It’s ‘I’ day and I’ve got a quick one for you:
The Index Card Process for Focus and Productivity
I have been doing this for years and was stoked to hear it mentioned during a podcast on productivity I was listening to a while back.
Every night, after you shut down your work for the day, grab an index card (or a half-sheet of paper, or a post-it note). Take a moment and hand write three things that you need to accomplish tomorrow. Number them, in order of priority – #1 being the one that you must do first thing tomorrow. Put the card on your keyboard.
These are your morning tasks, and you’re not allowed to do anything else before these tasks are done.
Once you get these three things completed tomorrow, you can check email, get online with social media, check voice mail, etc. By the way, your morning tasks don’t have to be colossal undertakings. They just need to be the things you must get done first. Set yourself up for success by being real about it. My three things are sometimes a writing goal, a phone call, and making the appointments for my dogs at the vet.
Hand writing a list of morning tasks does two things:
- Each Night: It clears my head so I get settle my mind and rest, knowing I have my morning set for the important things tomorrow.
- Each Morning: It forces me to focus at a time when the house is quiet and I am my most productive.
It’s the simplest thing, but it really helps make those first few hours at your desk quite productive! It’s a very simple habit to form, and it makes you feel great. There’s nothing like sitting down, banging out your three things, crossing them off the master list, and being free to move on to the next order of business.