Tipsheet: Prep the Night Before

Prep the Night Before

How often have you booked an early morning meeting (or airplane
flight), and needed to be out the door far earlier than normal? Or stressed over
a critical meeting, hoping that everything will turn out right?

One of the most powerful concepts in time management (and in
project management) is the concept of prep the night before. There is a
lot beneath this seemingly simple concept:

  • At night, when you have the momentum, put together a to-do
    list for the next morning; you’ll be ready to start with a bang.
  • Avoid risks by doing as much as possible beforehand: who
    knows what might happen that morning?
  • And yes, remember to choose your clothes the night before: it
    can save you precious time when you wake up.

Furthermore, when you "sleep on it" – when you
split tasks between two days – there is an opportunity to improve the quality of
your work. This tipsheet and blog, for example, is rarely written in one
sitting: it’s written on a Monday, and edited/posted the next day. (Too often,
the immediacy of Social Media causes us to forget about prep the night before.

On the other hand, there may be some activities that are best
done first thing in the morning – checking the news falls into this category.
Everything has its proper time, but we are creatures of habit – and sometimes
our habits aren’t as good as they could be.

This week’s action item: Look at your calendar
over the last seven days. What were the last few things you did each evening,
and what are the first few things you did each morning? Over the next seven
days, rearrange your to-do list to make sure that you are doing the right things
at the right times. Prepping the night before means that you’ll be more prepared
the morning after – something others will notice immediately.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to
to register.

Randall Craig

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Randall Craig has founded several successful start-ups, held a long-time position at a “big-four” consulting firm, and was an executive at an American public company. He currently serves as the 108 ideaspace CEO and chief strategist. Randall has been advising on digital strategy since 1994: he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail’s GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations.

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