It’s all very well having vision, goals and longer-term plans. One of the challenges many people face is closer to home. It’s the tactical challenge and in some cases grind of daily life that they most need to tackle to set themselves up for success. In fact for some without this element sorted the thought of the bigger-thinking is both threatening and an unrealistic proposition.
Setting yourself up for daily success needs to be tailored to the environment you find yourself in. It certainly becomes easier to achieve if you do this in the context of the weekly plan and have a trusted system for handling appointments and actions. Acknowledging this is a big subject and goes beyond the goal of this article, here’s four ideas to get you started.
Idea 1. Be prepared to adapt. I put this right up front as it’s often the cause of frustration if you don’t. So what does this mean in practice? Make sure your plan for the day is not overloaded. Things will come up and things will take longer than you anticipate. Therefore acknowledge this and plan accordingly. There’s a sense of irony when people spend part of their precious time moving uncompleted actions from one day to the next in order to be ‘productive’. You’ll also have things that get cancelled or you achieve more quickly. In this scenario you need to reach for a list of actions you could make progress on. I suggest using the following criteria to help you prioritise: time available, energy level and physical location.
Idea 2. Daily prep check list. Developing your own list of the things to include to get the day setup correctly is a great place to start. This is in the category of easy to say and write harder to get in the discipline of doing. Examples I’ve seen on lists include: review notebook from previous day to capture and or distribute actions, scan diary and bring together all the materials you need to support appointments in one place, check-in with line manager and directs. The list can expand or contract based on the level of comfort you take from being setup to take on the day.
Idea 3. Keystone habit. I love this concept that Charles Duhigg talks about in his book The Power of Habit. This is about identifying the activity that if done consistently allows a whole range of other activities to flow. As an example for me personally it’s exercising first thing in the morning.
Idea 4. Start the night before. For some there are real advantages to thinking about the following day the night before. This typically is about setting priorities for what you’d like to achieve. Acknowledging Idea 1, aim for five items. This also provides an opportunity to get closure on the day. Done well, this will improve both your mind and quality of your sleep. Both key factors in priming for success.
The ideas above are equally applicable in a range of settings, including: business, education and sport. Don’t under estimate the impact this can have. Give it a go and see what difference it can make for you.
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