Using Your Time Wisely
August 22nd, 2019
3 minute read
There’s an entire industry of books and thought processes and podcasts all designed to make you more productive. A lot of people start these big processes with a lot of excitement, only to fizz out long before the processes become habits.
The key to changing your life is starting small and sticking to it for 21 days, which is generally considered the length of time you need to do something for it to become a habit. Rather than getting up tomorrow and trying to change everything about how you approach your day, let’s talk about three things that you can do tonight that will guarantee you a more productive day tomorrow. The best part is that none of these actions require you to spend money, cut into your sleep time, or sign up for some kind of sweaty yoga routine.
First, take a look at your calendar or schedule, or just think about what your day is supposed to be like tomorrow. What are you going to be doing? Where will you be? What’s the weather forecast?
While you’re doing this, choose one thing that you absolutely MUST get done tomorrow. Even if you somehow contract a horrible virus that makes you spend the rest of your day and evening sick in bed, this is the one thing you’re going to accomplish. That’s your benchmark. And no, putting on pants doesn’t count as your big achievement; I don’t care what the internet says.
Don’t go all out and try to pack a week-long attic cleaning project in a day, but do something that needs doing even if it’s just paying a bill, running an errand, or folding and putting away the load of clean laundry currently sitting in a basket on the floor of your bedroom.
If you use your phone to track your calendar, make sure any necessary alarms are set, appointments and tasks are entered, and the appropriate reminders are in place. If you’re like me and you use a hard copy schedule like a Day-Timer, take a look at it and make any necessary notes or additions.
Get Your Clothes Together
Speaking of laundry, go pick out your clothes for tomorrow. This might sound pretty stupid, but that’s one less thing you have to do in the morning. One less decision to make, one more time block that you can spend on other things instead of running through the house looking for clean socks. It’s also far better to find out the night before that the jacket you planned to wear has buffalo wing sauce on it, rather than at 10am the next morning when someone wants to know if you wear ALL of your food, or just wings.
If you’re the kind of morning person who needs to low crawl to the coffee pot before engaging anyone around you in conversation, take the five minutes you’ll get back and use it to wake up and adjust your attitude.
Get Your Stuff in Order
Lastly, put all of the items you’ll need to take with you tomorrow in one spot by the door. If you’ve never, ever gotten halfway to work and remembered something you forgot to bring with you, then you can consider yourself amazing and skip this step. If you’re a mere mortal like the rest of us, however, let’s talk about why this is a big deal.
In step one of this little exercise, you looked at what your day will be tomorrow. You have an idea of the expected weather, and the activities you might be involved in. Now is when you make sure all of those extra items you might need are right there for you to grab in the morning. Maybe that means a baseball glove, cleats, bowling ball, or other stuff for your weekly league. Maybe it means taking your son’s science project to school or treats to your daughter’s class. Whatever ‘extra’ stuff you have going on, get it all together and make sure it’s ready for you to grab on your way out the door.
There are a lot of other habits you can add to this, but these three things will transform your mornings and set you up for success. You’ll wake up already knowing what you need to do, have the stuff to do it, and the mindset to get it done. Try it tonight—and have a great day tomorrow.