We’re used to living life in segments: 24 hour days, 7 day weeks, 365 day years. Work, play, sleep. Morning, afternoon, night.
The way we segment our lives determines the activities that we select to do throughout the day. To be more productive, try on this new frame of mind. Instead, imagine life as a continuous flow where each moment follows into the next in one non-stop sequence from beginning to end. If you’re wondering what you can do differently to be more productive tomorrow consider these 7 suggestions.
No matter where you are in time and how things are going, there is always something to be grateful for. Find it and give thanks. Write it in your journal or on the notes app of your phone. If you are hard-pressed, be grateful for your ability to read this line. Not everyone can read and not everyone can see.
Assess progress towards your long-term goal
It’s easy to get stuck in the minutiae of execution and lose sight of whether or not what you’re accomplishing every day really matters. Think about where you want to be long-term and look at how you spent your time for the day. How much time was dedicated to activities that will help you move towards your dreams?
If you’re not satisfied with that number, do something about it. If you have no idea where you’re spending your time, consider a time-logging app.
Create a list of 3 tasks you’ll finish tomorrow
Now that you’ve thought about your long-term goals and the associated tasks, create a list of 3 tasks that you can and want to accomplish tomorrow. Be clear about when and where you’ll accomplish these 3 tasks. If you use a calendar, make sure you schedule time on your calendar to work on them. Don’t add any new tasks until you finish 2 of the 3 on your list.
Visualize a successful tomorrow
For the most part, you can predict quite accurately what tomorrow will look like. The meetings you have scheduled, the activities you have planned and the people you will see. Take time and imagine what a perfect tomorrow will look like from the moment you wake up until you go back to bed. Watch yourself accomplishing those 3 tasks that you’ve selected for the day and include bonus highlights. Maybe you catch your train, impress your client, or enjoy a great conversation with your good friend. Pick whatever you want it to achieve and believe.
Remember that mental rehearsal is not about fantasizing. Choose what the realistic ideal will look like. You might be surprised at how close you come to what you rehearse.
Make as many decisions about tomorrow as possible
Choose what you’ll wear and eat, along with any anything else you need to decide tomorrow the night before. This will free up your brain and help preserve your willpower for the more consequential decisions tomorrow. With more brain capacity and better decision making, you’ll see your productivity and energy rise.
Write the first two lines
As an extension to front-loading your decision-making, set yourself up for success by starting the activity you plan to do tomorrow. If you’re a writer, write the first two lines of the article you plan to finish tomorrow. If you’re a parent, put the laundry you plan to wash in the washer. If you’re a doctor, lay out the files for the first two patients you plan to see. You get the point.
The hardest part of completing an activity is the start. If you can get that out of the way, you’re likelihood to actually finish the task when you decide to tackle it is high.
Sleep 8+ hours
There is no better productivity booster than sleep. When you get enough sleep, you can better focus on your plan for the day because you’ll have more self-control. Not only will you get more of the right things done, you’ll also notice your interactions with other people to be easier going. This is hard for those of you who do a lot. My advice is to see adequate sleep as one of your most important tasks to accomplish every day. Make it a priority.
What routines or actions do you take the night before to set yourself up for a productive tomorrow?
Featured photo credit: Bed Time by VirtualWolf via flickr.com