productivity tip

When my daughter was 8, she taught me a huge lesson in 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 with [Grandma] Cookie or having lunch (although both are undeniably a good use of time)…

She planned the following day.

Busy people are always on the hunt tools to help them be more productive, but no app can replace the simple habit of planning your day the night before.

Here’s why:

Productivity Benefit #1: Sleep Better, Be Better

The first reason that planning your day the night before 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.

Getting a good night’s sleep can send you into the next day ready to rock, with a sharper mind, lower stress and more positive outlook.

Productivity Benefit #2: Let Your Brain Do Brainy Stuff

The second reason 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 your brain can do what it does best – come up with new ideas, solve problems, and operate in your area of genius.

If you clear your head the night before by identifying the next day’s priorities, 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 #3: Prevent Distractions from Taking Over 

Here’s the third reason planning the day the night before is so powerful – you start the day out-the-gate focused and productive.

You walk into the office knowing your priorities, and you can knock the most important one off your list before you even open your email. Even if everything else goes wrong – you’ve already won the day.

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 the day is over and you haven’t worked on any of YOUR priorities.

If you determine your priorities before you open the door or your laptop, you’re more likely to get them done. And you’ll be better equipped to identify 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?

About the Author: Karie Kaufmann works with busy entrepreneurs who want to keep growing their business, without losing their mind or killing their employees. She does this through one-on-one business coaching, strategic planning and keynote speaking. Learn more at