[Getting Organized #2] Prepare Tomorrow’s To-Do List as You Wrap-up Today

Prepare Tomorrow's To-Do List as You Wrap-up Today

Surveys (see example) predict that 60% of individuals are ‘morning people’ — they are at their best during the mornings. Yet, many of them begin their day unorganized. Frequently, they do not have a sense of how they should begin their day–what tasks they should work first thing in the morning. They idle away the most-productive stretch of their days by checking email, talking with colleagues about their weekends or reading news on the internet.

A Solution to Wastefulness

To manage your day wisely, develop the good habit of planning the next day before you end each day.

Each day, before you leave your desk at office or go to bed at home, spend a few minutes to prepare a to-do list for the following day.

  • Review your calendar and make a list of things you can reasonably accomplish during the next day.
  • Try to break more-involved tasks into smaller component tasks.
  • Start each phrase with a verb; for example, “Book tickets for family vacation,” “Call client,” “Send draft of research report to boss.”
  • Collect reference/support material or files for each task and leave them at your desk.

The next day morning, your to-do list serves as a road map for your work. The list helps you orient yourself by making it easier to start your day knowing which tasks you will need to complete during the day. Additionally, your to-do list lets you free yourself from the anxiety of maintaining a list of tasks in your head–your mind is now free to concentrate on other thoughts and deliberations.

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