If, every morning when you woke up, you were given £86,400.00 to spend in the day with the one condition that you cannot keep any of it, and any remaining balance will be removed before another £86,400.00 was given to you to spend the next day, what would you do with it???I am sure you would do your very best to make damn sure that you spent as much of it as possible wouldn’t you?

But how much time do you waste each day? You see, you wake up each morning with 86,400 seconds to spend each day, no role-over, no refund, no ability to accumulate. How many of us plan our day to make sure we spend as much of that as possible without wasting it (even when we are asleep we need to make sure we get the best possible sleep). How many of us design our day to be how we want it to be, to spend that 86,400 wisely?

Here are just a few tips to help you get started Designing your Day…


Like everything in NLP, we start with state. For 2 reasons:

1) State dictates behaviour: The “better” (or maybe the more appropriate) your state the better you will act, you will make better decisions, interact and communicate more meaningfully and focus more on what you want.

2) Really, if you think about it, state is all there is. The things we choose to do are things we decide (consciously or unconsciously) will either move us away from a bad state, or move us towards a good state. Often the things we choose are wrong, but that is something we can only learn from experience and tuning in more fully.
Before you do anything else, decide what state you want or need to be in.


One of my favourite ways to start the day the right way and get in a good state from the get go, is to a little bit of a “Gratitude List”.

Those of you that are familiar with the Law of Attraction or have seen “The Secret” will know about these I am sure. They maintain that to “manifest” what you want, you need to be accepting of what you have.

Even if you don’t like the idea of the LOA or the Secret and find a bit “New Age” or just downright nonsense, and are put of the idea of doing a “Gratitude List” because of it, then know that the actor Bradley Cooper does one every morning. And if it is good enough for him, it is good enough for me.

All you need to do for a “Gratitude List” is think of a list of things you a grateful for right now. Keep it simple, to help, ask yourself these 2 questions: What would I really miss if it was taken away, not sort of be inconvenienced by, but really miss? And, what, if I was handed my dream life right now, wouldn’t I change?

Give it a go for a couple of days and see how that changes your state.

There is Only Now

I have been interested in meditation and Buddhism and the concept of “present moment awareness” for nearly 20 years. I knew, on an intellectual level that there is only now, the past has happened and the future may never be, but it wasn’t on the meditation cushion that I suddenly grasped this concept emotionally, intellectually and fully, but driving the car one day.

It was one of those lovely early spring days, the sun was low and bright and I could feel the heat through the window, the daffodils were out and the cherry blossom on the trees. I was listening to a song on the radio (I can’t recall which one) and eating a cheese roll. Then idea suddenly struck me that if I died in that very instant it wouldn’t be so bad, I was feeling really good. That may sound a bit morbid I know, but bear with me. It struck me that everything that happened in the past was irrelevant, it was just a memory, a story I tell myself from time to time and any plans I have for the future are simply to continue to feel this good. It is all going to come to an end at some point and if I felt this good when it does at least I will go out on a high.

Since then I have resolved to “feel as good as I can in the present moment”. This is not an excuse for hedonism or shirking responsibilities, in fact totally the opposite; even though the future is not guaranteed it is probable, so you have to take into account how you will feel after this moment. With time, I have found I am less likely to indulge in excess with anything. Spontaneity, it turns out, requires adequate preparation. To feel as good as you can you have to plan ahead.

Most Important Tasks First

On a practical level of organising your time more effectively, one of the most ubiquitous lessons for GTD (Getting Things Done by David Allen) is that you do the most important tasks (MIT’s) first, before getting bogged down in more mundane and time consuming tasks of lesser (or worse, no) importance. Of course, what “important” is depends purely on your own interpretation of the word and, I find, changes on a regular basis. Never be afraid to junk something you thought was important once you start it because you find it just isn’t any more (or at that current moment). The more you focus on getting the MIT’s done the more you will find that the lesser tasks, the “make work” and the things you used to think were of some sort of importance will drop by the wayside. You will be doing less, but getting more done.

The problem with much self help or self improvement is it’s focus on goal setting. The problem with that approach is you spend your entire life future facing. And life doesn’t happen in the future, it happens in the now.  By focusing on designing your day, your still getting things done, but training yourself to focus on the here and now.

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