Whether looking to boost your productivity or find a new way to rescue yourself from overwhelm, there’s one piece of advice I give everyone – bookend your days.
What does bookending your days entail?
Simply put, bookending means you check in with your task management systems at the beginning and end of your day. Your task management system could be a physical planner, digital calendar, or wall of post-it notes. Whatever your style, checking in to review and update your system gives you a built-in opportunity to stay on track and in tune.
Here are three things you can do during your bookending to keep your tasks up to date and your stress low:
Braindump tasks that may not have made their way onto the list.
Throughout the day, in our evening routines, and in our morning routines, we accumulate various tasks that may not make their way into our task systems because, well, life happens. Take a brief moment to enter in all the “I should” or “I can’t forget to” thoughts that floated in.
Identify priorities and update due dates.
Specifically for the end of the day, if something didn’t get done during the day, adjust the due date to the next feasible expected date of completion. Also, take a moment to evaluate your priorities. Does your task list still accurately reflect was is needed from you on this particular day? If not, adjust accordingly.
Close completed or no longer needed items to keep your list current.
You don’t have to live in your task list to make the most of it. During your bookend time, close out what you’ve completed and delete anything that is no longer needed. Just because you wrote it down once doesn’t mean you absolutely have to do it. (This is a cornerstone principle of decluttering your task list.)
The key to bookending and reaping its benefits is to build the habit and be consistent. This keeps your system up to date and keeps you focused on your true priorities. It also allows you to make informed negotiations about your time and energy, which is essential to setting boundaries.
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