If you want to maximize your effectiveness and the amount you get done each day, organize tomorrow, today. The second that you open your eyes you can already be clear and certain about what you have to do that day.
It’s much more effective than trying to plan your day on the fly!
In the evening, you’re much more objective about the next day than you are when you’re in the midst of it. It’s easy to plan a trip to the gym the day before. It’s not as easy to do so on the same day when it’s raining, and you’re just not in the mood.
The best time to plan tomorrow is today!
Follow this process:
- What do you want to accomplish? Depending on your job, health, family, hobbies, and life in general, what you want to accomplish will vary. Make a list of all the things you want to accomplish tomorrow. Include tasks that help you to reach your goals. Your list might have activities like this:
- Make a nutritious lunch for kids.
- Be at the office by 7:45.
- Give a great presentation at work at 2:00pm.
- Eat a healthy lunch.
- Work out for 30 minutes.
- Practice piano for 30 minutes.
- Speak with an employee about frequent absences.
- Call my financial planner to schedule a meeting about my portfolio.
2. What are the best ways to accomplish those tasks? There are many ways to accomplish something. But there is only one best way. Think of your resource constraints (including time) and determine the optimal way for you to accomplish the tasks you’ve identified as most important.
- What foods will you include in your child’s lunch?
- What is the best route to get to work? What time do I have to get up in order to be at work by 7:45?
- What do I need to do to be prepared for the presentation? Do I need to reserve a room? Who should be present?
- What will I have for lunch? Will I bring it or go out to eat?
- What type of workout will I do? Where?
3. What are the obstacles you’re likely to face? Consider everything that might get in your way and develop a plan that will address those obstacles. If something goes wrong, how are you going to handle it?
- Make a plan that has the greatest possibility of avoiding the fewest obstacles as possible.
4. When are you going to do your tasks? Decide when you’re going to do each of the items on your list. Bill Gates plans his day in 6-minute intervals. You might not have to be that precise. Find a method that works for you.
5. Evaluate your day and try again. At the end of the day, take a look at your day and look for ways to do better. Use what you learned to improve your planning process.
- What did you accomplish?
- What did you fail to get done?
- When are you going to do it?
- What could you have done better?
Make the most important decisions about your day the night before. The day is for executing, not deciding.
Save your decision-making time for the evening when you can be more objective and thoughtful.
Put your nose to the grindstone during the day and get things accomplished. Living life by the seat of your pants might be exciting, but it’s not the most productive way to live. Make a good plan and then follow it to the best of your ability. The quality of your life will soar!