Most longtime readers are aware that I am an avid stock trader. Because I have been trading stocks for so long, I’ve learned a few things over the years. One of these is a popular phrase in trading that says, “Tonight’s Preparation Purchases Tomorrow’s Success.” In stock trading, your ability to make money the next day is enhanced if you put together a plan the previous night that specifies what you will do based on the movement in the stock. For example, the plan might say, If Apple opens lower but not below $130, I will buy 200 shares. It is amazing how much better I am able to trade if I take the time to prepare properly the night before.
I have also realized that preparation for my day-to-day business responsibilities is also critical to achieving success on an ongoing basis.
If you are like me, once the day starts, it can easily take on a life of its own. Many days, it is suddenly 10AM or near lunch time before I have a chance to take a moment to think about what I need to accomplish that day.
Without proper preparation the prior day, I often find that my day is a scramble. I seldom complete the things that I hoped to accomplish. If I do, it is usually in a hectic rush at the end of the day.
An alternative to preparing for tomorrow at the end of today is to prepare early in the morning prior to going to work. This can be feasible as long as you are able to do so without issues attacking you before you have completed your planning process.
There is another reason I encourage you to do your preparation for tomorrow at the end of today. It allows your self-consciousness to begin to work on the tasks and issues that you planned to address the next day, even as you rest. Often you will find that you wake up the next day with confidence and anticipation about what lies before you. Your preparation enables you to be proactive and get a jump on what you want to accomplish.
So here are some practical ideas to assist you as you plan for tomorrow:
- Consider maintaining an ongoing master list of tasks and items that you want to accomplish. This eliminates the need to copy these items on your daily list day after day.
- Be reasonable about what you can accomplish. If you have developed your plan for tomorrow and you already know that you will fail to complete it, then it is not a good plan. It leaves you feeling defeated the night before because you are already convinced you are going to fail. It would be much better to be reasonable about what you can actually accomplish. This will cause you to feel good going into the day.
- Try to plan to complete or do one major goal each day that will give you satisfaction. It is encouraging to end the day knowing that you have completed a key task. If you complete one important item each day, you will be more successful than most people.
- Do something for yourself each day. So often we get caught up in the idea that we always must be doing something for our business, our family, our employees, etc. This is good, yet it can also lead to burnout. Doing something that you enjoy each day can help keep you refreshed and motivated. It doesn’t have to be something complex or time consuming. It can be as simple as taking ten minutes to read a book or listen to some favorite music, or as unique as having lunch with a friend.
Clearly this is not an exhaustive list. Yet these things will help keep you focused, prepared and productive throughout your day.