Are you an early bird or a night owl? Is your brain fresher in the morning or are you unable to even contemplate picking up a pen until you’ve at least had that mandatory first cup of coffee?
The ‘when’ all comes down to preference, but the ‘what’ should be standard – always plan your next day before it begins for maximum productivity and reduced stress.
Me – I’m a morning person all the way. There isn’t anything interesting enough on television for me to sit through the commercials that I can’t wait to upload to On Demand so I’m basically in bed by 9pm. I’m also up between 5-5:30am (I did say I was a morning person, didn’t I??) So, after I’m up, checked my feeds, did 25 squats, crunches, pushups (I’m talking about a ‘perfect world’ morning here!) showered and hair & makeup done, I get a large tumbler of ice water (or that blessed first cup of coffee if I prepped it the night before in the coffee-maker) and sit down in my home office with my planner.
Here’s what I do.
Check Monthly Spread: Events that are date/time generated (appointments, meetings, birthdays, etc) go here. For the ones I physically have to be at, I highlight in yellow. Those are then transferred to my weekly spread. This may be redundant to some to have it in two places, but my planner is pretty much opened to my weekly all day so I always ‘see’ it.
Check Google Calendar: If I have an appointment, meeting, or need to leave the house to pick up something by a certain time, etc. I put these in Google Calendar with a 30 and 15 minute notification alarm. Sometimes at work I’m not able to keep my planner open and need an audio reminder. I make sure that anything I have for that day has an alarm set – just in case!
Go To Weekly Pages: What’s written on those pages are the life-blood of my planner and these pages are the heart. Anything I must do – whether an errand, phone call, laundry, meet someone for lunch, workout, water my shriveled basil and parsley or take down the hundredth cobweb an over-achieving, most-likely-caffeinated spider spun in the same exact place gets put here. This is my guide for the rest of the day. I use taskboxes that I check off in green as they’re done. Any unchecked boxes from the previous day(s) I’m able to see as being open. If I still want to do them, I leave them unchecked. If I don’t have to anymore, then I put an X through them. I only carry them over if I’m going into a new week.
Check My ‘Out-Box’: I use the side and secretarial pocket of my planner as my in and out boxes. I make sure that any documents (shopping lists with coupons attached, dry cleaning tickets, deposit, etc.) which accompany any actionable tasks for that day (grocery shopping, pick up dry cleaning, banking) are in the secretarial pocket – aka, my ‘out-box’ so that they’re coordinated and ready to use when I get there.
Final Double-Check: I have to call Intuit today – do I have their number either in my planner or programmed into my phone? Hub is making his famous eggplant/ricotta pizza tonight – do I have all the ingredients in-house or do I have to add anything to my shopping list? I’m meeting a new client – do I have directions to their place? There’s a marathon of some guilty-pleasure Lifetime movies On Demand Sunday afternoon. Do I have enough frozen quiche tartlets, jalapeno poppers, taquitos and fried mozzarella appetizers to fuel me through some cheesy acting? Really, you don’t want to find yourself in the middle of something only to realize you forgot an important piece of information – especially that last one 🙂