I plan my day the night before.
I open up my Google Calendar and I insert the tasks I want to do 1-hour chunks, depending on the nature of each task. I would start from the time I wake up until the time I sleep.
Below is an example of my day plan:
4:30 – 5:30am: Pray + Quran + read + exercise
5:30 – 6:30am: Work*
6:30 – 7:30am: Pray + get ready
7:30 – 9:00am: Drop off son and wife + breakfast
9:00 – 10:00am: Work
10:00 – 10:15am: Break
10:15 – 11:15am: Work
11:15 – 11:30am: Break
11:30am – 1:00pm: Work
1:00 – 2:00pm: Pray + lunch
2:00 – 4:00pm: Work
4:00 – 5:00pm: Alone time + pray
5:00 – 6:00pm: Pick up wife and son
6:00 – 11:00pm: Family time
*My work consists of prioritized tasks related to motivational speaking, Youtube vlogging, writing, and social media postings. House chores are also included in the term “work”.
Upon a glance, one might think that I have my life in order and everything falls into place. But life rarely follows your plan minute-by-minute. The chances of my day following the schedule I have written the night before is about 5-10%.
Most of the time, unexpected things happen. Sometimes my wife calls me because she left something at home and I have to bring it to her. Sometimes my son falls sick and I have to take him home. Sometimes my parents would come to visit.
Sometimes I am just not in the mood.
Having said that, it doesn’t mean that I don’t get things done. It simply means the day doesn’t progress exactly like how I wanted it. Instead, it changes. A lot. There are many things that could shift you away from the plan that you have set at the beginning of the day.
Having experienced this for some time, one might wonder why I still plan my day the night before.
Well, I want to tell you two 2 things that keep me going:
1. Life doesn’t owe you anything
If I start my day thinking that life must follow my plan, then I am delusional. Life doesn’t owe me anything. I am not the ultimate boss of my life. God is. So, I am in no position to command the day to follow my desires. Accepting that fact and remembering my place keep me humble and in check.
God asks me to plan for the rain. He didn’t ask me to control the weather.
2. If you can’t do everything, don’t abandon everything
Yes, I have many aspirations and dreams. Yes, I want to achieve all of them if I could. But I have to learn the difference between reality and fantasy. In reality, I can’t do everything and I can’t achieve everything. But that doesn’t mean that I should abandon everything and give up.
If you ask me, “What’s the point?”, then the point is this: don’t give up.
Cherish the small successes that you have accomplished in a day. If in 10 tries, you only succeed in 4 of them, then celebrate the 4 successes! Pat yourself on the back for putting the effort and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Don’t cry over the 6 failures. Learn from them and move on.
Each time I plan my day the night before, I have hope that I will complete them all. But at the same time, I save some room for the unexpected. I don’t dwell on my failures. Instead, I move on to the next task on my to-do list.
The clock is ticking and time waits for no one.
So if today I couldn’t achieve what I planned to achieve the night before, that’s okay. I will try again tomorrow. If I fail to achieve again, then I will try again. If the summary of my life is just trying and trying, I will be happy with that.
I have accepted the fact that life doesn’t always follow my plan. Instead, I should follow its plan.
Life doesn’t adapt to you. You adapt to life.