Many people have a hard time starting their day. They don’t know where to begin, or simply have trouble getting back into the rhythm of the workday. By pre-planning your day, you can avoid these unproductive morning hours. Don’t push all your work into hectic afternoons and evenings; make the whole of tomorrow productive by planning it today.
Plan and Review Tomorrow at the End of Today
By planning tomorrow today, you help keep your flow moving between each day instead of losing your momentum and thought processes in your fleeting hours of rest each night. It might take multiple hours to get back into the flow every morning without a preset plan, but making that plan each evening only takes a few minutes, thus saving you hours every day.
With your work, goals, and progress fresh in mind, take 10 to 20 minutes at the end of each day to plan for tomorrow. Carry over your momentum by listing everything you completed today, assigning incomplete items to tomorrow morning, and new items that should be started as the day progresses. This way you don’t have to think tomorrow morning. Instead, you can just read the list and start.
Leave an Easy Task Half Completed for Tomorrow
Half-completed tasks are a great way to carry your productivity forward to tomorrow. Chart Westcott, the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Ikarian Capital, LLC practices this often. “Because the initial planning and thinking have already been tackled, the tasks from yesterday are easy to jump into,” says Westcott. New tasks may bring up unanticipated roadblocks, ruining your momentum. Even if you can complete all your daily tasks on time, consider leaving the last few minutes of one task for tomorrow to draw you back in.
Keep Your Goals Top of Mind
By listing your tasks and goals the night before you can keep them in mind during your rest, with your mind working on problems subconsciously even while you deal with other daily routines. If you’re lucky, when you go back to a difficult task tomorrow you might find it’s suddenly not so bad, and even if it is, at least you’ve gotten back to work now instead of later.
Before jumping into the first task at the start of your day, take a minute to review your plan from the night before in full. Once again, this will give your subconscious time to play with problems before you get to them later in the day, and it will help you remember where you are going with the day, keeping you on schedule.
Be careful not to let your plan review become a form of mindless procrastination. Read the list once, and then get going on the first task. Unless you already know a major change to your day, trust that you knew what you were doing yesterday when you planned today’s tasks. Don’t think about your plan, just read it, follow it, and get down to a productive, efficient workday.