10 minute recipe for a successful day

Ingredients

  • 10 minutes
  • 1 timer
  • 2 pens (different colors, red and blue are nice)
  • 1 scrap sheet
  • 1 notebook

Preparation

Sit somewhere comfortable with a scrapsheet and a pen. Set the timer to 5 minutes. Close your eyes and think of 3 life areas you want to prioritize during the coming 6 to 12 months. Open your eyes and take brief notes on your scrap sheet. I have: health, relationships and work.

Done? Set the timer to 5 minutes again.

Now, for each of these 3 life areas, come up with 1 concrete action you can take tomorrow. Make sure it’s actually finishable tomorrow. (Yes I wrote ‘finishable’. I’m allowed to because I’m Belgian.)

If it’s not finishable (I looked it up, apparently it’s an actual word!), then it’s a project you need to chop into smaller chunks. For now, just pick the first finishable chunk. (FI-NI-SHU-BULL!)

Take your notebook and red pen. On a blank sheet, write down tomorrow’s date, followed by your 3 priorities for that day, preceded by their corresponding life areas, in the order they are most likely to get done. One more thing : write them down as if you have already finished them.

No it’s not complicated, have a look:

Friday February 28th 2014

  1. Work: I have published my weekly blogpost for Omnipleasant.
  2. Health: I have practiced my daily hour of yoga.
  3. Relations: My wife and I have planned a meetup with friends and family.

Now, very important: block out time on your calendar tomorrow for these 3 actions, and reserve a smaller block of time later for other stuff that comes up.

Breakfast Of Champions

Your 3 priorities are best served first thing in the morning. Before all distractions break loose. While you work on them, stick to single tasking. (Taking breaks like a boss helps.) When something else comes up, postpone it. Jot it down at the bottom of your notebook with your blue pen, you’ll get to it later. When you finish a priority, cross it out, do a little victory dance and move on to the next.

I usually work on my priorities (the red notes in the picture) from 8 to 11, before I take an hour to deal with stuff that came up during the morning (the blue notes).

Why prepare in the evening and serve in the morning?

If you’re a morning person like me, this makes sense. In the evening my creative superpowers are mostly dormant, but I still have energy to review my day, plan for tomorrow, empty my inbox, answer e-mails …

It’s great to be able to jump right in at the start of the day. My past self has already done the thinking the evening before. Now I don’t have to waste time and energy on making decisions, procrastinating and whatnot. This leaves more room for creativity and focus. Divide and conquer!

This Lift habit helps.

Enjoy!

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