Habit of the month June: Do a daily review

By johannatime On June 1, 2015 Under The Habit of the Month


The habit of this month is yet another simple way to improve your productivity, tackle procrastination and prevent overwhelm. By embracing this habit, you’ll build in some structure to wrap up your day and prepare for the next. And because it is a very small effort, performed daily, it is a great habit that will not take a lot of energy and time to adopt. This may even be the easiest habit to implement that I have introduced thus far.

The daily review in 3 steps

Unlike the weekly review, I discussed earlier, doing a daily review will only cost you a short moment at the end of each day, and it will bring you a lot of focus and momentum for the next. I recommend you just try it for a month without questioning why, because that will be clear soon. You do a daily review towards the end of your day in order to prepare for the next, no matter if it is a weekday or a weekend. A typical daily review is done in the following steps:

1) From the top of your head, are there any burning issues that need to be clarified before you go to bed tonight? They don’t need to get done now, only clarified, so you can sleep! Sometimes, these include things that need to be sorted out tomorrow. Make a believable plan to have them sorted, so they will not haunt your dreams.

Daily review or not, it calms your mind to capture everything and anything that has your attention in a trusted place anyway, so it will not wander around your consciousness when you try to concentrate on whatever is on your plate.

2) Take a good look at your calendar: when do you have to be where and with whom? Have you scheduled any travel time? And do you need any particular materials for your meeting? Then prepare for your meetings. Print documents if you have to, find addresses and figure out how to get there.

Note for success: Only write day and time specific commitments in your calendar and leave other actions, ambitions and activities that could be done at other moments, too, for your to do list. Actions do not belong in your calendar. It is fine to block out time for doing your actions, but then take those commitments as seriously as you take the other meetings!

3) How much time have you got in between your meetings tomorrow? Are there any significant windows of discretionary time where you could get some work done? If so, decide on the tasks that you’d like to get done tomorrow.

Suggestion: Challenge yourself to eat a frog tomorrow, if your calendar lets you. Are there any unpleasant tasks sitting on your to do list? Commit to tackling one tomorrow first thing. Don’t commit to more than one frog at first. It’ll be too overwhelming.

Why decide now for your commitments and not tomorrow?

  1. Because first of all: you’ll sleep better if you have a plan. If you don’t have a plan, your subconscious brain will try and make it up while you try to sleep.
  2. Another important reason: making decisions is very energy consuming. When you do that at the end of the day, you can go to sleep soon. Doing it in the morning drains your energy for that important time of the day.
  3. By making these decisions in the evening, when you have no time ahead of you to do things, you tackle overwhelm that’s often caused by the endless options you have in the morning.
  4. And last: By bypassing this paralysis of overwhelm, you create momentum to be very productive first thing in the morning. Before you check your e-mail preferably!

So give this easy habit a try and please share with me how you’re going!

Johanna Jansen

  • […] an informed and realistic choice of the tasks you will spend your limited time on. Doing a daily review helps a lot to make a sensible to do list, and then singletask your way through that […]

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