Here are the five things to do to ensure you have a great start to your next day: Reflect, prioritize, prepare, relax, and rest!
1. Reflect: Think about today.
2. Prioritize: Now think about tomorrow.
What three things do you most want to accomplish in your work and in your life?
Don’t just think about three things that are the easiest to check off the list, such as answering a few emails and making a couple of phone calls. While these might be important, are they a priority for YOU to move forward in your work and in your life? If not, they shouldn’t be a priority. Rather these are just somethings you can accomplish ONCE you’ve taken care of your top three priorities of the day.
In a Franklin Covey time management workshop, I remember the jar analogy. It was filled with big rocks and sand that filled in all the cracks. Then all the contents were dumped out and the sand was poured in first. The sand represents the non-essentials, the non-important parts of our lives that we still may need to do. The big rocks didn’t fit after all the sand was in the jar. Instead, when you put the big rocks in first, the sand poured around the rocks and everything fit in the jar. Think of taking care of the big rocks first and don’t get bogged down by tiny grains of sand.
Focus on what gives you the most fulfillment in your work and in your life and work towards those goals. Once you’ve achieved your top three action items of the day, then you can take care of those smaller grains of sand.
3. Prepare: Be ready for tomorrow.
I like to prepare everything for the next day the night before. This includes choosing my work outfit, preparing snacks and meals, and prepping my work bag. I make sure everything is ready to go so all I need to do is wake up, take a shower, change, eat breakfast, and head out the door.
This extra bit of time in the morning takes the stress off and provides for a more relaxing and calm morning. I eliminate rushing at home, on the road, and at work. This also improves my mood, which in turn, impacts others around me.
4. Relax: Unwind tonight.
An hour before bed, start winding down your ‘work’ brain. In fact, if you can, try to ween yourself off work as early as you can. But if you must work, spend the hour before you go to sleep relaxing. Take a bath, shower, read a book, relax with friends and/or family, but shut down your ‘work’ brain. Turn your computer off, get it charged, and try to avoid phone browsing and web surfing. Too much screen time before bed makes it much harder to fall asleep!
5. Rest: Now shut it down.
Get enough sleep. Ensure you’re in bed a good eight hours before you need to wake up.
I usually aim for at least nine hours of sleep but if I get in bed later, I know I’ll have at least eight hours of sleep. Plan to get in bed at a time where you can allow your body and mind to reset and recharge for at least eight hours. Sleep deprivation is a serious problem.
Remember to reflect, prioritize, prepare, relax, and rest to ensure a great start to the next day!