How to Make a Daily Schedule for Yourself To Enhance Productivity

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Peter Shallard
CEO | Commit Action |

It’s Monday morning, you're sipping your coffee, ready to crush the week ahead. 

You have many big goals you want to accomplish, new habits to build, and exciting projects to launch.

The possibilities feel endless! 

But then Tuesday rolls around...and that optimistic Monday morning momentum is gone. 

Suddenly you’re playing catchup, falling behind on deadlines, and wondering where the heck the day went. 

Before you know it, it’s Friday and you’ve gotten nowhere near your most important objectives.

Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone.

Here at Commit Action, we’ve had over 100,000 coaching conversations with entrepreneurs and creatives from around the world.

And the number one frustration we hear is:

“I want to get the important stuff done consistently, but I never feel like I have enough time.”

It's a frustrating rollercoaster many of us ride each week - swinging from optimism to disappointment as our big goals slip away. 

But what if there was a simple - though not easy - solution to break this productivity-killing cycle? 

A rock-solid system to keep you locked in on priorities, even as busy weeks threaten to derail your progress?

If consistently accomplishing what matters sounds good to you, read on to learn how to make a daily schedule for yourself and enhance your productivity.

Why is Making a Daily Schedule Important?

Why is creating a daily schedule for yourself so critical for your peak productivity?

Without structure, it's easy to lose sight of priorities as days fill up with distractions. 

A schedule acts like a map and a compass, steering you toward the tasks that matter most. It provides a clear game plan to optimize how you spend your limited time and attention.

It comes down to 3 key reasons:

1. Creates Focus

A schedule provides focus by clarifying the most important tasks for you to accomplish each day. 

This prevents time from being frittered away on low-impact activities.

2. Drives Accountability 

When you calendar block time for key tasks, it generates accountability to actually follow through. 

You feel obligated to honor commitments on your schedule.

3. Reduces Decision Fatigue

Having designated time slots for different types of work minimizes mental effort to decide what to do next. 

Your calendar determines priorities for you. Like train tracks guiding a locomotive, a schedule steers your day smoothly.

In summary, a high-quality daily schedule lends you the structure, accountability, and focus to ensure consistent execution of your most important priorities day after day.

Without a schedule, you drift through days reactively and struggle to make progress on goals. A schedule is the foundation for translating big ambitions into reality through small daily wins.

Read also: Do you want to increase your productivity as a business owner? Check out these productivity hacks for entrepreneurs.

7 Factors to Consider When Creating Your Daily Schedule

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Creating an effective daily schedule is a skill. Do it haphazardly and you may end up feeling even more restricted and overwhelmed. 

That’s why we’re sharing our proven 3-step formula for designing an air-tight daily schedule that will unlock your productivity superpowers. 

There are a few key factors to consider as you craft your schedule.

  1. Make sure to designate 1-3 Committed Tasks (CTs) each day. CTs are the highest leverage use of your time focused on big goal opportunities.

  2. Block time for CTs first before anything else. Schedule them during your peak energy times to maximize focus. CTs align directly with your most important goals.

  3. Systematize routine tasks into designated blocks to minimize decision fatigue.

  4. Avoid too many short blocks in a row. 60-90 mins is ideal for deep work.  

  5. Leave at least 25% of the day flexible for the unexpected. Buffer time between blocks.

  6. Remember to schedule exercise, social, and family time. Don't let work take over.

  7. Review and adjust your schedule regularly as priorities shift. Your schedule should be fluid.

How to Make a Daily Routine for Yourself?

Let's expand on the concept of CTs, as they are the cornerstone of creating an effective routine for yourself.

Start each day by choosing the single most committed task (CT)  to accomplish. 

Come up with your daily CT before doing anything else. It should directly align with your big goals and move the needle on top priorities.

Once you've picked your daily CT, choose 2-3 CTs for the entire week. 

Weekly CTs provide direction and continuity in connecting each day.

Step 1: Choose Your Committed Tasks (CTs)

When selecting your most important CTs each day and week, look for work that meets these key criteria:

  1. Courageous: Pushes you outside your comfort zone and requires emotional labor to stretch your abilities.

  2. Important but not urgent: Focuses on innovation, creativity, and business growth overreacting to emergencies.

  3. Working on your business, not just in your business: One-time efforts that strategically improve your business rather than creating recurring jobs for yourself. 

  4. Embracing manageable risk for big reward potential: Experiment with smart bets to grow your business with big opportunities and limited or controlled downside.

  5. No existing accountability yet: The best ideas are so far beyond the status quo that no one is demanding or even expecting them from you. 

The highest leverage, most effective use of your time evolves as you grow. Seek the opportunities that scare yet excite you the most.

For example, if starting an agency business, high-leverage CTs may include writing bold new copy for your website, cold prospecting for new business, or creating content to get eyeballs on your brand.

Stay focused on your bigger vision while also being flexible. Continuously evaluate if your CTs meet the high-leverage criteria as priorities shift.

Read also: Do you often struggle with managing your time? Check out our guide on time management for entrepreneurs.

Step 2: Block Time for CTs in Your Calendar 

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Once you've chosen your 1-3 daily and weekly CTs, the next step is to block time for them in your calendar.

Schedule your CTs first before anything else. Block them during times of peak energy like mornings. 

Protect your CT blocks fiercely and make them non-negotiable. Treat them like appointments you cannot move or cancel. 

If other requests come up, consult your calendar and decline if there are any conflicts. 

Your CTs take top priority.

Studies show that scheduling your most important priorities makes you more likely to accomplish them compared to just having a list. 

So take the time to intentionally calendar your CTs.

When blocking out time for CTs in your schedule, we recommend starting with 60-90-minute chunks as your default. 

There are several reasons why this block length is ideal for deep-focused work:

  • It takes time just to fully engage your attention, so shorter blocks are less effective. Give yourself a runway.

  • Concentrated effort on complex tasks for more than 90 minutes leads to fatigue and diminishing returns (ToDoist).

  • CTs often require deep work like writing, strategizing, coding, etc. These benefit from consistent time to make progress (Asana). 

  • Ultra-short blocks risk not completing the task fully. You waste ramp-up effort and context switching.

Of course, adapt as needed. 

Some projects require longer blocks of 2-3 hours. Just don't make every block marathon length.

And take breaks between intensive CT blocks for recovery. Short walks or refreshments help recharge for the next one.

Step 3: Systematize the Rest of Your Schedule

With your Committed Tasks prioritized and scheduled, now systematize the rest of your day. 

This involves assigning standard time slots for routine but necessary activities to build structure. 

For example:

  • Block time for recurring meetings and appointments. 

  • Set regular times for focused work like email catch-up and admin.

  • Schedule exercise, commute, meal times, errands, etc.

Systematizing these recurring tasks frees up mental bandwidth. You won't waste energy deciding when to fit them in.

It also provides stability. 

Having designated times for different work and personal activities makes your days consistent.

This practice reduces decision fatigue, creates helpful habits, and enables greater focus within each block.

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How to Make Your Daily Schedule More Flexible?

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While the structure is key, you also want to build flexibility so your schedule is sustainable. Here are some tips:

  1. Leave at least 25% of the schedule open for the unexpected each day. Don't overbook yourself.

  2. Include 15-30 minute buffer blocks between scheduled items to account for transitions and overruns. 

  3. Have some general ‘Workflow’ blocks for reacting to fires or shifting priorities as needed.

  4. Review your schedule regularly and make adjustments. Your schedule should evolve with your needs.

  5. Limit schedule changes to preserve structure while still accommodating new commitments as they arise.

Example of a Daily Schedule

Here is an example daily schedule incorporating the best practices we’ve covered:

  • 6 AM - Wake up

  • 7 AM - Exercise

  • 8 AM - CT #1 (emails) 

  • 9:30 AM - CT #2 (project work)

  • 11 AM - Team Meeting

  • 12 PM - Lunch

  • 1 PM - CT #3 (planning)

  • 2:30 PM - Return calls

  • 4 PM - Errands

  • 5:30 PM - Family time

  • 8 PM - Free time

  • 10 PM - Bedtime

This schedule prioritizes 3 CTs during peak energy time in the morning. 

It also assigns set blocks for routine tasks like emails and errands and systematizes exercise, lunch, and family time. 

Finally, it leaves a solid portion of the evening open for flexibility.

Read also: It's not enough if you create a daily schedule. You need to learn to keep up with it. Here's how to stick to a routine in 5 steps.

7 Common Daily Schedule Mistakes to Avoid

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Creating an effective schedule takes practice and learning from mistakes. Here are some common missteps to watch out for:

  1. Not leaving room for the unexpected: You need to create space for buffer time in your schedule.

  2. Too many short blocks in a row: Long uninterrupted CT blocks are more productive than frequent task switching.

  3. Scheduling creative work late when energy is depleted: Make sure to tackle creative CTs early when you have peak energy.

  4. Forgetting to schedule personal items: Be sure to make time for relationships and fun outside of work.

  5. Not sticking to your set schedule: It's essential to follow through on the calendar commitments you make.

  6. Scheduling too optimistically: Avoid overstuffing your schedule and leave padding.

  7. Not reviewing and adjusting your schedule regularly: Continuously adapt your schedule as your needs evolve.

Take Control of Your Days with Commit Action

At the end of the day, you can’t manage time itself. The hours will pass no matter what you do.

But you can control where you place your focus during those fleeting hours through an intelligent schedule and expert coaching.

That's why we built Commit Action - to provide dedicated 1-on-1 accountability coaching for designing and implementing an optimized daily schedule.

Our coaches guide you through a weekly planning ritual to identify your committed tasks, strategically block time on your calendar, and systematize routines.

You'll get a customized schedule template and regular check-ins to transform your productivity. 

We'll coach you until you have a world-class daily schedule that doubles your results.

If you feel like you're constantly behind no matter how hard you work, sign up for Commit Action’s Coaching Program today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Why do I struggle to keep a routine?

Our daily motivation fluctuates, so relying on willpower alone makes consistency challenging - a thoughtful routine plus accountability is key to forming lasting habits.

2. What is a good daily routine?

An optimal daily routine aligns your schedule with both top priorities and natural energy level fluctuations throughout the day - it should maximize focus when you have it and include rest and recovery when you need it.

3. How long should a morning routine be?

Aim for 60-90 focused minutes in the morning to tackle critical tasks before mental fatigue sets in after 90 minutes - take breaks between intense sessions but make the most of peak energy.

4. What should I do first thing in the morning?

Tackle your #1 committed task of the day first thing when your willpower and focus are highest, before distractions like email creep in.

5. What is the perfect morning routine?

There's no one-size-fits-all perfect routine - the ideal approach customizes your morning around goals, peak productivity times, and energy levels, so you start each day intentionally.

6. How do I start my morning?

Identify your most critical task the night before so you wake up energized to dive straight into your top priority, ready to capitalize on precious morning productivity hours.

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