If it’s not scheduled it’s not real

This is one of Marie Forleo’s Productivity Tips ‘If it’s not scheduled it’s not real’. It took me a while to really understand what this meant, mainly because I consider myself to be a planned person – if it’s not in my diary, it’s not happening.

Today I clearly understand what it means and it’s helped me finish off something I’ve been working on for a while – a daily planner.

I created a daily planner because I’ve been wondering where the time goes, I have a list of things to get done and never enough time in the day. I’ve read books about productivity, listened to podcasts and even attended old school time management courses so where was I going wrong?

Here’s what I realised.

I wasn’t scheduling everything in my diary – what I mean is, I didn’t plan in travel time for meetings or appointments, I just knew what time I had to leave and get back. I didn’t plan in phone calls, I just knew that at some point that day I would make those calls. What this meant was I would look at my diary and think I only have one meeting today – when in reality by the time I had travelled to the meeting, had the meeting and travelled back, it could take six hours of my time! And that’s where the time was going, it just wasn’t scheduled in.

The daily planner helps me to be more productive and realistic about where I spend my time. Here’s how I use it:

  1. Every morning I fill in the planner for the day ahead. I don’t do it the night before as I can become pre-occupied with what needs to happen the next day and not sleep well.
  2. I make sure I include travel time, phone calls, etc. – so I can actually see how much time I have free.
  3. I write down the three must do things for that day (my lists are normally long but that doesn’t help me focus – it just makes me feel like I’ve failed and haven’t accomplished much) and I PLAN those into my day!
  4. I make sure I keep the planner visible on my desk and not buried under paperwork.
  5. Under the notes section – I write things I need to do if I have time or things that come up during the day that I may need to carry forward to the next day.
  6. I write something inspirational for me – it might be something like FOCUS! or a quote that makes me smile through the day.
  7. I love doodling, so I use the space at the bottom for just that!
  8. Lastly, the next morning I make sure I transfer the things over from the notes section that I need to do that day.

It’s a simple tool to use.

Feel free to download the daily planner and see if it helps you achieve more and remember ‘if it’s not scheduled it’s not real’.


Coach, Communicator & Collaborator
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