Be More Productive By Preparing for Tomorrow, Today

Be More Productive By Preparing for Tomorrow, Today

Laura E. Hall
May 2, 2011

Every morning, we drag ourselves to our desk, coffee cup in hand, sit down, turn everything on, and wait for our brains to wake up. But we've discovered a way to get ourselves going a lot faster, and it sets the tone for the entire day of productive work. Check out our tips below.

Our newly discovered secret? Lay out the desktop surface the night before.

It may seem a bit obvious, and kudos to you if you've figured this out already. We've long been advocates of clearing away clutter at the end of the day, to save time in the morning. But we have only recently discovered the joys of preparing our stations in advance. Here are our tips:

1. Sort Your To-Do List
Part of our job is planning out our weekly tasks and estimating the number of hours they'll take, then logging them. That's gotten us into the habit of listing tasks by day and then by deadline. By making out this list at the end of the workday before, instead of the morning of, we can start the next day with clearly defined goals and a lot less worry and combing through email.

2. Set Up the Desktop
Instead of just clearing all of our clutter or paperwork in order to have a perfectly pristine desktop, we've started prepping it for the next day by leaving out a few select supplies. Paper and pen are ready to go by the computer keyboard; since we always need them, there's no point putting them away for the sake of a clean desktop surface just to take them out again. Your planner and any important files, identified already by the creation of the to-do list in the step above, are laid out ready to look at first thing. This desk by Flickr user huziyue is a great example of advanced prep. We also like to leave out our teacup with a teabag in it, so we don't even have to dig around.

3. Streamline The Rest
There are lots of ways to streamline your morning routine in other ways, and we're big fans of this process. We set up our coffee machine with water and grounds the night before, with two mugs beside it. With a timer or a press of the button while still bleary-eyed, the coffee is made just when we've woken up enough to really need it.

Do you have any tips for prepping your work area in advance to maximize productivity the next day? Share them in the comments below!

(Image: Flickr member polymath blues licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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