raw time.

It involves assigning your day a specific number of discrete sessions, so you can then fill each of them with a specific task.

Also, working most effectively for me, this is where I use the Pomodoro technique to schedule my distraction-free, concentrated work. To demonstrate, I will spend 25 minutes doing focused work, then have a five-minute break or a fifteen-minute break every fourth Pomodoro. (1 Pomodoro = 25 minutes of concentrated work.)

Since studies have shown attention to deteriorate after around the 25-minute mark, a short break proves to be mightily helpful in recovering your mental energy. Same goes for the longer fifteen-minute break, too.

Also, be aware that the 25/5 ratio is heavily approximate; you can never have it perfect, unfortunately. Otherwise, you’d pretty much resemble a soulless, ice-cold robot.

For example, sixteen Pomodori do not entail an eight-hour workday. On the contrary, an accumulation of inefficiencies alongside unforeseen events make this more like twelve hours.

So, sixteen Pomodori per day is a no-go.

25-minute Pomodoro (tomato) timer is a common time-boxing technique for getting focused work done productively
“Pomodoro” is Italian for “tomato.”

With that said, you will need to determine your daily capability through practice. How many Pomodori can you do in a reasonable working day? After school?

Subsequently, you can make yourself a daily schedule with a daily target Pomodoro target! And targets are great.

Tips to stick to a schedule: How to Stop Getting Carried Away in a Task and Delay It

Schedule the Hardest (and Most Important) Work First

What order should you schedule your tasks in?

Needless to say, your day should be thought of as a huge stack of tasks, with the most important ones at the top. Then, near the end of the stack, there is a bit of space which acts as a buffer.

Consequently, your entire day consists of a gradient from the toughest work to the easier, more laid-back activities.

(This is why your morning routine is so important.)

The reason I prioritise the more difficult and important tasks is twofold:

Firstly, you must expect the best but prepare for the worst.         If I told you that you would have a “productivity crash” during the day where henceforth you lack the will to live, where would you schedule your work?

Assuming a logical attitude, you would probably put all of the hard, important work prior to the crash. Therefore, your mental exhaustion doesn’t matter as much, since the most difficult, important stuff is already done!

Secondly, your willpower comes in a finite bucket.           Tell me you’ve never experienced resistance when going to study, and I would hope you’re lying. Doing hard stuff takes some serious willpower!

So, make your daily schedule with this in mind.

In order to do this, read up on willpower and subsequently realise that it acts like a muscle—can be trained and depleted. As you progress throughout the day, an accumulation of work (as well as decisions) deplete your willpower bucket.

Accordingly, it only makes sense to put the challenges right where you have the most willpower: immediately after waking up from your restful sleep.

At the end of the day, you’ll undoubtedly be exhausted, though, that’s fine—you’ve only got the easy stuff to do.

Respect Your Circadian Rhythm

Speaking of sleep, ensure that the daily schedule you make for yourself aligns with your circadian rhythm. Why is it important? Because it sets the regular pattern of alertness throughout your day.

I’ve sourced the following data from the amazing book, Night School by Richard Wiseman:

  • Up to 6 AM, you feel rather sleepy
  • Afterwards, you steadily begin to gain more and more alertness
  • This caps out at around 10–11 AM, where you rapidly become less alert thereafter
  • Then, at 3 PM, you reach an all-day low for about an hour
  • 4 PM is when you quickly pick energy back up
  • Afterwards, your alertness steadily increases up to 8 PM
  • Finally, decreasing attention levels is your body’s way of encouraging sleepy time

This represents a standard circadian rhythm, and it has one significant feature worth pointing out:

The afternoon—midday to 3 PM—is when the significant dip in alertness occurs. As a consequence, it is less likely that you will be able to perform as well in your work and studies.

Given this, use this time slot as an opportunity to engage in less mentally-intense activities.

To exemplify, you could schedule an hour or two of exercise or another out-of-the-house experience for yourself. The afternoon is my preferred time to go for a walk and whatnot.

Division Between Work and Play

Relax the right way: Want to Take Control of Your Time? Stop Being Impulsive Now!

A clear division between work and play is something to include in your daily schedule

I’ve already alluded this, nonetheless, I will say it here: dictate some daily working hours to yourself; above all, give yourself an end to your work.

In other words, don’t spend all day working, studying, and destroying your mental resources. Without something to balance the nature of work—time to truly relax and change your scenery.

Monotony is poison.

So, when you make a daily schedule for yourself, concretely define the end of your working day. To demonstrate, I have delegated 5:30 PM for that job, albeit the actual time can vary due to the nature of Pomodori.

At this point, it is critical that you have some form of ritual to help you distinguish between work and play. This will also be helped by your dedicated “relax” time:

Allocate Time for Relaxing and Thinking

After having “shutdown” from work for the day, let’s move onto the less intense activities in the daily plan.

Your relaxing time spans from the end of the workday up to the bedtime routine. It includes dinner, too.

No matter what you do during this time, do not engage in any work-related activities. I’ve made that mistake before, and you’ll know when you make it as well. No Pomodoro technique required!

It is best to do your work in a concentrated environment, which is more efficient. Otherwise, it is a waste of time.

Trust me, your time is best spent doing low-intensity work at the end of the day, counter-intuitively. After all, it is not exclusively the hard work that needs to get done, what about:

  • Cleaning (hence creating the optimal workspace)
  • Learning (reading, researching topics of interest)
  • Other non-urgent to-dos

However, impulsive activities such as social media are highly discouraged.

Also, this is where I cash in on my “content prescription”, which you can learn more about here.

Schedule your life proactively: How to Stop Wasting Time Online: My Proven 5 Step Strategy

Blood moon in the night. Make your daily routine with a bedtime routine.

Bedtime routine

Finally, at the end of the day, establish a routine at a set time to prepare you for going to bed. This should, in theory, set you down a concrete path with as little variation as possible, because you’re doing the same thing each day.

For an effective routine, you might want to consider time for:

Just like the morning routine, assign each activity a target start and end time, so you know when you’re on track. Perhaps this is less convenient for smaller tasks, so at least define the order.

Also, remember to allocate the hour before bedtime for staying away from blue light, technology, and other mental stimuli.

Prepare for a good sleep: How to Sleep Easily for More Happiness and Better Focus

Review, Adjust and Adapt

Of course, there is no right answer when it comes down to making a daily routine for you and your activities.

Accordingly, it is imperative that you reflect on what works well as well as what doesn’t work as well. This hence means you will be able to adapt your daily scheduling technique for maximum productivity.

After all, a large part of time management is being selective about what works best for you individually.

One way you can do this is through a daily review session, discussed further here.

Don’t make fake progress: How to Save Your Time: The Most Powerful Planning Routine

Conclusion

In conclusion, we’ve explored how you make a daily schedule for yourself, for productivity. A daily schedule as set out in this article will help you avoid impulsiveness whilst staying on track.

As a bonus tip, changing your environment keeps you productive and in the mood.

There are seven things to remember when making a daily schedule:

  1. Leverage a morning routine
  2. Use the Pomodoro Technique
  3. Put the more difficult and important work
  4. Listen to your circadian rhythm
  5. Distinguish between working hours and relaxing time
  6. Review, adjust and adapt
  7. Ensure sufficient physical activity

Book Recommendation of the Week

Do you want to perfect your daily morning routine? Then snap up a few tips and tricks from this good book:

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod gives advice to make the perfect daily morning routine.

The Miracle Morning: The 6 Habits That Will Transform Your Life Before 8 AM

In addition, answer this in the comments:

Enough of me talking about daily plans. What does your daily schedule look like?

* * *

Questions? Thoughts? Suggestions? Please leave your ideas in the comments below!

Thank you for learning at Cryptic Butter!

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How to Make a Daily Schedule for Yourself (for the Most Productivity)
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How to Make a Daily Schedule for Yourself (for the Most Productivity)
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What is the best way to order and organise your daily activities for the perfect, productive day? Find out in this article how to make a daily schedule for yourself to study more for longer.
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Cryptic Butter
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Posted by Luis Thiam-Nye

If you want to learn how to use technology to increase your productivity, you should visit Cryptic Butter! I also have a GitHub project.

2 comments

Great advice! I sometimes find it difficult to get back on to a Pomodoro after having a 5-minute break. Whereas, I can work constantly for longer than 25 minutes without distractions (but not for extended periods of time).

Problem is, the Pomodoro technique is such a useful technique to avoid burnout, but, I sometimes get distracted during the 5-minute break.

Luis Thiam-Nye

Interesting. Momentum does indeed work in both directions — both for and against you. I shall write about this in the future.

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