Spend a Few Minutes Preparing Now, Enjoy a Productive Time Later

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Welcome back!

By now you’re well aware of how important a to-do list is. Every week you should be creating a set of to do lists for the week, and each of these lists should be full of “bite size” tasks that are easy to accomplish.

Now, if you’re like a lot of people you probably look at your to do list first thing in the morning when you get up. Maybe you take a few minutes to just go over all the tasks and prepare for your day. That’s a good thing. But to make yourself even more productive, I suggest you spend the night before reviewing your to do lists and preparing for your day. That way you can get right to work in the morning.

Below you’ll find my favorite tips for spending time now to enjoy a productive time later.

Review Your To Do List

When you’ve finished your tasks for the day, take a moment and look over today’s to do list as well as tomorrow’s list. For starters, you may find that you didn’t get everything on today’s list done. Perhaps a particular task took longer than you expected, due to a learning curve or other factors. If that happens, move those tasks to the top of tomorrow’s list.

Now look at your list for tomorrow. Have any of the priorities changed since you made the list? Is there anything you can delegate to someone else?

Finally, take a few moments and think about how you’ll accomplish each item on your to do lists. Are you missing any steps? If so, be sure to add them in so that you have a better idea of how long your list will take you to complete tomorrow.

Now don’t put your list away quite yet. You have one more thing to do…

Prepare and Organize

Some of the items on your to do list may require you to use certain tools, resources, equipment or other items. If so, collect all these items and put them in your workspace today so that you don’t have to look for them tomorrow.

For example, let’s say you plan to work on your taxes tomorrow. That means you should get out your receipts and other tax files tonight and put them next to your computer.

Another example…

If you plan to write some articles or a chapter in a book tomorrow, then be sure to have your outline handy. If you need any resources to complete this task, gather them and put them near your workspace. This means bookmarking your online resources so that they’re at your fingertips, putting your electronic files all in one easy-to-find folder, and putting any paper resources on your desk.

Here’s the thing…

The simple act of preparing your resources can turn into its own time-consuming task if you’re not organized. If you have troubles finding them, you need to develop a system for organizing your resources. On your computer, this involves creating folders and sub-folders that are clearly labeled and all in one directory. For paper resources, you’ll need to buy or create a filing system, such as a file cabinet. Some people prefer to use boxes on the floor. That’s fine too, as long as it makes it easier for you to find what you need.

You’ll learn more about de-cluttering and getting organized in a future lesson. Next time you’ll learn how to avoid one of the biggest productivity killers, so stay tuned!

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