It Works: Stories From The Book

Start the day before

My client Simone loves her sleep. She’s a busy working mum who needs to take care of herself so that she can maintain her energy to get through the day — but it wasn’t always this way. She says she used to go to bed around 1 am because she was catching up on work. Then she’d get up around 6 am and get herself and the family organised with breakfast, lunches, and whatever extracurricular activities needed to happen. She always felt exhausted and never quite on top of things. So instead of talking to her about the first two hours of her day, I started with the last two hours.

I got her to block out one hour every afternoon to think about what she could do that would have an impact on the way she started the following day. Her strategy was to divide her ideas into work related and home-related categories:

Work related:

  • review today’s and start tomorrow’s to-do lists
  • mark the top three things that would have the greatest impact
  • send any quick emails or action tasks that would get tomorrow started on the right foot.

Home related:

  • prepare meals for the next day: breakfast, lunch and dinner (yes, dinner)
  • decide on everyone’s outfi t (including kids’ sports gear and so on)
  • pack bags for tomorrow
  • have the kids do their own.

After a while, everyone started pitching in and helping each other out, which began to free up Simone’s time in the mornings and re-set her usual rhythm. Over time, Simone became more productive in the mornings, getting through more work during the day, and, slowly, over a few months, her need to work in the evenings disappeared entirely.

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It Works!

In an actual experiment by the Israeli parole board, three prisoners who had completed around two-thirds of their sentences were ordered to appear before the parole board (consisting of a judge, a criminologist... More
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