It's David here from Revolution Learning.
I like to think of myself as being productive. I sat down this morning to get stuck into my work and realised that I do the same thing every day when I sit down to get my work started. It's a piece of advice or a routine that I was told about a really long time ago and, I thought to myself just this morning, how long have I actually been doing this for. I quickly worked it out and it's 10 years! 10 years, every day when I start work, I do the same thing.
I also do the same things last thing on a night too.
A lot can be said about having a morning routine. Lots of people really believe that having a morning routine makes you even more successful. I have a morning routine but this is not what that post is about. It's just the things that I do when I sit down to work and just before I leave to go home.
Here's what I do. I spend the last 20 minutes of my day preparing for the first three hours of the next day. The reason this works for is, many of us will come into work and then start to think about at that point what it is we want to get done. This can lead to procrastination. Planning how long things take to do actually takes a lot longer than what you think. Taking the last part of your day to think about what you were going to get done the next day means you sit down first thing knowing exactly what you need to get done and, you are much more likely to get on and get them done.
The reason it's three hours and not thinking about the whole of the next day is you need some flexibility. Things do change. Just focus on the first part of the day so when you walk into work or you get to your desk and sit down, at that point you know exactly what it is that you have to do.
The other thing I find that this does is it stops me worrying and thinking about work after I finished. I know that I've gone back through my list, I've checked everything off to make sure I've got the things done that I wanted to get done, I'm sure about what I need to get done the next day and then I close down my day closed and my computer and then I go back to my personal life and spend that time with my family.
When it comes to thinking about what I'm going to get done the next day, here's the other thing that I do. I always set myself what I call 3 non-negotiables.
These are three things that I will commit to doing no matter what happens. Three very important tasks or tasks and must get done regardless of interruptions and things changing. I will commit to getting those three things done.
These tasks could be work-based tasks, for example, I might commit to calling a client, sending that email, getting that piece of web design done or getting that report completed. The tasks could be personal. Yes, I will get to the supermarket today or yes I will tidy up the office or tidy the living room
They could be all work, all personal or a combination of both. They could also be what would be described as being a one-off task. It might be a piece of project work that's not going to be repeated again or an email to a client or proposal for a client that I'll get boxed off and completed.
These tasks could also be repeatable. Those things that you do every day, every week or every month.
Commit to three things, get them on your list and make sure that those three things are done.
It might even be that you're committed to getting those things done first thing so they are done and out of the way. And, here's the thing, when you find that you begin to tick these things off your list. the drive and motivation or the impetus this gives you to keep going is huge! You're going to find that you get more things done by making sure you spend the last part of your day preparing for the next day.