How I Learned To Take Control of My Day

by Marcy McKenna

It sounds so cliché, but it really is amazing how quickly the day flies by. Though technology is supposed to make our lives easier and save us time, somehow I find myself with less time than ever. And I do believe technology is to blame! It’s all those emails, texts, tweets and Facebook posts that end up taking up the bulk of my day. Though I’m at my desk most of the day, I find that when the day is over, I really haven’t achieved all that much. Sound familiar? Out of sheer necessity, I’ve created a formula that has changed everything and allowed me to finally take control of my day. I hope you find this formula as helpful as I do!

• Before going to bed each night make your “to do” list for the next day. Your list should ALWAYS contain three BOLD action items that will help you achieve your personal and/or professional goals. Without these bold items, your “to-do’s” can become a constant hamster wheel with no real progress to speak of.

• Set your alarm for one hour earlier than you usually wake up. You can do this…I promise. You’ll be amazed how muchyou get done in that one hour—this is when your house is likely to be the quietest. For me it’s 5am.

• Be sure to leave your alarm clock in your bathroom so that you HAVE to get out of bed to turn it off. The chance of you hitting that snooze button is all but eliminated. This is ESSENTIAL!

• Whatever you do, DO NOT check your email or texts when you first wake up. Those emails will take your time and attention and will get your day off course. By choosing to check emails first, you’re letting someone else control your day. Their needs are coming before yours. This causes you to begin your day by being reactive to someone else, rather than being proactive about your own goals. Remember those three bold actions on your “to do” list? Start your day by achieving at least one of them over your morning cup of coffee. This starts your day by focusing on what’s important to you. The sense of accomplishment sets the tone for your day.

• Before you even think about opening your “inbox”, open your calendar and schedule two important things:

    • A 60 minute meeting with yourself to achieve the remaining bold actions you laid out the night before.
    • Two to three 20 minute blocks of uninterrupted time to return emails. Do not read or return emails at any other time. It doesn’t matter when it is—could be when you’re waiting to pick your child up from school or when you first arrive at work. This is crucial to taking back control of your day! Stick with this schedule…you won’t believe how much more you accomplish in a day.

• Don’t even consider going to bed until you’ve made your “to do” list for the next day. Don’t forget your three bold action items. And don’t forget to set your alarm…in your bathroom!

You’re on your way to taking control of your day and achieving your goals in record time. Please share your journey with me. I’d love to know if you find this formula as successful as I have!

Update!: Marcy has a great follow-up posts here and here!

—————————————————————————————————— McKenna is the product innovator and energetic entrepreneur behind Simply Solved Innovations. Born into a family of inventors, I knew since childhood that inventing was my calling. Inspired by problems she encounters as a female, a business woman, a homemaker and a mother of three I began creating solutions that make life easier, better and a lot more fun. One such solution garnered the attention of Kelly Ripa, and her TLC television venture, Homemade Millionaire. So much so, that my invention, The Style and Go™ Hair Care Center ended up beating out thousands of others to become the winner on Homemade Millionaire’s premiere episode. A slate of other highly creative and innovative products are currently in development. The first of my products to hit the market is The Cambia™ Collection clutch purse, which debuted on HSN in November 2010. Already attracting much attention, the Cambia™ Collection, is an interchangeable clutch purse that allows women to effortlessly stay on the forefront of high fashion at a tiny fraction of the cost. Within just one week The Cambia Clutch was named a “Customer Pick” by HSN shoppers. The Style and Go™ is scheduled to launch on July 25, 2012. You can find Marcy at

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29 Replies to “How I Learned To Take Control of My Day”

  1. brunetc

    Thanks so much for the help you have been giving me.

  2. Marcy McKenna

    Thanks Everyone for your Fabulous comments! I hope my formula works for everyone! Marcy

  3. Homemade Millionaire's Marcy Mckenna - To Succeed or Not to Succeed…It’s All Up to You! | She Owns It

    […] got so much great feedback from my blog about “Taking Control of Your Day” that I thought I would expand upon it even […]

  4. Aimee's Simple Living for Busy People

    Thank you, Marcy, for showing me that I am not the only one who believes so wholeheartedly about making the plan for the next day before going to bed. 🙂 That is my #1 productivity rule, as well. And my alarm clock is always across the room/bathroom. It pays to know myself well enough, and then to bust myself when I try to make it “easy” on myself (which is a lose-lose proposition) — it keeps things fun!

  5. Dawn Papandrea-Khan

    Great post! I love the idea of getting up an hour early and not checking email first thing in the morning. Definitely going to need to try that. Thankyou so much for the inspiration!


  6. Rhonda Uretzky

    Best tip: whatever you do, dont check email first thing in the morning. Cant tell you how many times I am on my way to the bathroom and get seduced by the “I’ll just check one thing,” mindgame…only to find myself still sitting hours later with my teeth unbrushed. Thanks for the reminder!

  7. Jennifer

    These are all great tips Marcy, thanks! I agree with you, the day does fly by. Until I got organized (somewhat!) and started managing my day with a tight list, I often ended up feeling the day was somehow lost. Not getting sucked into emails and phone calls is huge ~ they always draw you way off track!

    1. admin

      I agree Jennifer! Great tips from Marcy. Can’t wait for her next post.

  8. Carl Mason-Liebenberg

    Love my “to do” list!! And, yes, it is always written before bed. Great tips! Thank you!

  9. Kim Garst

    Some great tips! Thanks for the share!

  10. denny hagel

    Love the detail you provide with your tips! I am taking your advice and will refrain from opening emails first thing! Thanks!

  11. Jennifer Bennett

    No doubt that making my “to do” list the night before has helped make all the difference. Thanks for the great tips!

  12. Mandy Edwards

    I’m not sure how I feel about putting my alarm clock in the bathroom! LOL. That is a good idea though!

  13. Marcy McKenna

    Thanks for all the AMAZING comments. Would love your feedback after you try these simple and easy tips. Please let me know if they helped you to get organized and if anyone got more sleep last night!!! Please keep me posted! Marcy

  14. Phyllis Nichols

    Love the great easy to do tips. I find making lists helpful – I have sometimes done a must-do list and like your idea to get in the habit of doing it the night before.

    1. Marcy

      Thanks Phyllis! To your point about “to do” lists, I am obsessed with the iPhone “Reminders” App. It is sooo helpful as I can enter “to do’s” as they pop into my head throughout the day (or night!).

  15. Lorii Abela

    Truly awesome tips!.. And indeed I agree with you on opening emails first when you wake up. It eats all of your time. But I started changing that now. Hopefully, others can do it too…

    1. Marcy

      Thanks for your feedback Lorii! Be sure to check back in to let us know how it works for you!

  16. Anita

    Great post and even better tips! I will definitely try this, I’m infamous for following up on e-mails, Twitter, etc. right before bed (like right now) which gets my mind going and ends up leaving me with sleepless nights which then causes me to wake up late and start my day off on the wrong foot! It’s an endless cycle, making my to do list right now…item #1 turn off computer and go to bed oh, and put phone in bathroom. Thanks!

    1. Marcy

      Thanks for your comments Anita! It was that very cycle you described that led me to create this formula for taking control of my day. I hope you find it as helpful as I have. Be sure to keep me posted!

  17. Norma Doiron @Where Aspiring / Budding Business Owners Start, Grow or Strengthen Their Business Online

    Those are AWESOME tips! Woohoo!! I’ve been looking for some of these for awhile to get better organized. THANKS!!!! 🙂

    1. Marcy

      So glad the tips were helpful Norma!

  18. Yeremi Akpan

    I have learnt to eat my biggest frogs early in the day, and deal with the tinnier ones thereafter.
    That way I don’t end up micro -managing my way to motion without movement.

    1. Marcy

      I couldn’t agree with that philsophy more Yeremi! It’s funny how those little tasks have a way of getting you off on a tangent that can take up your whole day.

  19. Alexandra McAllister

    Great tips! I used to open my emails even before breakfast. I have since changed that. I am the most important and treat myself that way. It took a while to learn that! Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Marcy

      Love your attitude Alexandra…no doubt that mindset has served you well!

  20. Angie

    You are so right about opening your emails first thing: I always do that, and often can lose an hour or more just reading them, answering them, and following links. I’ll try to resist from now on! 😉

  21. Olga Hermans

    Great points, I am so guilty of opening up my emailaccount first thing whn I go online….thanks for the wakeup!!

    1. Marcy McKenna

      Hi Olga, Did you try it today? Love your feedback if it helped! Marcy

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