When I look at successful women like Victoria Beckham and JK Rowling, there are so many mysteries about their lives that I want to know. How do they make sure they’re always on time? Do they use a team to schedule their lives or do they try to be as independent as possible? I know from experience that busy doesn’t always mean productive and that it can be incredibly difficult to keep yourself on track with all the goals you want to achieve if you don’t have the dedication and inner fire within yourself to get it done.
That’s why we’ve started our new weekly series, where we research how successful women plan their day and actually share their secrets for success. The results have been illuminating, inspiring, and incredibly motivating. They get such a lot done during their day and make no excuses.
But how do they actually schedule their lives?
How do they make sure they’re hitting their deadlines, whether it’s to submit writing or just to work out as much as they possibly can?
1. They schedule their work around their lives
Former first lady Michelle Obama had a rigorous schedule during her time at The White House, not only did she have tons of presidential duties, she also had to make sure that she had time for her own initiatives and her personal time. To make this possible, she would always fill in the calendar with her personal life before anything else.
“Starting every year, before I booked anything, agreed to any meetings or conferences, we’d sit down with my assistant and we looked at our lives first,” Michelle has said, “We put potlucks in there, we put date nights in there, I put my workouts, we put our vacations on the calendar first, we put sports things and summers. We planned that out first, and then what was left would be left for work.”
It’s important to flip your mindset about scheduling your year. You don’t have to start with things that are conventionally important, instead, you can put yourself first.
“We let work inundate everything. We have to start setting the priority of allowing people to put their lives before their work.” If you managed to get your hands on the Goals 2019 Diary, you should use this opportunity to start planning your day like Michelle Obama, put your vacations down, write down your date nights, dinners, evenings with your friends before you commit to any other work-related goals.
2. They don’t delegate the important stuff
Oprah laid out her perfect day, spending a lot of time meditating, in nature, and working out. She’s lucky that on a more chilled day she only needs to dedicate a few hours to work, but she still wants to be absolutely in control of everything she needs to do.
“I try to take care of any business in the early afternoon so the rest of the day is mine…Having grown up poor, I can never completely turn over all my money matters to anyone else. It’s important for me to know how much the electricity bill is, to know what’s coming in, what’s going out. I never want to be one of those people who delegates that task to someone else and then one day is surprised to find out how much money they do or don’t have. I go down the line of all the business stuff I need to take care of and usually get it done completely within two hours.” she explained to Harpers Bazaar.
The fantasy of letting someone else take control of all your to-dos is often 100% better than the reality, letting go of what you’re responsible for can get you in trouble and as Oprah says, it’s always better to stay in control.
3. They make time to learn and grow
Emma Watson is a major bookworm, she hides books around in public places, often talks about books and book club and has completed so many reading challenges it’s crazy. She reads feminist classics like Women Who Run With Wolves and The Vagina Monologues, but in order to schedule her day and live her best life, Emma spends a lot of time looking for self-improvement books.
“I am a sucker for anything that promises to change my life,” Watson says. You can’t expect to organize your entire life and be the best version of yourself if you don’t know where to start. If you don’t know what positive changes you should be making or the routines you could be following. Emma reads voraciously and is always looking for new perspectives and new things to try, it helps her continue to push herself to be the best she can possibly be. Make sure to plan some time for learning and developing, try new things and improve yourself. You never know which self-improvement book you’ll pick up next that will change your life, but it might be one of the ones on our list.
4. They strive for perfection
It’s no surprise that Beyonce strives for perfection, she didn’t get to where she is by giving mediocre performances and expecting second best from herself, but you might be surprised to know that she is so focused on achieving the best that she reportedly watches her performances back, making notes of any mistakes she spots or improvements she wants to make. She then sends an email to her team with the things she’s noticed.
You can’t learn unless you make mistakes, Beyonce knows that too, which is why she’ll often leap into something and make sure to reflect on it and check for mistakes. When you’re planning, make time to evaluate your performance and reflect on your day or week. It’s easy to do this with the Getting Stuff Done planner, you can simply create a list of improvements to make and things you thought went well.
5. They surround themselves with go-getters
Rihanna didn’t get to where she is by resting on her laurels. She felt like her label was taking advantage of her so she went out of the way to change that, she felt as though there want enough representation for people of color in the makeup industry so she launched Fenty beauty and released hundreds of shades. She’s constantly changing the game, and she attributes that to growing, knowing how to speak up and spending time with go-getters.
“Spend time with people who know how to use their days well. Just as iron sharpens iron, positive people will inspire you to be positive.” Rihanna once said. And wise as it sounds, it’s true. If you want to plan your perfect life, you need to surround yourself with people who will motivate you to embrace it and achieve it, rather than people who don’t understand your journey or why you’re working towards it.
6. They just go for it
J.K Rowling usually hates motivational lists, she says if she had a ten-step program for success she would have shared it by now, but the one piece of advice she can give is that you just have to start. She started writing Harry Potter the evening after the idea came into her head, but those first few pages were not good enough to be published at all. But she just did it, and that’s the secret to planning the perfect day. Just get it done, sit down with it, stop making excuses and do it. Whether it’s working out, eating healthy, writing a novel, or starting a business. Just do it!
J.K Rowling’s secret weapon is always a notebook and a pen, “Every time I enter a post office or a newsagents I experience an irrational urge to buy loads of pens and notebooks, even though I’ve got plenty at home. This has been going on since childhood. I just can’t stand the sight of them sitting there, unfulfilled.” She fills the notebooks up with everything from ideas to notes for novels and knows that writing it down is the best way to get her to stick to a plan.