A planned-out day is an anti-anxiety pill.

During busy periods, we convince ourselves that there’s too much to do, that it won’t all get done, and that maybe we should abandon our current half-completed task and switch to another that’s even more important.

We may think we need to do eight things at once to keep up, but this is obviously impossible. The day’s tasks come to us single-file, like grains of sand through an hourglass, and it can’t be any other way. If we can quiet our minds enough to actually do the work in front of us instead of ruminating about the thousand other things on our plate, we’ll probably be fine. If we continually task-switch, we’re sunk.

This is the biggest benefit of daily and weekly planning: it lets us focus on the work at hand instead of everything we’re not doing. We know our other work is captured in a trusted system, so we can relax.

To paraphrase Cal Newport, the point of a plan is not to perfectly follow the plan. The point is simply to have a plan.