Just like the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, so too does getting your shit together. You take it one step and one day at a time. If you’ve followed my “Start Here” series, you’ll already know what I mean.
One of the first things I started doing when I decided to get my shit together was to plan out my days the night before. (Being a list-lover and a natural organiser, this wasn’t exactly difficult but hey, you’ve gotta work with what you’ve got.)
Do I do it every day? Nope. Do I notice a massive increase in my productivity when I do get it done? Yup.
So I’ll take you through it, following my “A PROPOS” plan (just so I can smugly prove to you how effective it is and how it covers most areas of your life.)
- A – ASSESS
The first thing you need to do is sit down in the evening and write down everything you have to do the following day and everything you’ll need to do it. Right now, it doesn’t matter how you jot it down (this isn’t the time for a paper vs. digital debate), just get it out of your head.
- P – PURGE
Now go ahead and get rid of anything unnecessary on that list. Just the quick things that you immediately know you won’t have time for, or would make more sense doing on a different day.
- R – RE-ASSESS
Now go back through what’s left and make sure you’ve captured everything. Yes, you have to cook dinner, but do you have enough potatoes? (If you’re Irish, the answer is always no.) Yes, you have that appointment, but do you have the address? And enough bus fare/petrol to get you there and back? Do you need to bring anything? And don’t forget to leave time for the everyday stuff, like eating. My plans always used to fall apart when I realised I’d stuffed my day with work, and left no time for showering, preparing a meal, getting ready… A right eejit I was.
- O – ORGANISE
Now organise that list in whatever way makes most sense to you. The first thing to do is to prioritise. Your “have to dos” should come before your “would like to dos”. So picking the kids up from school is a priority, but painting your toenails is not. (Unless you’re a yummy mummy, in which case the latter MUST be done before the former.) I like to slot them into time segments (with LOADS of buffer room to allow for unforeseen events, like Scout suddenly deciding that she doesn’t want to have a nap. Or Facebook suddenly taking MUCH longer to check than I’d anticipated. Ahem).
- P – PUT SYSTEM IN PLACE
Re-write your list if you must, and go gather all the things you’ll need. That includes outfits, lunches, appointment cards, phone numbers, car keys, shopping lists, umbrella… Whatever. Put them where you’ll remember them. (For things like lunches that have to be refrigerated, or phones that need to be charged overnight, consider leaving a sticky note on your bag to remind you to grab them before you go.)
- O – OBSERVE SYSTEM
When you wake up the next day, see how well the system works. Was there something you forgot, or are you now a well-oiled morning machine? How much more relaxed do you feel?
- S – STIR SHIT UP
If you forgot something, make a note for next time. If breaking the list up into time segments didn’t work for you, try a different approach. If you still found that you were rushed, add in more buffer time.
Long story short, 15 minutes spent planning in the evening saves you untold time and energy the following day. (If that’s the way financial investing worked, I’d be minted.) Congratulations, you’ve just spent one day with your shit together. Now how about making it two, yeah?
Do you do this already? Does it work for you? Any tips to add?