A Formula for the Best Day Ever PT. II
It’s ridiculous to think your best day is an accidental collision of fortunate events. I admit that good accidents might happen – if you wait long enough. But why wait?
End your day on a good note if you want to sing tomorrow.
How to begin your best day tonight.
#1. Rest is the foundation for success. (Part 1)
#2. End work when things are going good.
Stop work before you’re exhausted, stuck, or frustrated.
Hemingway said: “Stop when you are going good.”
In an interview with George Plimpton, Hemingway said, “You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again.”
#3. Brain Dump at the end of the day.
Use pen and paper to:
- Record one or two points of gratitude.
- Set one must-do for tomorrow. Tomorrow is unpredictable. Choose one thing you must do unless the house burns down.
- Make a list of things that need to be addressed. Focus on tomorrow, not next week. Give your brain permission to relax. List whatever comes to mind. You aren’t committing to follow-through on everything on your list.
#4. Shut down and declutter.
- Shut down everything on your computer and power it down.
- Clean off your desk. Throw away scraps of paper. Hide sticky notes. Give yourself a clean environment to begin your day.
- Place your journal or notepad and pen on the corner of your desk. They’re waiting for your morning routine. (Watch for Pt. III.)
End-of-day habits predict the quality of tomorrow.
What end-of-day habits sabotage tomorrow?
What end-of-day habits help set the stage for a great day tomorrow?
4 Creative ways to Start Your Day | Leadership Freak
5 Ways to End Every Day With a Positive Attitude | Inc.com
How to End Your Day on a Positive Note (entrepreneur.com)
This really resonates with me. I have better days when I make sure I get good sleep, list out my top priorities for the next day, and clean up my desk so the next day is a fresh start. I may need to implement some of these ideas, especially the idea about writing. Related to this, I paint as a hobby. I picked up from someone a long time ago that if you want to create art, set the stage the day before. Kind of like if you want to run more, set your shoes by the door, so all you need to do is put them on. For painting, it sometimes helps to have all the materials out and ready to go, maybe some ideas on what your doing, so you’re not just staring at a blank canvas. I can see that translating well for writing. There’s been many a morning lately where I’m spending a lot of time staring at a blank Word doc, or worse a lot of notes that seem overwhelming.
Thanks John. You reminded me that it’s not the work that bothers me, it’s getting ready to do the work. If things are ready to go, I’m excited to jump right in.
It is okay to give yourself permission to shut it down. I often tell this to my leadership team and I practice this as well. I do not check my phone between 7:00PM and 7:00AM. I used to wake up and start sending emails at odd hours and it unintentionally sent a message that the rest of the team had to be tuned in all of the time. I have written many drafts (and thankfully got rid of them) that just sat, sometimes for days.
One great habit to instill for our own well being is the habit of setting boundaries. I am not quite there yet, but getting closer each day.
Thanks Joseph. Your suggestion is particularly relevant for people who work from home. I succeed at this in fits and spurts. But fully endorse it.
Shut down and declutter. I’ve found success in my simple roll down of the today. Close out uncompleted work, write down where to start for the next day also very simply. Then the next day start up slowly with a routine and back at. The days go better when I do so.
Thanks Roger. The value of ritual comes clear again. Too much ritual is mundane. A little ritual is freedom.
Love it. I have started the habit of setting my desk up for the next day at the end of the day. Hiding distracting things and making obvious what I’m going to start the next. Something else that has helped me is visualizing turning off the work day and turning on my Husband and Father hat when I start my car to go home. It’s so easy for me to bring home work and not give my family what they deserve, ME.
Thanks Zeck. Glad you used the term “distracting” … High performance requires the elimination of distraction.
I recall a leader who left his work troubles at a bridge on his way home. He said they were always waiting for him when he went back to work the next day.
What end-of-day habits sabotage tomorrow? Putting off tomorrow what could have been done today. Start the day out fresh, don’t drag things on, get them done today and plan for tomorrow.
What end-of-day habits help set the stage for a great day tomorrow? Keeping work at work, not dragging anything home, I like Zech’s viewpoint “the family doesn’t deserve the work hat at home”. Be a Husband, father first at home.
Thanks Tim. Concentrate on something long enough to finish it. I suppose there are many things that can’t be completed by end of day. But finishing something may not be the same as completing the entire project.
So true, not everything can be done in a day especially large projects, so to clarify if we have tasks that take minutes compared to hours find a spot we are comfortable picking up were we left off on the larger ones and complete what can be completed to move forward on smaller ones. Granted on a project that lasts for months or years then it becomes complex, organize, organize and organize….
I am not a fan of daily decluttering. I feel like time spent putting stuff away and then taking it back out again daily is time that could be spent working on the task. I also feel like leaving work out helps me start off the next day right where I left off (I wonder if Hemingway was the same?). I totally get that some people can’t function this way, but don’t shame my mess if I’m out-producing you!
I also feel like de-cluttering is where back-burner tasks go to die (of course, some back-burner tasks should be in line for execution!). If that great idea that I jotted down but didn’t have time to pursue in the moment gets filed away, it may be forgotten and never seen again.
Thanks Jay. I’ve been in your camp most of my life. Recently, the value of clear endings and beginnings increases my effectiveness and enjoyment of work. Clear endings and beginnings help alleviate tendencies to burnout.
Some leaders may need to keep a table with stacks – things that take too long to put away. I wish you well.
Social media are designed to distract, and endless scrolling at the end of the day is disruptive to the good patterns you are recommending. I like Joseph’s practice as applied to email, and I’m setting myself the goal of doing the same with news and social media.
Thanks for jumping in, Mark. I wish you well. It seems to be a process in my life.
I so agree with Mark. Social media is designed to distract and I wish Social media had never come into play. Yes we may communicate better but we are now all so distracted and any discussions or differences of opinion just tend to get ugly which then gets us all worked up. Truth any more is only what meets one’s agenda. I am quickly working to separate any Social media checking or monitoring from any work activities and I’m also censoring any direct ties to my identity in any Social Media I’m on. Call both activities (limits at work) and identity hiding as self preservation for my sanity, my work and life focus, and my personal protection. Best to focus and maybe become more deliberate on what one does.