Begin Before Bed

This isn’t new advice, but it definitely needs reinforcing from time to time.

Not only do you need to close off your day before going to bed, you need to begin the next one. The key to doing that without having tomorrow weigh on your mind as you try to sleep is to begin the next day before closing out the current one.

Here’s how I do that.

  • I review my task managers and make sure I’ve closed all the loops for the day and moved everything that needs moving to the future. Essentially, I recalibrate both the day that’s about to end and do the same for the days to come.
  • I then look at the big things I know I want to focus on the next day and write them down, placing the paper next to my computer, upside down so that I don’t see the items (I’ll turn the paper over the next morning, of course). The most I’ll write down is three tasks.1 I’ll get all of that information from my task manager before I close it down for the day.
  • I’ll open Day One on my MacBook Air and journal to wrap things up. Journaling is the last thing I do before I end my day.
  • I’ll close my MacBook Air and my desk. Work is done for the day. Now I can read a book, watch television for a bit, or whatever I like before I go to bed.
  • When I do hit the sack, I place my iPhone under my fitted sheet with Sleep Cycle running to make sure I get up around the time I need to the next day.

If you want to free your mind before bed — and get a jumpstart on what you really need (and want) to do the next day — then you need to not only close out today right, but you need to begin tomorrow as part of that daily wrap-up.

Indeed, you need to begin before bed.

Photo credit: ljweb via SXC.HU

1 Alternatively, I’ll write down one project and list no more than three tasks below it that are essential to moving that project forward.