5 ways to increase productivity through planning at night and thinking less during the day.
Nighttime can be magical. We’re all so wise at night! We can plan and craft out the perfect day. We know exactly what we want to do and how we’re going to accomplish it. Tomorrow comes and all our carefully laid plans seem to go awry. By the end of the day, we’re asking ourselves, “What the heck happened?” Granted, there are some things that will be out of our control. An emergency may come up that takes us off track.
However, many times the reason our carefully crafted plan isn’t executed is that we try to make decisions on the fly and we’re influenced by what feels good in the moment.
How can planning be made effective? Consider these tips for effective planning and increase your productivity:
1. Know your goals. What do you want to accomplish? What are the small, daily actions you need to make to get you there? You won’t be able to make effective plans until you know what you’re trying to do. If you don’t know what your goals are in the short and long term, now is the time to set them.
2. Set aside time each night to plan the next day. Each evening, at a certain time, plan out what you’re going to do the following day. It may be 15 minutes or it may be 30 minutes. Experiment to find what works best for you. Do this with the same regularity as brushing your teeth. You might even choose that as a trigger to help you follow through. “When I finish brushing my teeth, I will sit down for 15 minutes to plan out my tomorrow.”
3. Be ruthless with prioritization. Often, we get distracted by other people’s priorities that may or may not align with our own. It’s imperative to prioritize your activity. Time is at a premium. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s important to maximize it to the best of our ability. There’s a limit to how much you can accomplish each day. Ensure that you’re getting the most important things accomplished. Determine the priority based upon your short-term and long-term goals.
- Prayerfully invite the Lord into the process. Ask for wisdom in determining priorities for the next day.
- Ideally, your list will be quite short. If you have 10 things on your list, you have things that are minimally important. Stick to the most important things.
- You can make another list of things that can be done after the items on the first list are accomplished.
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4. Make your evening decisions count. At night, it’s easy to decide that you’re going to go to the gym the following day. It’s easy to decide that you’re going to eat in a healthy manner. It’s during the day that you struggle to make wise decisions.
- How many times have you planned on going to the gym at a certain time, only to talk yourself out of it when the time came?
- The solution is to make as few decisions as possible during the day. Make your decisions at night and then focus your energy during the day on executing. Avoid giving yourself the opportunity to change your mind. Believe that you made the right choice the night before.
5. You can defeat procrastination. Wake up in the morning knowing you made good decisions last night that are aligned with your highest priorities. There’s no reason to delay beginning your day. When you prioritize your activities, you can be confident that you’re spending your time well.
Make your decisions when you’re decision-making powers are at their best – at night. It’s obvious what you should eat tomorrow to be at your best. It’s obvious that you should go to the gym, read a chapter of a certain book, or read scripture and pray for 20 minutes. It’s much harder to follow through on them when that time comes.
Make your plan at night and then focus on the execution. Avoid allowing yourself to make decisions regarding those items during the day. You already thought about them and made your decisions. There’s no reason to re-negotiate them.
Fight like mad to stick to the plan the next day. Pray throughout the day that the Lord would give you the strength you need.
You’ll love the results and increase your productivity!