My 8-year old daughter recently taught me a huge lesson in productivity, as I found the to-do list she made on Christmas Eve:
Note that even though she didn’t accomplish everything on her list, she did do the most important thing…
No, not making Shrinky Dinks or having lunch (although both are undeniably valuable)…
She planned the following day.
People are always asking me for recommendations on tools and systems to help them be more productive, but no app can replace the simple habit of planning your day the night before.
Productivity Benefit: Sleep Better, Be Better
The first reason why this is powerful is that you will actually get a better, more peaceful night’s rest.
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night thinking, “I can’t forget to do that thing…” or launched into your day stressed out that you were already behind?
Just knowing that you have everything out of your head and down on paper, allows you to turn that worry switch off.
And, believe it or not, getting a good night’s sleep can send you into the next day ready to rock.
Studies have shown that a restful sleep can sharpen your attention, spur creativity, lower stress and improve memory!
Productivity Benefit: Let Your Brain Do Brainy Stuff
The second reason why planning the night before is so powerful is that you free your brain up to do what it was designed to do.
Jim Rohn said, “Don’t use your brain as a filing cabinet.”
Don’t clutter your brain’s processor with information that doesn’t need to be stored there. Get your to-do list out of your head so you can use your brain to do what it does best – come up with new ideas, solve problems, and operate in your area of genius.
Simply writing down what you intend to get done the following day can have a significant impact on your performance. Scientists have conducted experiments that have proven by simply writing tasks down you become more effective.
So, if you clear your head the night before and plan your day in advance, you might find that you’ll wake up with a great idea, or solution to a problem that you’ve been stumped on for days.
Productivity Benefit: Hit the Ground Running
Here’s the third reason why planning the day the night before is so powerful – you start the day out-the-gate productive.
You walk into the office knowing your priorities, and you can knock some off your list before you even open your email. Even if everything else goes wrong that day, you’ve already been productive!
Otherwise here’s what happens: You walk into the office, you get into your email, you get a phone call, maybe someone grabs you on your way in… and before you know it it’s 11am and you haven’t worked on any of YOUR priorities.
If you know before you begin what your priorities are you’re more likely to get them done, and filter distractions that might otherwise get in your way.
Will you commit?
Regardless of what planning or time management tools you use, planning the day the night before will help you be massively more productive… and sleep better! That’s worth a shot, right?