Master Your Focus: The Daily Planning Ritual That Ignites Productivity and Fuels Success

by Toye Oshunbiyi

In a world filled with distractions, there’s a secret to unlocking unparalleled productivity and achieving remarkable success. It lies in mastering your focus.

A study conducted by Padraig O’Sullivan and Roma Gaster from The Leadership Circle aimed to uncover the daily habits of exceptional leaders.

The study involved 25 exceptional leaders who were rated highly by their direct reports, peers, customers, and colleagues. The leaders were asked to keep a diary twice a day for 21 days, providing qualitative data on their daily habits.


1. Intentional daily planning: Exceptional leaders spent a significant portion of their morning reflections on planning their immediate and long-term workloads, including outcomes, decisions, and their emotional presence in meetings. They prepared for meetings by considering the optimal presence and scenario planning for important discussions.

2. Exercise: All the exceptional leaders engaged in regular exercise, considering it not only a health tool but also an emotional moderation technique. Exercise helped them in their leadership roles and managing stress.

3. Daily journaling: Most of the leaders had developed a habit of daily journaling over their lifetime. They used morning journals to intentionally plan for the day, focusing on questions such as what their organization needs from them, important projects, priorities, and how to ensure their time is well spent. These leaders had developed similar journaling questions and processes independently.

4. Evening reflections: In the evening, exceptional leaders reviewed the progress made during the day and its relation to the remaining work. They developed a night-time ritual of stepping back and looking at the work from a supervisory oversight perspective. This helped them stay focused on strategic areas and maintain a sense of calm and enjoyment in their work.

The study also highlighted concerns expressed by the leaders, such as the amount of work to be done and the capacity to handle it. Overall, the study provided valuable insights into the daily habits and practices of exceptional leaders, emphasizing intentional planning, exercise, reflection, and maintaining a strategic perspective.


If you’re looking to improve your ability to stay focused, I would recommend starting with intentional daily planning.

This is a foundational practice that can have a significant impact on your focus and productivity. By taking the time each morning to plan your day, you can clarify your priorities, set goals, and determine the outcomes you want to achieve.

Here are some steps to help you with intentional daily planning:

1. Set aside dedicated time: Allocate a specific time each morning to focus on planning your day. This can be before you start work or during a quiet moment before the day gets busy.

2. Review your long-term goals: Take a few minutes to remind yourself of your long-term objectives and the bigger picture. This will help you align your daily activities with your overall goals.

3. Identify priorities: Determine the most important tasks and responsibilities for the day. Consider what needs to be accomplished and what actions will have the most significant impact on your work or personal life.

4. Break down tasks: Break down larger tasks into smaller, actionable steps. This will make them more manageable and less overwhelming.

5. Allocate time blocks: Assign specific time blocks for different activities or tasks throughout the day. Be realistic about how much time you need for each task and allow for breaks and transitions.

6. Minimize distractions: Identify potential distractions and develop strategies to minimize or eliminate them. This could include turning off notifications, setting boundaries with colleagues or family members, or finding a quiet workspace.

7. Visualize success: Take a moment to visualize yourself successfully completing the tasks and achieving your goals for the day. This can help motivate and focus your mind on what needs to be done.


Remember, intentional daily planning is a habit that takes time to develop. Start with small steps and gradually build upon them. With practice, you’ll become more adept at planning your day effectively, staying focused, and accomplishing your objectives.

Try out this daily planning template today and see the difference it can make in your productivity and overall success!

Click here to download the free template.

Image of the One Page Leaders Focus Template

About the Author

Toye Oshunbiyi
Founder and CEO of Business Leaders Coach
Is a leadership and business coach helping to develop conscious business leaders in the SME space.

Share This