As you embark upon a New Year, it is the perfect time to reboot and rewire yourself for optimum success.  Achieving success begins with putting into practice the right habits. Habits that will help you reach your goals and aspire to set more goals that help you stretch and grow.

“Just like you need a good breakfast to fuel your day, you need a plan to fuel your success.”
Heidi Richards Mooney

In this three part series, I want to share tips that are intended to help you complete your tasks in an organized manner through proper preparation. “Fortune favors the prepared mind”, as Louis Pasteur said, so keep that quote in mind as you peruse this array of pre-work prep tips.

1 Make a list of your tasks for the day.

A simple checklist of the things you need to do can be surprisingly helpful at keeping you on track. Aside from ensuring that you don’t forget to do any of the written tasks, when you see how much left you have to do, you can get serious about work. This can also help you avoid forgetting something and embarrassing yourself.

2 Check your agenda for the next few weeks.

There are times when tasks that have deadlines weeks from the current date will require preparation. As such, it is the best policy to always know what you should be doing within the next few weeks, so you can manage your time and resources properly. Remember to stay flexible, as changes can happen within those few weeks.

3 Use an app to keep track of your checklist.

If you have a smartphone, put it to work and use it to keep track of the things that need doing for the day. Apps like these can also help you prepare your schedule for weeks in advance. Remember that a smartphone is only as smart as the person who is using it.

4 Set up reminders for meetings and tasks.

When you set up a reminder on your cellphone, you are reducing the risk that you will run late or miss appointments and tasks altogether. Setting a reminder can also take a load off of your mind and allow you to concentrate better on the task at hand. Do make sure that your reminder ringtone won’t bother nearby people, or you could be lessening their productivity.

5 Prepare all the materials that you need.

Though arguably this can be considered part of the work that you do, for argument’s sake let us put it in this category. Having all the tools and supplies close at hand makes it easy to complete tasks because you won’t have to break your concentration (or spend time) going to get something.

6 Set your cellphone to silent or vibrate-only mode.

Loud ringtones don’t just break your concentration but also that of the people around you, unless you have your own office or something to that effect. Besides, it would be a bit embarrassing if you were surprised by your own cellphone. We don’t quite recommend turning your cellphone off because there may be urgent matters that can only come to your attention through your cellphone.

7 Have a personal SIM and a work SIM.

If you can afford it (and if you have a high volume of message / call traffic on your cellphone), then get different SIM cards for your work and personal lives. You could put them in different cellphones, or on a single dual SIM phone, or just swap them in and out as needed. The idea is that you pay attention when the work phone rings, and can choose to ignore the personal phone until you have the free time to check it.

8 Choose neutral ringtones.

This is a little less obvious. Using humorous ringtones or ringtones that carry some sort of emotional significance for you can be distracting. It can also bother nearby people. Using “neutral” ringtones – ringtones that simply notify and do not entertain – means that there won’t be emotional baggage with every ring, and you’re less likely to bother other people.

9 Short message and reminder ringtones are best.

Ringtones that last a few seconds at most are best. Imagine if you left your phone on your desk while you stepped away for a bit, and a message came in. A long ringtone for a message that will be waiting when you get back is sure to annoy your coworkers. Choose something short.

10 Manage your e-mail settings.

Setting a filter to redirect and categorize your e-mail messages can be helpful, especially if you use one e-mail address for your work and personal life (which is not recommended, especially if it is a corporate e-mail address). This way if something pops up in the personal e-mail inbox, you can let it slide ‘til later, while something that comes into the work inbox deserves at least a cursory glance.

In the next article we will discuss ten more ways to prepare yourself early for success!

“Preparation is the key to your success. You cannot dismiss the process and expect to be truly successful.”
― Linda Gibson

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