How to Design a Great Day: 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Each Night

March 10, 2021 Updated: March 10, 2021

Do you wonder where you spent your hours at the end of each day? Do you wish you focused more on your priorities or had just a bit more fun?

You can—by designing the day you want to have tomorrow. I’m not suggesting you kid yourself into believing you’re in complete control of what may happen in your day, but even if everything goes only 50 percent according to your plan, you’ll be 50 percent better off.

It’s worth scratching down a few ideas the night before. Here are seven questions to ask yourself each night before you hit the hay.

What Was Great About Today?

Look back at the day that you’re just wrapping up and think of your favorite parts. Perhaps it was that leisurely cup of coffee you enjoyed this morning, or that surprise phone call from a friend after lunch, or the time you spent outdoors, or getting to check off that nagging to-do item on your list. Whatever they were, look back on these with gratitude.

What Could Have Been Better About Today?

Was it all rainbows and unicorns, or would you have preferred to tweak a few parts? Whether you lost your temper, you missed a deadline, or spent too much time scrolling on your social media accounts, ask yourself what lessons you might learn from them.

What Will Tomorrow Be Like?

Aiming at something positive will set you off in the right direction. Do you need to block out distractions and make progress on a project? Or, on the lighter side, would you like to do something fun with your family or get more rest?

What Will You Wear?

OK, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Now that you have a vision of how tomorrow will look, ideally, working out some of the details in advance will get you started feeling on top of things. Pick out your outfit for tomorrow and set it out—including shoes and accessories. That’s one less decision on tomorrow’s plate.

What Will You Eat?

Speaking of plates, what will you be eating tomorrow? Are you cooking at home, ordering in, or eating out? Are there nutritional goals you’re trying to achieve? Think through breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Throw a protein bar in your bag to stave off hunger while you’re on the go. Program your coffee maker to ensure your coffee’s ready when you are. Prep some ingredients if you won’t have a lot of time to cook tomorrow.

What Must Be Done?

Make a list of any non-negotiable activities that must be done no matter what. Jot down when you’ll tackle them, and audit your list; if it’s too long and can’t be done, renegotiate or reschedule some of these items.

What Would Make the Day Great?

What else would you enjoy in your day? Meet a friend for coffee, or celebrate a productive day of checking boxes with a movie and your favorite snack. If you have a favorite hobby, set some time aside for it. Include these things as you design your day.

When you’re done, prepare your home, meals, and clothes for the day ahead—and hit the hay. At the end of the day tomorrow, ask yourself these questions again. Rinse and repeat. Imagine the kind of days you’ll be having if you do this for a week, a month, or even a year.

Follow Barbara on Twitter: @barbaradanza