I always loved the above quote because not only is it easy to remember, but it also holds much truth to it. I know this because I remember vividly being full of ideas and visions that had me eagerly looking towards the future. The only problem was, I had no set plan to get me there. I figured "When I feel like doing a, b, c or d, then I'll start." The problem is, when we rely on no more than the right 'feeling' as motivation to start work, it almost never happens. So was the case with me- after a day at work or completing other tasks, I wouldn't even have the headspace to begin making solid plans for my future. I didn't 'feel' like it. I just 'felt' like relaxing, reading a book, browsing cyberspace, watching TV, going for a walk or pretty much anything that didn't rely on exerting myself mentally- even if that meant following my dreams.
Needless to say, I often found myself frustrated and disillusioned. Compared to where I actually was, where I wanted to be in life still felt like a vague, distant dream. Time only goes one way- forward. Time is the one currency we are all given in equal amounts. If we remember that we can't actually buy, sell or get a refund on time, then it makes sense to use what we are given wisely. How we use our time and how we are spending our time are virtually the same thing. If you spend your limited money on junk food, you will get junk results. If you spend your limited money on healthy food, you will get healthy results. The same is true for what we spend our limited time on!
If you have a weekly planner already, that is a great start. That's how my attitude towards spending time began to change. I started getting important, life-changing stuff done! Instead of thinking "How do I feel right now?" I'd think "If I do this now, how much better will I feel by the end of this week?" The next step is to take your weekly planner (if you don't have one, I encourage you to write one up or learn more about keeping one from somebody already in the habit). From your weekly planner, take a look at the most important 'To do's' for the week ahead. These are the things that will be most productive to your career/ personal life. Then break it down into daily, half hour segments. Have every 30 minutes listed, from when you wake to when your normal working day ends. Then note down all appointments, meetings, classes etc.- the things that are on a set day/ time. Then around these, list all your other weekly tasks. Try to have your day planned out at least a day in advance. Once you have each day planned out, see what you can fill the empty time slots with.
Once this is done, commit yourself to following your schedule- whether that means making yourself accountable to somebody else or not is your decision. Of course there will be times when plans change or instances where you can afford to be flexible, but as long as you consistently plan your week out and follow the path as set by your daily schedule, you will not just get more done, but you will feel a noticeable sense of personal achievement. You might just be surprised what you can achieve in only one week!
Let me know how you fare with keeping (and sticking to) a daily schedule- I'd love to hear your feedback and (hopefully) about your progress!