How do you spend your Sunday night? Do you binge-watch Netflix, overindulge in the sauce and lament having to work the next day? Or do you get a head start on your week?
Few of us want to turn a day off into a workday, but a bit of planning can make your workweek flow more smoothly. Planning your day the night before also helps you skyrocket your productivity. And you can continue this trend at the end of every day to boost your output and improve your outlook.
Sunday Night is Planning Night
Carve out approximately 20 minutes on Sunday to focus on your goals. Ask yourself the following questions when you contemplate:
- What are the top three goals in business and life I hope to accomplish this week?
- What five activities can I do this week to get me closer to achieving my goals?
- What time blocks can I create to accomplish this?
For example, if your goal is to lose two pounds per week, you might plan activities like cooking nutritious meals and taking regular exercise. Then, schedule this into your week. Do not fall into the trap of feeling guilty for taking care of yourself — you can’t act your productive best when you feel unhealthy.
Start Monday With a Ritual
Rituals connect you with your inner self and help you focus. In fact, many top athletes claim they credit their mental acuity more than their physical prowess for their feats. Create a special Monday morning ritual to set you on the right course for your work week.
Spend some time writing in a journal, prepping a healthy breakfast, or getting in some exercise. As a runner, I like scheduling my second-longest run of the week on Monday morning. It clears my head, makes me feel like I’ve accomplished a lot already and gives me the mindset I can tackle the world.
Tackle the Toughest Job First, and Keep Ticking Items Off
When it comes to how to plan your day, add your toughest item to your to-do list first. Tackling the most challenging item first makes the rest of the day smooth sailing.
But keep on checking items off your to-do list. Make your outline for what you want to accomplish as detailed as you like, or use an app if you’re more tech-savvy. The psychological act of checking off one item after another helps keep your motivation high.
End Your Day By Setting Goals for the Next
At the end of each day, schedule 10-15 minutes of time for — you guessed it! — planning your day the night before. Focus on your goals, and make up your to-do list.
Take time, too, to evaluate what went right and what you can improve. Did you accomplish your most important daily goal, or did you procrastinate? If the latter, examine the attitudes and circumstances surrounding the delay. Were they truly unavoidable, or could you find a way to work through the frustrations more effectively in the future?
Why Planning Your Day the Night Before Works
Think about the last time you decided to deep clean your house. Chances are, as soon as you started one task, you noticed another you needed to complete. Before long, you found yourself standing there with a mop and bucket, ripping out your hair, unsure of where to start. You might have even decided to throw up your hands.
Research tells us the average person makes more than 300 decisions any given day — and all the mental energy exerted doing so drains you. Scientists call this phenomenon decision fatigue, and it can destroy your productivity and leave you overwhelmed.
However, the easy fix for decision fatigue involves planning your day in advance and simplifying your tasks. By planning your day the night before, you free up mental energy for getting down to business. You don’t need to think about what to do — you simply need to jump in and tackle it.
How to Plan Your Day to Boost Productivity Most
Planning your day the night before helps supercharge your productivity by eliminating decision fatigue. If you’re wondering how to plan your day to boost your work output most, give scheduling the preceding evening a try.
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