Make A Plan For Your Day Before You Start It

Far too often, I begin my day by walking into my office, sitting down, signing in, and jumping straight into the fray. I need the reminder (read the quote and article below) that we greatly benefit from building a plan for our day before starting the material work.

There are times where I spend a few minutes filling out a 3×3 post-it note with the day’s tasks before digging in, and not surprisingly, those days always feel more fulfilling. There’s a greater sense of accomplishment when you say, “I’m going to do these 5 things today, come hell or high water,” and then check them off one by one as the day progresses.

Writer and consultant, Ron Friedman, Ph.D. suggests the following on a recent post for the Harvard Business Journal:

“What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at your desk? For many of us, checking email or listening to voice mail is practically automatic. In many ways, these are among the worst ways to start a day. Both activities hijack our focus and put us in a reactive mode, where other people’s priorities take center stage. They are the equivalent of entering a kitchen and looking for a spill to clean or a pot to scrub.

A better approach is to begin your day with a brief planning session. An intellectual mise-en-place. Bourdain envisions the perfect execution before starting his dish. Here’s the corollary for the enterprising business professional. Ask yourself this question the moment you sit at your desk: The day is over and I am leaving the office with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. What have I achieved?”

As Friedman points out, “the single most important ingredient of any dish is planning.” Get planning!

Read the full article, and hopefully you’ll find it a useful read. It’s quick. Two to three minutes, tops…

HBR: How to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Day


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