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Getting Things Done

Our GTD® podcasts are here to support you at every stage of your GTD practice. You will hear David Allen and others interviewing people from all walks of life about their journey with GTD, from beginners to those who have been at it for years. The podcasts include personal and professional stories, as well as practical tips about GTD systems for desktop and mobile, using apps and paper. Start listening now and you'll be well on your way to stress-free productivity.
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May 3, 2020

Two-minute Tips for Turbulent Times with David Allen
The Night Before

People have often interviewed or asked me, How do I spend my day? What kind of rituals do I have to sort of stay on top of my game on a consistent basis? The one thing that I really do consistently, and I share with people is what I call "My day starts the night before”.

Before I go to bed, or sometime in the evening what I do is pull up my calendar and look at the next 1, 2, 3 days, maybe the week. Just to get a sense of, what does the landscape look like? In terms of the hard landscape, the things I'm committed to have to do, I need to be in that meeting, that virtual meeting at 3 o'clock, I need to be able to tomorrow, to make sure to that I pick up X Y Z, whatever.

So, I do that the night before. First of all, because I love to sleep, It allows me to sleep as long as I can before I actually have to do something. Also, I'm not surprised when I get into my day. There are enough surprises we have to deal with. I want to be able to tee myself up, or get myself prepared, before I go to sleep.

I think, my hypothesis is that overnight, in the sleep state, that gives us an opportunity to integrate the stuff and make us feel more comfortable in the landscape, in terms of how we're engaging with ourselves. I highly recommend it, if you're not doing it already, maybe you are but that every evening you sit down, take a look at the next day, 2, 3, maybe the week.

Take a look at the forest you're managing, instead of just hugging the trees. and allow yourself to then relax and sleep, as best and as long as can, or as much as you need to. And then make sure your day is not a surprise.

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