In order to make time for health, relationships, exercise, mental wellbeing, and all the fun stuff, you need to be as productive with your time as possible. Life gets busy, and we need to make the most of it!
When it comes to being productive in your day, making a game plan for yourself the evening before is crucial, since it allows you to just wake up and execute. You want to save all that mental clarity and energy for your actual tasks at hand for the day, not planning it out.
And that gameplan really comes down to a thoughtful, strategic to-do list.
The Ultimate To Do List
This isn’t your typical list of everything under the sun you need to get done in your life list, no. If you go to write a list that’s 10+ items long, you’re going to look at it the next day, get overwhelmed, and likely not complete all the items which is not going to make you feel great.
I want you to think of 1 to at most 3 things, depending on how long these things take, priority tasks for the next day. These are the things you MUST get done. These are the things that are going to move the needle in your life, business, or career.
From there, you can add ‘nice to have’ tasks to your list, that would be great to get to, but are less important.
Our culture, unfortunately, encourages this busy mentality, and it’s so easy to find ways to stay busy in your day, but being busy isn’t what necessarily moves you forward…it’s your priority tasks that do, and sometimes these things aren’t always what you want to do.
I know probably everyone reading at some point or another completed a task, added it to their to-do list after the fact, just to cross it off. I know I’ve definitely done that — I don’t even know how many times. But one thing I could bet on is that the task probably wasn’t crucial.
The 80/20 Rule
A concept I quickly want to touch on here to help you understand what your personal priority tasks are is the 80/20 rule. This rule states that 80% of your results come from only 20% of the work. Crazy right? But it’s totally true.
If you really look at your day, you’ll probably easily find what couple hours of work gave you the bulk of your results.
I want you to lean into that 20%. Stop wasting time on the other 80%. For instance, let’s say you started a coaching business, and you’ve found that 80% of your revenue is coming from your e-book sales, but almost half of your time is doing 1:1 coaching. Stop that. Cut back on the coaching, and give yourself more time to develop more ebooks!
Here’s a little exercise you can do when you’re at a decision point in your day of what to do next:
Before performing an activity, take a second and ask yourself, do I really need to do this? This will allow you to spend your time focusing on only important matters.
I ask that question to myself quite a bit throughout the day – and it’s a great way to just force yourself to pause and have some self-awareness around what you’re doing. It not only applies to work, but also fitness, health, and really anything…
HOW to get productive the night before
So when it comes to the HOW of establishing this new habit of planning the night before, we recommend picking a time each evening that you execute these two tasks and stick to that time every day. Within a few weeks, it will become second nature to you, and will just seamlessly be a part of your daily routine.
There’s really two points we find work best – either right before you log off of work for the day if you’re working from home, or right before you start your evening routine.
If you like to do it before you log-off, we recommend starting a Google Sheet to do list tracker. We love utilizing the checkbox feature – it’s a very clean, organized way to track your to-do’s. If you’ve never used it – click ‘insert’ and towards the bottom, you’ll see ‘checkbox’.
If you prefer to do this before your evening routine, we’d recommend purchasing some type of journal so you can stay away from screens later in the evening. There’s also proven research that writing things down helps form them to memory, so this time slot has that added bonus!
Let us know in the comments below if you try out these tips! 🙂