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7 Things You Should Do Today To Make Tomorrow Great

7 Things You Should Do Today To Make Tomorrow Great
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“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 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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