Make it tomorrow

Make it tomorrow

Let’s talk a little bit about time management, combining the approaches of Stephen Covey and Mark Foster. The methodologies of these authors will be useful to anyone who knows the pressure of too many cases and he can’t keep up.

Mode of the day

Early morning is the best time for intellectual activity, and we are talking about really early functioning – about 4: 00 a.m. In eastern philosophy this time is called “Brahma-Muhurta”. Eastern sages claim that there are no owls, only”abnormal larks”. If we have a task ahead of us-to study important material or write an article without being distracted by the environment, the fourth hour is the best for this. The brain then works more efficiently, focusing more easily on one specific task: learning a language, an IT project or writing a book.

How do you wake up at this early hour?

Early awakening begins in the evening and consists of the following activities:

  • we do not overeat at night (especially grain products);

  • we plan our day: what exactly we want to do in the morning and define the reason why we need to get up;

  • we go to bed early. The question of the hours of sleep we need is individual, most often seven hours is enough for us.

What do we do?

According to Stephen Covey’s book,” 7 Habits of effective action ” all tasks can be divided into 4 groups according to two parameters: term and degree of validity.

Invalid cases

We can spend our lives focusing on the little things.

For example: a family member called and said that he wanted to immediately set up an online store and sell honey. This is a matter of fact not urgent, that’s why we can temporarily refuse to cooperate. 🙂 Another situation: we receive a letter with a proposal to participate in the test, determining the level of IQ at a discount of 20%, but to use it, we should solve the test (and therefore also pay) within 3 hours. The offer, of course, is limited. This situation is an example of tasks unimportant, but urgent.

I observed the following situation in one of my workplaces. Every day, project manager executed a SQL query, saved it in CSV format, and sent it by e-mail. For her, this task was not it was important, but it was urgent. Looking at the diagram, we can immediately come to the conclusion: automation. Indeed, when I became responsible for doing this, within a few days I automated it. The process did not distract me because,, I entrusted ” go Windows scheduler.

Important tasks

Car owners face a situation when the means of transport breaks down. In most cases, before the trouble happens, the car, “gives us signals”. For example-a knock in the right wheel. We can ignore it, or immediately turn to the service. At the initial stage, such a task refers to the category ,“important,” but”not urgent.”: the car drives. However, sooner or later the problem will develop and there will be a moment when the car finally breaks down. The task becomes serious and urgent.

Another example-being a developer, we can work on many things independently, achieving the highest possible quality. However, at the same time, we do not have time for really interesting tasks.

Important and non-urgent task – teaching new apprentices. If we do not do this, we will face the problem of getting a specialist to support a serious project in the future, because we ourselves will be busy with another, more responsible task.

The general rule is as follows: we don’t take on unimportant cases at all, or we delegate them. We’re getting rid of them as much as we can. We have important and urgent matters under control. Important and non-urgent matters are dealt with first, devoting a few hours a day to them. This category includes work on their own skills, participation in the upbringing of children, family leave, participation in social life.

How to get rid of small tasks?

In his book,” Do it tomorrow ” Mark Foster states that the first thing we have to do is stop for a moment in a place and gathering all the cases into, one bag”. Some can be ignored and even avoided, some can be delegated, and the rest can be taken care of by ourselves if we are unable to delegate. The main goal, however, is to get as many tasks out of the bag as possible. At a time when we are engaged in tidying things up, we do not take on new responsibilities: we take a day off, leave, turn off the phone.

Buffer: do it tomorrow

When in normal mode we get another task, we are inclined to take it immediately, or at least carefully read it. A colleague sent a link-we check. My wife says we have to go to my son’s school to explain to the teachers that he is a vegetarian-we do that.

Mark Foster says that in such a situation, we need a “buffer” to which we will postpone all tasks. This buffer is called “tomorrow”. Whatever we don’t get today, we postpone it until tomorrow (or we don’t agree to it if it’s not important enough). A colleague asks to send a report-tomorrow. My wife called and asked you to buy tickets-okay, tomorrow. Customer asks for a change on the website-no problem, tomorrow.

This is how we got the to-do list for tomorrow, and today we are dealing with the things that came to us yesterday. Sometimes it can happen that we do not get everything in a set time, and then the excess of tasks will pass on the day after tomorrow.

We must observe one important rule: the list of tasks for today is closed. If we have planned a day, we cannot add new entries there-we mark the excess with the label “tomorrow”. Of course, there are situations when we have to react urgently-an accident, a collision, a climatic disaster.

Let us use this principle wisely.

What if the to-do list for today is closed? Can we move tasks to the basket “the day after tomorrow”? Of course. Tomorrow-it’s just a buffer of minimum length. We can have tasks that we should perform on a specific day, and then making a buffer at the right time will be absolutely normal.

Can you plan the whole week?

Stephen Corvey says it’s possible, even necessary. How to combine this advice with the author’s vision of the book, “do it tomorrow”? Let’s plan a week, but not loading it in full. One or two important tasks a week is enough, the rest will come by itself. If we leave the free hours between the plans for the week, we can easily use them for unscheduled cases.

Current initiative

Foster introduces the concept of “ongoing initiative”. These are activities that we perform on a daily basis-a useful project or Spanish lessons. Most likely, we will not be able to define specific tasks within these activities, so we put the item “Spanish” in the plan of the day. It will be repeated every day, and we will take pleasure every day in ticking it off the list. By the way, this is a good incentive to maintain the habit.

Own and others ‘ work

If we have trouble getting through the entire daily list, even according to the Corvey-foster system, it means that we are not doing our own work. In the following way, we can distinguish her work from the one that does not belong to us.

He’s developing his own business or career. Distracts, does not allow you to focus on business or career development.
Paid. Unpaid.
It brings noticeable benefits. Ne brings noticeable benefits.
He’s using our abilities to the fullest. He’s not using his powers to the fullest.
It takes you out of your comfort zone. We’re staying in the comfort zone.
It’s a challenge. It’s easy.
A job that only we can do. A job anyone can do.

In short: we focus only on those tasks that no one else can do.


Technically, it’s easiest to write in a notebook. This is normal, but not always convenient: we need to have a notebook with us, remember to write tasks and to look at it. You should always have it with you. A computer or phone can be a more convenient replacement using:

  • Google Calendar to schedule tasks, tied to a specific hour. Here we systematize meetings, going to the movies, birthdays.

  • Trello, Asana or nozbe. We create a panel, synchronize it with calendars where we plan tomorrow’s day. In addition, tasks can be grouped by category: private, work, society, friends. Just like Stephen Covey advised.

I think these tools should be enough to lead a peaceful life. The methods are not the only ideal ones, but they certainly work and are worth knowing about.

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