Start Your Day the Day Before
For some of us, Mondays can be a bear. We look at the week stretched out before us with its opportunities, goals, chores and hassles. While the hyper-efficient among us go straight to work, clearing out our inboxes, checking off to-do’s and making consistent progress toward greater goals, the rest of us stare blankly at our lists or grab thimbles of water to put out the myriad fires in our lives, never getting around to what’s really important. If we are to believe that our lives are a composition of moments, then wasted moments–ones spent engaged in unintentional activities–make a wasted life (sorry to get so heavy).
One way of avoiding this pitfall is to plan our days the night before. According to Jack Canfield, this strategy affords us something morning planning doesn’t:
- When we plan our days the night before, we are not reacting to immediate situations. We are able to look objectively at our days and plan things out divorced from the pressures of urgent situations.
- When we plan our days the night before, Canfield says our unconscious and subconscious minds use the nighttime to figure out how to make our plans a reality. He says it’s like having an employee working for us all night long.
We might add that this form of planning allows us to make a balance sheet of the day that just passed, assessing what worked and what didn’t and consider how we might make improvements.
It could be said that unconsciously planning your next day before it begins is not terribly zen. Just be present. But in practice, many of us will fret about tomorrow anyway. Why not take a little time to transform free-floating anxiety into constructive action?
Canfield says employing this plan will make you very, very successful. Whether success looks like a job promotion or having more time to spend with your family, a tiny bit of forethought can help us string together a succession of meaningful moments and, by extension, make a more meaningful life.