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Setting Tomorrow up to Win

Setting Tomorrow up to Win

I wake with anywhere between thirty-five to a hundred and fifty legitimate emails in my in-box. A voice-mail or two. A honey-do list (I love you babe). And my IM flashes the minute I log on. The day begins anew with the urgent constantly pulling my attention. So how do you make sure that the important is not overwhelmed by the urgent? The answer lies in an old Jewish custom.

According to Jewish law, each day begins as the sun sets below the horizon. Think about it. What makes more sense: for a new day to begin when the old day ends or at some random time in the middle of the night after you passed out? The implications are many.

I have to say, from the standpoint of productivity it’s sheer genius. In the still of the night, when the phone is no longer ringing, my email box is empty and I can hear myself think, I prepare for the following day. I review the list of all our projects, our team, our company goals and my personal goals. I make a simple list of the most important things to accomplish. I keep it short, clear and achievable knowing what my calendar looks like. Then I go to bed.

I find that I am most awake at the end of the day and am pretty groggy when I wake up. If the planning and hard thinking has already been done, I can act. My first act in the morning is to review that list. It focuses me. When I forget to do this, I spend a good part of my morning trying to forge the flood on new emergencies and rarely make it to what’s important. Tom, one of the most influential mentors in my life, has often repeated that he believes most businesses fail due to distractions. The owner fails to pay attention to the most important thing they could be doing to move their business forward and get distracted with a constant stream of emergencies. In a freelancer’s world, the urgent often claims the vast portion of our attention. If we don’t make sure the important things get done, they rarely do. So make your list each evening and check it twice. Then use it as a template for the following day.

Tomorrow’s list?

Ok, here goes:

  • Review the final beta test of the new Facebook app
  • Go through Adriano’s list and make sure changes are implemented
  • Review progress with Aaron and set timeline expectations for Shawn’s project
  • Finish the site architecture docs for SPS
  • Transfer money to our personal tax account
  • Make sure Justin (welcome to the team – our newest contractor) is ready to get started
  • Find out if the offer on the house was accepted (we are trying to buy a place)
  • Be clear headed and available by 6:30pm for date night (woohoo)

Good night everyone. May you achieve what is important to you.