Planning ahead and staying present may seem like counterintuitive endeavors. But we’d argue that planning ahead is the best tool in your presence toolbox!

At Day Designer, we believe that planning with intention is what helps you be present in your daily life. When you know not just what you’re going to do every day, but also why you’re doing it — when you can ladder your daily activities and to-dos up to a greater vision for your life — it’s so much easier to remain present for your family and friends, for your work, and especially for yourself in every moment of your day.

Here’s a few more ways that planning ahead can help you incorporate more presence into your daily life:

Clear Your Mind

Most of us don’t realize how distracted we are by our thoughts. Planning ahead allows you to take all of those thoughts and tasks and to-dos swirling around in your head, and gives you a place to put them.

If you haven’t yet put pen to paper and given those thoughts a place to go — whether by creating a to-do list or journaling or simply dumping everything into your brain out onto the paper — they will keep you from being fully present in whatever you’re doing.

Clear your mind and remove those distractions by getting everything out of your head and down onto paper, and then create a plan to tackle each of them. You don’t have to accomplish everything today, this week, or even this year! But by knowing that you have a plan to take care of everything that was up in your head, you allow your mind to relax; to know that everything will be taken care of.

When you feel comfortable and confident knowing that you’ve got a plan to get everything done, you can clear your mind of all of those pesky reminders and focus on being present in the moment.

Tackle Your To-Dos Efficiently

Have you ever noticed that when you feel overwhelmed by what you have to get done, very little actually gets done? It’s understandable to be overwhelmed when you’re busy, when you’re managing multiple schedules, when you’re trying to find the perfect balance between work and life and relationships and more. But that’s why planning ahead is so important!

By creating a plan — by listing out your to-dos and deciding when each will get done — everything will seem less overwhelming. You’ll see that not everything needs to get done right now . . . and perhaps not everything needs to be done by you!

When you plan ahead, you see a realistic version of your schedule and your life. You see exactly what needs to get done today, tomorrow, and the day after that to manage everything that is going on in your life.

That doesn’t mean that some seasons of life aren’t busier than others and that some daily to-do lists might seem inordinately long. But if you’re clear on what you need to get done, you can get it done a lot more quickly and easily. Planning ahead helps you calm that feeling of overwhelm and encourages efficiency — freeing up time for you to be present for family and friends.

Schedule Space for It

When you plan ahead, you can actually plan for time to be present too; to forego all of your other responsibilities and routines and simply sit down with a good book or lay out on the grass under the sun or cuddle with your kids.

We talked about the importance of presence at the beginning of this month; about how it slows you down and allows you to really see the life that you’re living and ensure it aligns with the life you’ve designed.

It’s just as important to plan to be present as it is to plan for every other important event and activity in your life. Create space in your calendar and write it down in your Day Designer. Make your own peace of mind a priority too.

How will you plan ahead to stay present this week? Share your favorite insight with us in the comments below!