If you want to be productive tomorrow, then set yourself up the night before.
- Prepare for your morning routine: Before I go to bed, I set the coffee pot to go off 10 minutes before I wake up. I also prepare water bottles if I am running in the morning (I rotate between running in the morning and running in the evening, based on my work and travel schedules). I start my day in my office with mindfulness meditation, a journal entry, and writing. I find my writing is better and comes easier first thing in the morning. The only thing I need to get straight to work is a cup of coffee and a blank page with a blinking cursor.
Your morning routine is likely very different than mine. But the more you do to prepare yourself, the faster you can get to work. You are setting the tone for your whole day during your first hours each day.
- Review your calendar: I always review my calendar for the following day the night before. It’s likely that I have already prepared for my meetings, but I like to get a look at the following day so I know what the next day looks like. This only takes a few minutes, but I can’t complete the final action on this list until I review my appointments. I need to know what I am doing and where I have space.
Take a look at your calendar. Make sure that you are fully prepared for the meetings and commitments you have for the following day.
- Write down your priorities or to-do list: I can normally achieve three or four major outcomes in a day. I review and plan my week on Sundays, but I have so many action items that pour in from meetings, phone calls, email, and texts, that I have to make time to reevaluate my priorities and sometimes renegotiate commitments on a daily basis.
After you have looked at your calendar, you can review your task list and schedule the time to do your real work (the proactive, important, intentional, purpose stuff, not the reactive stuff that tends to crowd out your real work if you let it).
This is winding down work, not winding up work. Doing this work the night before gives your productivity a running start by giving you back time. It also lets you do purposeful work right out of the starting gate and build momentum.