Use the last half-hour of your day to plan tomorrow

Mondays Top Time Tip

Whether you work in an office or at home, your last task of the day should be to plan tomorrow. Before you close the office door, take some time to look at what you’ve accomplished during the day and plan tomorrow.

Why plan tomorrow

Many people waste a significant amount of time first thing in the morning, planning what they are going to do for the rest of the day. For some this can even be a form of procrastination and can make it hard to make a start and therefore become productive, the next thing they know, it’s lunch time and they feel that they’ve achieved nothing, this is demoralizing and the procrastination cycle starts again.

When you take the time to plan tomorrow and organize your daily time schedule, you’ll find you go through the day much more effectively than without organization.

Even if your plans go awry, it’s more productive to be able to look at your schedule and make adjustments than it is to be constantly devising new plans.

How to plan tomorrow

Begin by thinking through what you need to achieve the next day. Are there any scheduled meetings you have to attend? Build these in to your schedule first, and remember to allow for some prep time. Then, begin prioritizing your tasks for the day.

When it comes to which tasks to complete first thing in the morning many people believe in the Brian Tracy philosophy of ‘eating the frog’ and completing the more difficult tasks first. I think that sometimes this can get us bogged down before the day even begins and so I advise my clients to start with the easier tasks first, completing a few warm up tasks gives you success and momentum to move on to the more difficult tasks in a positive frame of mind.

Whichever way you prefer beware of falling into the trap of checking emails first thing in the morning or doing other easy activities that take up your important morning time.

Organize your desk or computer tasks so when you begin to work the next day, you’ll be ready to jump in the middle, with no time wasted by having to plan or organize.

The old saying that tomorrow never comes may be true but you will help yourself greatly if you plan tomorrow before you leave work, just in case it does.

Let me know what you think? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Till Next Time

Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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12 thoughts on “Use the last half-hour of your day to plan tomorrow

  1. Great post, Mike! I work with adults transitioning from correctional facilities and back into the community, and we spend a lot of time talking about setting daily goals and reviewing them each day – I have them begin to practice this in the very structured environment that they are in (e.g., “1 – Play basketball at Rec; 2 – Sign up for Re-entry Class; 3 – Finish my division work in class.”). I think this is an important skill to begin teaching children at a very young age – great teachers do it! Just think how peaceful we’d be if we learned this skill as children!

  2. I have found that trying to plan my entire day is kind of difficult for me. I routinely have unplanned and unexpected obstacles that completely derail me. I have found it easier to plan the first half of my day and then the last half, even breaking it down by block(s) of 60 minutes. Thank you!

    • Hi Julie, have you thought of identifying just three tasks, that you either must complete or as a minimum make a start on, that way you can still make progress even if you get curve balls thrown at you

  3. Agree wholeheartedly and like the idea of warming up with a few easier tasks as appetisers to the frog. I would also add in a few Ta Dah’s when going over the day and pats on the back for tasks / workload completed.

  4. I sometimes berate myself for spending too much time planning. It seems I plan but never accomplish. I’m wondering if it’s because I try to “plan my week” before I’ve mastered the ability to “plan my day” if that makes sense. It’s almost like I’m trying to run before E mastering walking. I think I’m going to try your way for a month! Thanks for the insight.

    • Let me know how it goes Tonja, some people are just not cut out for planning long term, if this is you, that realisation alone will make a great difference to the way you manage your time