There are hundreds of ways to mark your place in a book. Some people “dog-ear” a corner while others tuck a commercially crafted marker into their books. This simple practice must save readers a trillion hours a year. If you are one of them, an easy transference of this skill might save you more than just time.
Using the notion of bookmarking is a brilliant way to capture the fluid thinking flowing today in your head so that it can kick-start your next day of work.
Here’s the idea: As you turn off your computer or shut down from work, make a note of all those important things you sense need to be accomplished tomorrow. I suggest you write each task on a sticky note – one item per note. (To better understand my reasoning behind using sticky notes versus list making watch this clip.)
Now add details to each sticky note. Write a description of where your current stream of thoughts suggest you should go next per task. Record anything you sense valuable to remember.
In the morning place yourself in front of these notes. Refresh your mind with the “breadcrumbs” you left yourself the night before in the details.
Once your mind is refreshed concerning what needs to be accomplished today, start planning. (This clip might help you plan out your day.)
Be your own best friend by bookmarking your smart ideas today so you can use them tomorrow.
Author’s Note: A big thank you goes out to Iain Hueton – entrepreneurial inventor. He recently told me of an article he read that had a similar twist on preparing yourself for tomorrow’s work. Our conversation reminded me of this bookmark practice. And it encouraged me to start using it again. Sometimes what we most need to remember comes back to us in wonderful, serendipitous ways…like side-notes in conversations. Thanks Iain for jogging my memory.
The practice of doing weekly and daily planning are imperative when we want to improve our power of focus – getting the most important things accomplished. The four-step process we advocate when using our iPhone app Today and Not Today can be applied to weekly planning.
Here’s a quick tutorial on how to use the same four-step strategy when planning out your week.
What I know about time management I have harvested through my lack of time and focus management. Many of these lessons were hard-earned.
Asking my mind to function in an abstract-random manner is easy. Asking it to move into linear thought patterns takes more effort.
It’s a good thing that I’m a gifted “connector” who can tinker with what might be un-related concepts and meld them together creating useful insights, tools, and strategies.
I was able to take my hard-earned knowledge from time management, and blend it with the neuroscience concepts I learned as an educator. I took the notion of left and right brain facilitation and added my creative means of staying on focus and the outcome produced the planning tool known as Today and Not Today.
Recently a client asked to me share with him the background and thinking that birthed this tool. So, I spent about eight minutes and in a lucid stream of consciousness gave him what he asked for.
Luckily, he recorded our conversation. And because he is a generous man, he agreed that I could share this information with you.
He and I hope that it will prove useful as you work to enhance your daily and weekly planning.
Many people utilize list making as part of their time and focus management strategy. Lists are great tools. Making one can relieve an over-burdened mind. However, there is an inherent flaw associated with list-making. Those things that come out of our heads and onto the list typically fall out in random order. And a list by nature is hierarchical. Therefore those items that dump out first and land at the top of a list have a built-in association with higher importance no matter if they deserve it or not.
One way to iron out the flaw when making your “to-do-list” is to make it first on sticky notes. Limit one item per note. Then when everything is out of your head, put them into the sequence that makes the most sense to you.
Another way to outsmart the flaw of lists is to use my iPhone app as shown in the movie below.
I have come to understand as you may have as well that there is never enough time to do everything. However, there always seems to be enough time to focus on the most critical things. This is one of the reasons I have created the Today and Not Today i-phone app. It is the reason that we created this animation about using a planner. This concept is the reason that no matter who I coach and why they come to me for coaching, we usually end up working on some element of time management.
Time is part of life. Managing it well usually equates to success. So this month I’m going to share the concepts I apply to stay on top of all the stuff I have to do. I hope this handful of items helps you as well:
1) Learn what “enough” means to you. Just as I mentioned above, we don’t have time for everything yet we generally have time for the critical few things that need to be done each day or each week. Focus on those things first and foremost.
2) Plan. I usually take five to ten minutes each morning to plan out the strategy for my day. I don’t use elaborate plans. I simply determine what has to be completed today or else. I prioritize these few items and make time in my schedule to get them completed.
3) Know the difference between planning and scheduling. You’ll need both. Planning means you outline what needs to be done. Scheduling means you know when things are to happen and when tasks are going to get done.
4) Stick with your plan. I admit that I only plan well about four of five days out of each week and I only plan well about 40 of 52 weeks a year. However, I get the most important things done each year because I have enough discipline to stick to my plans about 80% of the time.
There you have it. I’d love to learn what your best time management practices are. Please feel free to post your thoughts here.
After six years of experimenting and tweaking and after six years of learning better how to help myself and my creative clients stay focused, the Today and Not Today app. is here!
That’s right. We just released our first i-phone app. This tool is designed to support you as you cut through the chaos – that mass of I have to do’s floating around in your head competing for your attention.
The key concept here is:
We will never, ever, ever have enough time to do everything on our list. However, we will almost always have enough time to do the few critical items that must be completed today. The trick is to clarify what things can wait and what things cannot.
If you want assistance in cutting through the chaos, Today and Not Today is for you. Download it on any i-pad, i-touch, or i-phone.