This is one of my favorite productivity practices, and one I’ve found to help me maintain a high level of productivity. Every morning, prior to my team’s standup, I had my own personal standup for 10-15 minutes. The time was blocked off in my calendar as a standing appointment so no one could schedule over my time.
I’d use this time to reflect on the previous day and plan the current day, and go into team standup with a complete update and plan. This is a technique I picked up from my dad, who used a DayTimer well into retirement. I kept a daily diary of ideas and what I worked on, usually using a pocket-sized Moleskine Classic. My personal preference is plain paper, but whatever fits your style is perfect. Later on I started using an Emergent Task Planner every day. Whatever you use, it shouldn’t be a clumsy burden–it should fit your workflow and style. You should actually want to plan and record (get a good pen, too). This is something I continue to do today.
Every morning I looked back at the tasks which needed continued, what I had completed, any blocks, and set up a plan for the day. From then it was smooth sailing through the day. Most of the time.