After this Article, you will know:
- What is the Night Before List.
- How it can be implemented to improve productivity.
- How to deal with pushback from the team.
📅 The Night Before List
This is a simple and effective performance technique that was made famous in the 1930”s.
We can now have multi-layered systems and reminders but sometimes it’s the old simple ways which stick into our minds more and add to the way we work in the future. This is a great tool for an apprentice or a business director.
The story goes that a large steel plant owner felt that his business needed to be more productive in the customer-facing roles and internal communications.
So the owner asked a famous business advisor to come and take a look around. The advisor could see many people working in different ways.
The advisor then sat with the owner and proposed the very simple “Night Before List”.
This system was for the desk staff to start to write down at the end of each night what they had to do tomorrow and in what priority.
This was a powerful technique because the person writing the list was quite focused due to the day's work and had a good feel for what needed to be done straight away.
Imagine not doing this on a Friday night only to return to your desk on Monday or Tuesday afternoon and have that feeling of "where do I start".
In today's world, this is made even easier and we can view each other's entries on notes, diaries and management systems which can also help lead teams.
In the simplest application, it’s a case of writing the top 5 things that must be done tomorrow, not an endless to-do list.
As you go through the day you can tick off the item which is very motivating when you return to the list at different intervals.
You simply carry forward to tomorrow's diary what you do not complete. No mad pressure, give it time and see the improvement.
So when you open up in the morning you or your staff can view the list and know what needs to be hit first. It sounds too simple but even over a night you can get a bit of brain fog, this way you learn to relax more, switch off a bit, stop the constant replaying of what needs to be done and learn to trust yourself that you have put a system in to see what's next. You will have a much better grip or control of the business, it's not how fancy or costly the system is - this is a free, easy system and it works.
Imagine if your staff do this as well across the company and it becomes a used term - Did you do your night before list?
If everyone does it then we are more productive. Sometimes if they are on a long job they may say what’s the point but if you call at 2PM and ask if they need anything they now can unplug from work-only mode and they can have somewhere to go to really check. It reduces stress and conflict.
🤔 How to implement The Night Before List
Now through habit, they have a very simple system in place which only helps towards better organisation. Yes you can get pushback from the staff where they say “and when do you want me to fit that in? ” but speak to your Saint Trade Coach about implementing these systems who are there to help. It’s your business to remember.
Or say you had a messy day and got derailed, maybe you had to go out to site to see something which was unplanned.
When you return your mindset has changed and you are in “site” state not “office” state. This can then make you dip mentally, overwhelm can kick in, what's next? Where do I even start? - These small mental dips can seem like short moments but they affect you for hours so at Saint Trade Coaching we always try to get you to sense when overwhelm or doubt kicks in and then use little tricks to protect yourself from the dips. You then get stronger and stronger and there are much fewer pangs of doubt.
Another important thing is noticing when this happens to your staff. These are moments when a little bit of system picks them back up and they are re-motivated. When in “site” state the mindset it is very much what's next only so feeding this information to site as an internal system keeps them in that flow. It’s when they have to stop then those around also stop.
This simple technique revolutionised the business adding more focus on single points and added an understanding across the business, keeping a better pace and reduced conflict stress.
🎉 That's a wrap!
I hope you found this useful! Saint have lots of these little offerings, some may apply to you, some may not, but if they increase your productivity by 5--7%, it's worth it!
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