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What You Can Do Every Night To Make A More Productive Tomorrow

What You Can Do Every Night To Make A More Productive Tomorrow

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.

Be grateful

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Robert Chen

Executive Coach

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Last Updated on March 31, 2020

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How often do you find yourself procrastinating? Do you wish you could procrastinate less? We all know how debilitating procrastination can make us feel, and it seems to be a challenge we all share. Procrastination is one of the biggest hindrances to moving forward and doing the things that we want to in life.

There are many reasons why you might be procrastinating, and sometimes, it is really difficult to pinpoint why. You might be procrastinating because of something related to the past, present, or future (they are all intertwined), or it could be as simple as biological factors. Whatever the reason, most of us follow a cycle when we procrastinate, from the moment we decide to do something to actually getting it done, or in this case, not getting it done.

The Vicious Procrastination Cycle

For some reason, it helps to understand that we all go through the same thing, even though we often feel like the only person in the world who struggles with this. Do you resonate with the cycle below?

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it!

2. Apprehension Starts to Come Up

The beginning stages of optimism are starting to fade. There is still time, but you haven’t done anything yet, and you start to feel uneasy. You realize that you actually have to do something to get it done, and that good intentions are not enough.

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3. Still No Action

More time has passed. You still haven’t taken any action and probably have a lot of excuses why. You start to panic a little and wish you had started sooner. Your panic starts to turn into frustration and perhaps even irritability.

4. Flicker of Hope Left

You can still make it; there is a little time left and you ponder how you are going to get it done. The rush you get from leaving your task until the last minute gives you a flicker of hope. There is still time; you can do this!

5. Fading Quickly

Your hope starts to quickly fade as you try desperately to understand why you just can’t do this. You may feel desperate and have thoughts like, “What is wrong with me?” and “Why do I ALWAYS do this?” You feel discouraged, or perhaps angry and resentful at yourself.

6. Vow to Yourself

Once the feeling of anger or disappointment disappears, you most likely swear to yourself that this will never happen again; that this was the last time and next time will be different.

Does this sound like you? Is the next time different? I understand the devastating effect that procrastination has on many lives, and for some, it is a really serious problem. You also have, on the other hand, those who procrastinate but it doesn’t affect them in any way. You know whether it is affecting you or not and whether it undermines your results.

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How to Break the Procrastination Cycle

Unless you break the cycle, you will keep reinforcing it!

To break the cycle, you need to change the sequence of events. Here is my suggestion on how you can effectively break the vicious cycle you are in!

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it! The first stage is always the same.

2. Plan

Thinking alone will not help; you need to plan your actions. I always put my deadlines one or two days in advance because you know Murphy’s Law! Take into consideration everything that you need to do, how long it will take you, and what you will need to get it done, then plan the individual steps.

3. Resistance

Just because you planned doesn’t mean that this time is guaranteed to be different. You will most likely still feel the resistance so expect this. This stage is key to identifying why you are procrastinating, so when you feel the resistance, try to identify it immediately.

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What is causing you to hesitate in this moment? What do you feel?  Write them down if it helps.

4. Confront Those Feelings

Once you have identified what could possibly be holding you back, for example, fear of failure, lack of motivation, etc. You need to work on lessening the resistance.

Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to move forward? What would make it easier?” If you find that you fear something, overcoming that fear is not something that will happen overnight — keep this in mind.

5. Put Results Before Comfort

You need to keep moving forward and put results before comfort. Take action, even if it is only for 10 minutes. The key is to break the cycle and not reinforce it. You have more control that you think.

6. Repeat

Repeat steps 3-5 until you achieve what you first set out to do.

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Final Thoughts

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and if you have some deeper underlying reasons why you procrastinate, it may take longer to finally break the cycle.

If procrastination is holding you back in life, it is better to deal with it now than to deal with the negative consequences later on. It is not a question of comfort anymore; it is a question of results. What is more important to you?

Learn more about how to stop procrastinating here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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