When we go to bed at night we usually have a day full of activities, e-mail, phone calls and appointments rattling around in our heads. If we don’t write them down or commit them to a trusted storage place, they will continue to rattle around and may cause us a restless night.
In David Allen’s powerful book, Getting Things Done, he talks about committing our ideas and thoughts to paper. He suggests writing down our pending tasks and at least one action step to accomplish each one. This is especially useful before bed. If we write them down, our minds quiet down and sleep comes easier.
But where do we write them down… a scrap of paper, a notecard or possibly an old napkin? While those may work, they don’t offer the comfort of a trusted system. A place our mind knows that our ideas and action steps will be safe.
Over the years I’ve used different items on the nightstand to write things down. I’ve had note cards, small notebooks, and even the backs of old receipts. While these work as a capture agent, they don’t offer any type of organization. So many times my ideas are lost because the notes that I made at 1am are undecipherable or not in the proper context.
For example, I may wake up to a note that says 10am. While 10am may have meant something to me when I wrote it, it doesn’t mean anything in the morning. There must be a better way.
I decided to try a paper based organizational tool that I use at work as a capture agent for my nightstand. After some tweaking I’ve come up with a specialized tool that works really well to capture the noise and activities of the day and put them in a trusted place so I can sleep. I call it the Nightstand Planner.
Here is how it works…
The planner comes as a free download as a PDF and also as a MS Publisher document. Just print it out and put it on your nightstand near your bed. Before you go to sleep write down pending to-do items, appointments, and other items that you need to carry over to the next day. After each item, write down at least one action step that you will take to accomplish them.
Writing down the action step, frees your mind of the responsibility to remember and act on the item. You’ll be amazed how much better you sleep with this simple system. The Nightstand planner also has a free flow area at the bottom for those creative ideas that you get at 1am in the morning. Just keep a pencil or pen on the nightstand to quickly jot them down. The planner helps you keep ideas in context and you have a place for phone calls you need to make and e-mails you need to send.
This planner is easy to take along with you to work or school, so you’ll never lose those great ideas or next actions again.
Download: Nightstand Planner
Question: What things will you write down on your planner?