Or maybe the question should be “do you get ready for your day?”
I recently wrote that “planning is one of those important things that you don’t have time not to do.”
After all, planning actually gives you more time in your day. It does this by preventing you from missing appointments, forgetting tasks, and generally creating more life friction for yourself.
It is amazing the % of people who head into their day without a thought as to what they are going to do that day. You know these people. They arrive at work without a clue about the day’s events. They show up to meetings without knowing what is being discussed. They miss appointments and deadlines. Are you part of this crowd?
Charging into your day with getting ready is equivalent to “driving your car down the road of life while blindfolded.”
And this means… you are going to miss a lot of opportunities and have a lot of accidents. 🙂
Planning vs. Preparation
So how do you get ready for your day? Many people will do this by taking a glance at their calendar. If you maintain your calendar, this is a great start. Others will look at yesterday’s todo list. Another good start.
Getting Ready for the day is a two part process:
- Planning – Formulating the strategy for your day.
- Preparation – This is the action part of getting ready.
Doing the planning is a good start. If you really want to be dangerous, you need to do the preparation too.
“I love it when a plan comes together…”
Planning is about reviewing what you have going on and devising an attack plan for the day.
My planning checklist:
- Review calendar – check today’s and the next few days’ events/appointments
- Todo List – Review yesterday’s list and start today’s list
- Notes Review – Review all notes from my capture notebook (or wherever you keep your notes)
- Inbox Zero – Process all inboxes to zero…including work/home email, VM, even Twitter and txt messages.
By the time I have reviewed all of these areas, I have a plan together of what I need to accomplish today.
“Always be prepared…”
Preparation is one of the biggest secrets of time management. It is the secret formula. The special sauce.
Preparation is the action part of getting ready. It involves actually doing to get ready.
This is the part that most people don’t do. Some people will plan their activities and todos, but few actually do the pre-work to be ready. I call this “doing your homework.” The majority of people stop doing their homework after they graduate, and that is part of the issue.
Preparing, by doing your homework:
- Appointments – gathering the necessary items. Ever show up to the doctor or DMV without all your paperwork?
- Meetings – Reading the agenda and reviewing documents in advance. You will find your meetings are more productive and shorter in length.
- Tasks – Ensuring you have the items required to complete. You will not try to do a task only to discover that the information you need is sitting on your desk at home.
Preparation is key to increased productivity throughout your day. As you progress, you will even find that many of your obligations resolve themselves during your prep session.
Planning and preparing… you will scare people. 🙂
Getting ready for your day will not only increase your efficiency, but also reduce stress. Planning is good. Preparing is better.
If you put this into practice with discipline, you will quickly discover that you will scare your friends, family, and co-workers. It does not take long for people to notice that you are “ready for anything.”
It only took 2 times of walking into a meeting at work with the documents all marked up in red pen to get the attention of my co-workers. They knew if they were in a meeting with me, they might want to do a little preparation of their own. 🙂