Plan for tomorrow

One thing that is key for your career growth is your capacity of getting things done. I, over the years, have developed a system which helps me keep highly productive. In this article, I'll go over a couple of hacks that help me keep productive and focussed on the tasks I really need to get done.

One of my favorite hacks is a combination of two habits; note taking, and planning. I'll explain the overall process I go through breifly over this article and maybe dive into more depth in another article.

Note Taking

This seemingly simple thing will change your life. It can either ruin it or make it incredibly easier depending on which habit you form.

There are hundreds of note taking methods out there - if you are wondering what I am talking about, just google note taking methodologies and you'll be surprised by all the hacks, systems, methods, and articles on the subject.

While not an expert in the subject, I've found a model that suits me particularly well.

Very briefly, i jot down bullet points of things I judge important. Little condensed versions of whatever was said. I also add some sort of "general topic" to each bullet point so I can later organize them if I need to. For example: if in a meeting about a product we are talking about a marketing campagin that has technical requirements, I'll not down the main requirements discussed with a [tech] label or a [mkt] label depending on whatever I am noting down.

Also, another very important detail is that I contextualize my notes. I have one document for each day. I break it down into a series of smaller sections. Each meeting/discussion has a title (Product Mkt X-factor Campaing), and a very brief context intro paragraph: "outline the mkt strategy and technical requirements for the x-facto campagin."

Please feel free to adjust to your needs this model. I'd like to point out that I found this to be the bare minimum I need to do to keep my mind organized.

Summarize and Plan

At the end of every day, almost as a ritual for "ending my work day", I go through my document. I look at the meetings and discussions I had over the day. I add an * to the points that require my attention.

I open up a new document, with the next working day's date and create a simple "toDo/toFollow" list.

I'll go through today's "toDo/toFollow" list and see what has not been done. If it's something important that I really do need to look at, I'll copy it to tomorrows list, if not, I'll add it to some online list of things to do so I don't loose track of it for the future.

Next, I'll go through my notes, looking at all the ones I marked with an *. I copy or summarize them in tomorrow's ToDo list.

Finally, I go through the list - anything that is simple and quick (under 10min of attention) I throw to the top of the list. I get the rest of the items and order them in the following criteria: highest gain, lowest effort.

Then I close off my day.

Summing it up

This is my routine in a easy replicable step by step list:

  1. Open the doc with today's date.
  2. if you have any todo/tofollow - act on whatever you can.
  3. if you are going to a meeting/discussion, create a title and brief summary of what this is