Do you know you’re going to be rushed in the morning? Are you not good at getting started in the morning because when have to plan your day first? Or, do you need to feel like you’re ahead the game before you even start?
There are a number of reasons you may choose to plan and set up for your work day the night before.
Pros and Cons of Planning & Setting Up the Night Before
There are many pros to this practice, including:
- Being more organized.
- Being able to start your day more quickly, without feeling bogged down by the smaller things.
- Idea generation in the evening, once you know what your plans are.
- More ideas in the morning before you even get started.
- You know whether or not you have everything necessary to start your day; and you can run out and get supplies the evening before if necessary.
- Feeling less stressed in the morning.
- Feeling less rushed in the morning.
As with any situation, there are also cons. These include:
- Loss of spontaneity during the beginning of your day, and maybe throughout, depending on how much you planned and set up for.
- May not be at your most creative in the morning, because everything has been planned out.
Planning for the Next Day
Planning the night before will be different for each person, and you should certainly do so in a way that works best for you. Some will use Post-Its, others index cards. Many of will have a planner to write tasks into, and others might have a simple to-do list either in paper form or by using todoist.com. Still others might list out the tasks on a dry-erase board, to be easily wiped off when each task is complete.
Whatever your style, spend a few minutes at the end of your writing/work day listing the three most important things you need to accomplish the next day. Then decide in what order it is most important to complete each task, numbering them accordingly.
Setting Up for the Next Day
The first step in setting up for the next day is to pick up from the current day. Take a moment to clear unnecessary items from your work space. Not a major cleaning or anything, but just file the few papers you have out, and clear off the desk.
Then take out your to-do list (the short three item list) and decide what tools and materials you’ll need to have on your desk to complete them the next day. Setting these items up now should take no longer than a minute.
You’re all set for tomorrow. You know what you need to get done, and in what order.
Bonus Tip #1: Keeping an Extra Task List
Once the items on your list are complete, if there is time, you can consider plucking away at your list of things you’d like to do. I keep an ongoing list of small tasks that take less than half-an-hour, with many that will only take about five minutes. This list is kept on my desk and, when I have a day that I finish the important things early, I do some of the things on this other list.
Be sure to cross items off as you complete them.
Bonus Tip #2: An Idea Notebook
This is one of my favorite things. I keep it nearby so I can make notes whenever an idea pops into my head, which often happens after I’ve planned for the next day, or after waking the next day.
My notebook is divided into sections, with a tab for each blog. This way, I can put each idea where it rightfully belongs. I get my new blog post and ebook ideas this way.
Did you enjoy today’s post? Check out my ebook Organize Your Space and Stuff for even more ideas on how to get things done.
Organize Your Space and Stuff is a compilation of many articles from How to Live the Freelance Life. Each article has been expanded on for this book, with updates on how things have changed, and action steps to guide you in setting up and keeping up with your office or office space.
A bonus section at the back of this eBook gives the reader creative projects that will aid in furthering their career and brightening their day. These projects are not to be missed. They are fun!
Organize Your Space and Stuff provides take-aways such as ideas for organizing projects and record keeping, as well as keeping track of successes. Organizing the way you do business does not have to be difficult. The eBook offers advice from someone who has tried many things, before beginning to get it right. It also offers recommendations for having a ‘greener’ office environment, and advice for keeping what you need on-hand, so it is available when needed.
Shannon L. Buck
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