The Daily Plan

Use the Daily Plan to reduce stress

This is an NLP-tweaked version of the well-known ‘to-do’ list. Although not a pure NLP method it is very valuable and is a technique that I have been including in courses for over 25 years as a means of managing thinking and emotions – and preventing too much self-talk or emotional over-whelm.

Get things on paper

The Daily Plan is a practical technique for reducing mental stress and pressure. It provides you with a means of getting your thoughts in order, especially at the end of the working day so that work-related ‘to-do’ thoughts don’t interfere with sleep or produce insomnia.

Self Talk Thinking

With the Daily Plan you put things-to-be-attended-to on paper, rather than trying to mentally keep track of them.

This is especially valuable if you do a lot of your thinking through self talk or, as we turn it in NLP Auditory Digital Thinking. Most people who think in this way tend to have an incessant self talk process of going over and over again all of the endless list of things to be done…

The Daily Plan also helps you manage both your time and your thinking by enabling you to prioritise your activities, think more clearly about them and, once again, reduce unnecessary self-talk. And by planning the day ahead you have a greater sense of order and a better chance of achieving more.

Less reactive thinking and acting

While the method certainly has its uses, thinking through self talk is not a very efficient a way of keeping track of lots of data. so if you have a very busy lifestyle it’s better to get the things-to-be-done listed or mapped out on paper otherwise you will need to keep going through the list all day long in order to be sure you don’t forget things or get caught on the hop!

Using the Daily Plan will enable you to be more proactive and feel more in charge of events rather than being at the mercy of whatever occurs.

Yes, it is true that things will occur that have not been anticipated in your Plan. This is especially likely in the first couple of weeks of using this method. But with practice you will be able to anticipate and include more of the things that are likely to crop up. And you will become more skilled at allowing sufficient time for the unexpected.

With the Daily Plan you invest 5-10 minutes each evening so that you can list everything that will need your attention the following day. it’s not a huge investment of time and you will be guaranteed an an excellent return on it in terms of both efficiency and clarity of thinking

Benefits of using the Daily Plan

  • You don’t have to keep your mind `on the go’ all day long – continuously going over things in your mind, reminding yourself about things, or worrying whether you can fit everything in.
  • You avoid creating or adding to a sense of on-going urgency
  • You will find it easier to mentally relax, switch off, and enjoy your (scheduled and one the Plan) recreation time during the day
  • You are able to utilise your unconscious mind – to mentally rehearse and ready you for what is ahead.
  • You are better able to ensure that thoughts about different topics do not contaminate one another
  • You are better able to switch off in the evenings and forget about the next day.
  • You make it less likely that, at night, you spend time lying awake trying to decide what and when and how to do things the following day
  • Your Daily Plan provides you with an internal image of what you will do next day and when you will do it – this removes the need to do so through self talk
  • You have a sense of order in your day and are more likely to go through your tasks more easily and systematically

How to use the Daily Plan

  1. Do it fairly early each evening – just before you leave work or after your evening meal are excellent times.
  2. Quickly list everything you can think of that needs attention next day.
  3. Write down the approximate time you think each task will take. And remember to allow time for relaxation, recreation, washing, meals, travelling, etc.
  4. Give task each a star rating for importance.
  5. Remove those tasks for which you do not have enough time and put them on the list for the day after tomorrow. (And remember to inform anyone who may be affected by this alteration in plans. Put this on the plan too!)
  6. Finally list what you will do, when you will do it and how long it will take on a final draft. In doing keep about 20% of your day unplanned – this is your comfort margin to allow for Murphy’s Law and for the things you have forgotten to include on the Plan.
  7. Once it has been planned put tomorrow out of your mind. When apprehensive or `planning’ thoughts occur simply think about your Daily Plan and say to yourself “It’s on the Plan – it’s taken care of!”
  8. And if you think of something that is not on the plan simply add it to the list and adjust the time element accordingly.

Do you do a lot of your thinking in visual imagery?

People who do a lot of they are thinking through images, Visual Specialising as we call this in NLP, are likely to find that creating a Mind Map will work better for them. both methods provide a visual list – but the mind map method is more appealing to Visual Specialists.


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