When I gave a talk recently, one of the participants said:
”Yes, but if I make a to-do list instead of having everything I need scattered on my desk, how am I supposed to remember to consult it? As soon as I get to work I am absorbed by what the calendar tells me to do and by what my colleagues need me for. When I suddenly remember that I have a to-do list at all, it’s already 4 in the afternoon, and my evening is ruined.”
For you who prefer listening to reading, this post is also available as an episode of the “Done!” podcast:
When we have things to do that we are not used to doing or that we, for some reason, easily forget to do, we need to help ourselves get them done if it does not happen spontaneously. I can definitely relate to getting to work and instantly being pulled in all directions at once, and when this is the case we need to ensure that we stop and start making conscious decisions — before the entire day has suddenly gone by.
If there is just one thing you need to remember to do, you can set a reminder of some kind, but if there are several things you wish to recall — create a routine — in this case a morning routine, so that you take control of how your day plays out, instead of falling victim to circumstances and others’ will, wants and needs.
If you want to set the tone for the day first thing in the morning, then do the following:
- Take a moment to think about what you want to do more or less automatically every morning when you get to work, which you at the moment never seem to remember.
- Write down what you want to do in sequential order on a note, in a document or somewhere else where it is easily available or visible. There you go! You now have a morning routine.
- Now think of a way to remind yourself to consult the morning routine as you start your day:
- paste a note that reminds you somewhere where it will catch your eye (and let it abide by Roger’s and Milkman’s two criteria for physical reminders which I have written about in a previous edition of my newsletter Done!),
- let the IFTTT-app remind you when you arrive at the office (regardless of when you get to work),
- or think of some other way that suits you better.
More to your liking
If you set a morning routine and practice actually following it every day, your days will turn out more to your liking and your priorities will be determined consciously to a greater extent. New routines that maintain and reinforce your structure will become easier, and you will feel in control of your time since you take the reins at the very onset of your day.
What does your morning look like?
Have you defined a morning routine? If you want to, write to me and share what it contains.
(Establishing a routine is a good start, but what if you break it after a couple of weeks?)
You can get more tips like this
If you want more tips on how to create good structure at work, there are many ways to get that from me - in podcasts, videos, books, talks and other formats.