It’s a great principle for organising your work week, but can it be applied to the year as well?
I like to think we’re at the cutting edge of productivity science here in the ILRE community. And we’re no desk-top scientists. We live it. We live and die by our results.
Anyway, there’s one principal I really like: Plan tomorrow, today.
That is, before you clock out for the day, take stock of where you are, and map out your to-do list for the coming day.
And as I was explaining to my Ultimate students over the weekend, this isn’t just a strategy to get you through one day to the next. You should do it at the end of the week, the end of the month, and appropriately enough, the end of the year.
I know it’s tempting to let it slide. You’ve had a big day or a busy week. You just think, ah, I’ve hit my deadlines. I’ll leave it til when I’m fresh.
But that’s trading productive time for unproductive time. Typically, the first hours of your day are most productive and most creative. You want to be saving them for your most important tasks.
But the key thing to focus on here is ‘mental burden’. There really is only so much gumpf you can carry around in your head. The more space you clog up, the less that’s available to you.
It’s the same reasoning that underlies ‘to-do lists’. When you get it all down on paper, you stop chewing up mental energy keeping an inventory of everything you need to do.
That stuff is heavy. It chews up energy staying on top of it. But when you put it down on paper, your mental load becomes lighter. It frees up head space. It frees up processing power.
And that processing power is important. It’s like a computer. If there’s no memory available, then everything slows down.
But if you keep your mental load lean, you just think better – you are more creative and you make better decisions.
You feel better, you think better – it’s win, win, win.
And it’s the same story with plan tomorrow, today. When you get it all out of your head, then it’s not all running in the back-ground as you have dinner, play with your kids and try to relax.
Free up your mind, and you’ll rest better as well.
And so that’s why I think it’s really worth doing at this time of year.
A lot of people get to this stage of the year and think, “Well, I didn’t quite hit everything I needed to this year. I’ll need to rethink my strategy for next year. But I’ll do it when the year begins.”
But if you know you need to make some significant changes – position yourself for a new career, rework your portfolio, make pivots in your investment strategy – these are some big questions. You’ll be carrying them around in your head through the break – they’ll be running away in the back ground. You won’t be able to help it.
But the Christmas break is one of the most important breaks we have. Our productive worlds shut down. It’s the most clean energetic break we can have.
And to get the most out of that break – the most rejuvenation and the freshest perspective – we need it to be a proper break. We need it to be a total reset.
That reset can’t happen if you’re contemplating major life changes in the back-ground.
So that’s why I say plan tomorrow today. Plan next year now.
I know I’m asking you to push it just that little bit further, just as the end’s in sight.
But it’s worth it.
You’ll just enjoy the break so much more.