There are a million blogs, posts and lists telling you how to make your day more productive, but in reality, day-of productivity practices mean you’re already a day behind. Setting yourself up for a successful day should be done before the alarm even goes off. Try these three Pre-Day Planning tips for a week and you’ll understand the difference.
Use Your Yesterbox - Email is overwhelming. The average worker spends 2.6 hours/day reading and answering emails. That’s insane. Worse, you never know how many emails or how many hours of your day email correspondence is going to eat up, which makes email time management almost impossible.
Borrow zappos.com CEO Tony Hseih’s Yesterbox technique. Basically, take all of today’s emails and make them part of tomorrow’s workload. By always working one day behind your pile of emails you will:
Know exactly how many emails you have to resolve tomorrow and can set aside an appropriate amount of email time for the following day.
Feel a sense of accomplishment! You know when the task of email management is actually completed for the day because your Yesterbox is empty.
This pre-day activity can give you a serious sense of control and accomplishment over the inbox.
Remove All Possible Steps - Spending 20 minutes in the evening preparing for the next day can go a long way to setting yourself up for success. Whatever your goals for the next day; go to the gym before work, take your lunch with you instead of eating out, remember that book you borrowed from Rob and have been meaning to return for 6 weeks, try this pre-day technique.
Eliminate as many steps as possible between your alarm and your goal. For instance, before heading to bed get your workout clothes, tennis shoes, socks, iPod, car keys and water bottle (pre-filled) and set them all on your bathroom counter. Although it will still be up to you to get your butt out of the bed, there is no more thinking involved. Just put on the clothes and walk out the door. You’ll be to the gym before you even realize you’re awake.
The same technique applies to bringing your lunch. Just pack it the night before, then you have no excuse in the morning when you come back from the gym 10 minutes late and don’t have time to pack yourself a lunch. It’s already ready for you!
And, seriously, set Rob’s book in front of the door so you literally trip over it on the way out.
Make Tomorrow’s List - Okay, so my productivity plan does involve a list too! But here are the Pre-Day Planning list guidelines:
- Spend the last 15 minutes of your work day making your list for tomorrow’s work day. This is a great way to wrap up the day, leave your work related thoughts at the office, and it will feel awesome when you walk to your desk tomorrow and already know what to do. It will save you so much time! You’d be shocked how many hours are wasted trying to decide what to do first.
B Put six, and only six, specific items on your to-do list. Mary Kay Ash may have built her cosmetics company way before the dawn of digital, but this lady had some good ideas in the productivity department, including the list of six. Her theory was that making too long of a list felt overwhelming and anyone could accomplish six things in a day. Give it a try! This lady in pink knew her stuff.
Embracing the power of the Pre-Day Planning can result in some serious productivity. You’ll feel like you’re taking a shortcut.