Friday, October 19, 2012

Morning Planning: Get Your Day Started Off Right

The morning planning session is one of the few time management techniques that just about every self-development speaker and every business coach teaches. From Anthony Robbins to Brian Tracy to David Allen, they all teach one form or another of this technique.

The first 30 minutes of your work day are the most important 30 minutes of the day. It will help shape and guide everything you do for the rest of the day. Spending just 30 minutes on planning can add many hours of productivity to your work day.

So what should you do during these 30 minutes?

Get Motivated: Remind Yourself of Your Long-Term Goal
Start by envisioning yourself having achieved a productive day. Picture yourself achieving your long-term goals for your business. Then come up with a few relevant activities for your day that will help you achieve those goals.

Scan Your Inbox
Scan your inbox for any urgent items. Anything that needs to be done today should be added to your calendar or to-do list. (This tip has some controversy -- some productivity experts recommend NOT checking your email or getting on your computer to check your inbox.)

Check Your Tasks and To-Dos
Check your task list and your to-do list. Filter it so your to-do list actually reflects what you intend to do today. Remove tasks that you're waiting on other people for; remove tasks that you can't make progress on today. When you sit down in front of your task list, you should only be looking at things you can actually take action on.

Pick Your Top Three Things to Accomplish
Choose three things you want to accomplish today. These are the three things that if you get them done today, you'll feel like your day was a success. It's fine to have many smaller tasks. But make sure you choose the three big things you'd like to get done today. Again, go back to your long-term goal. Make sure you're putting items on your task list that will help you get there.

What's Your Frog for the Day??
In his acclaimed book, "Eat That Frog," Brian Tracy talks about the benefits of tackling the most difficult thing in your day first. This helps prevent procrastination in the rest of your day and helps you get a lot more done. It also gives you a sense of success right out of the gate.

Identify your frog for the day. What's the toughest task you have to complete? What are you most likely to procrastinate about today?

Schedule In Workouts and/or Relaxation
Your schedule shouldn't be all work. At some point, you should take time to either relax or to work out. It can be at the beginning of your day, in the middle of your day or at the end, but make sure you give yourself the opportunity to recharge.

Taking the time to plan out your day early in the morning will help you manage your day better, as well as get your day started with a burst of energy. By reminding yourself why you're doing what you're doing, then tackling your frog first, you'll give yourself a powerful motivational boost that will carry you through the rest of the day.

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