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7 Things You Should Do Today To Make Tomorrow Great

7 Things You Should Do Today To Make Tomorrow Great

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”- L.M.Montgomery

Tomorrow is going to be a great day! How many times have you been able to confidently state that? Not many, if you are like me. But thinking about it, a lot of the things you do today could actually make tomorrow much more productive and really satisfying. Try these hacks to make sure that tomorrow is really not going to be just like today.

“Tomorrow you promise yourself will be different, yet tomorrow is too often a repetition of today. And you will be disappointed again and again.”- James T. McCay

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 1. Check your email later instead of earlier

Procrastination has a loyal and faithful ally called email! Just think that every non-urgent email you read is stealing your time. Your chances of meeting that deadline are fading. Now, if you can mange to resist at least a little bit, you will have got those important things done and it will make tomorrow easier. Always check email towards the end of the day. Set up alerts for urgent ones so you are not missing out.

2. Limit your working hours

Everyone knows that working a 60 or 90 hour week is not nearly as productive as a 40 hour one. Our productivity goes down the hill rapidly as fatigue and weariness set in. Here is what I did. I made a pact with myself that I had to leave the office at 17.30 on the dot on Tuesdays and Thursdays as I had to get to my gym class. I told myself that I was free to work later to get urgent stuff done on the other three days. It worked like a charm. By doing this I was able to:

  • Become active after a sedentary day at the desk
  • Improve my work life balance
  • Boost my mood after the release of endorphins
  • Detach myself from that awful job

Not bad for one strategy. I also found that I was less stressed and I did not feel overwhelmed by too much work the next day. On the contrary, I was more rested and better able to face new challenges.

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3. Make a list of top priority tasks

It is much better to make a list at the end of today for tomorrow. First, you can see what needs to be done and what deadline you cannot afford to miss. Think about how today went and how you can improve on it. You can cross off things that can really be postponed. This will give you a sense of empowerment and control. I love crossing off things that have been done or can be put off.

4. De-clutter your space

There is an area of the brain which is activated when we have to give up an object we have become attached to. Look at a well known computer store and see how they have exploited this so that people touch the objects, become attached to them and then buy them!

But a lot of the stuff on our desk is not on sale and is serving no useful purpose at all. It is just taking up valuable space. In addition, it is a brake on your ability to think and act. Be ruthless. Throw everything you do not need and then find an easily identified place such as colored folders for all the rest. Think about the digital clutter too and get folders on your desktop to make things easier to find. So, start the clear out today and tomorrow will be a breeze.

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5. Update with colleagues

Another task to be done towards the end of the day is to check with colleagues and see what is happening with various projects, meetings, and deadlines. This can help you get your list of priorities for tomorrow up to date as you may have to make a few adjustments.

6. Don’t take work home

Now don’t spoil all this planning for tomorrow by taking work home. That will just be prolonging all the stress and invading your free time, thoughts and feelings with the work virus. It also suggests that you have time management problems that you need to address.

 7. Now start telling yourself tomorrow will be great

As you leave the office, start telling yourself that tomorrow is just going to be awesome. You know that you have paved the way beautifully. Pat yourself on the back for having cleared the desk, prioritized your tasks and got rid of a lot of junk into the bargain. Now go home and enjoy yourself!

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“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Featured photo credit: H. Jackson Brown Jr quote/BK via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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