Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 30, 2019

13 Things to Put on Your Daily Checklist for Increased Productivity

13 Things to Put on Your Daily Checklist for Increased Productivity

Did you know that many C-level executives play computer games at work to “feel more productive”? It is ironical, but it’s the truth today. People are using whatever they can to become (more) productive and daily checklists are just one of the things.

But there is a good way and a bad way to create a daily checklist. One will super boost your productivity, the other one will be a mind-numbing task which you will stop doing in two days.

To avoid the latter, I have devised only 13 things you need to have on your daily checklist to super boost your productivity and it starts with your morning routine.

Whatever you do in life, you need to have a morning routine which is consistent. It is your anchor for starting the day and if you skip it, your entire day will be off track. There is a reason a phrase “start off the day on the wrong foot” persisted over millennia.

I won’t tell you what your morning routine should be because nobody can tell you that, but what I can tell you is that it should have certain elements and they are the following.

1. Sleep for 8 Hours

You need to sleep for 8 hours. Period. There is a plethora of research which says that you need 8 hours of sleep to be productive and cognitively optimal during the day.

But what is even scarier is that there is a ton of research done on the effects lack of sleep brings to people and the results are devastating.

So if you want to be productive, sleep would be the first thing on your daily checklist.

2. Early Physical Activity

I don’t mean an hour-long session in the gym. You can do that if that’s your things, but by this, I mean simple stretching, maybe a 10-minute walk, or a short 5 to 7 minutes long exercise.

You just need something to wake up your body and get the blood flow going. One example would be Tony Robbins who jumps into his pool and swims a couple of laps.

Use whatever physical exercise works for you for as long as you need to wake up.

3. Eat Some (Healthy) Food

Food gets energy in your body early in the morning and wakes up your mind in a different way than exercise.

Advertising

You need food in the morning and I hope you will eat something healthy because that has the best benefits for your mind and for your body.

There are multiple diets out there that tell you that their diet is the best diet. Try out a couple of different diets and stick with the one which suits you the best. Remember, the goal of the daily checklist is that only needs to work for a single person – for you.

4. Do Your Favorite Unproductive Activity

An unproductive activity in the morning in an article on daily productivity using a checklist? Yes, I understand the irony but remember the C-level executives?

You Are Not A Robot.

You are a human being and we need fun, unproductive, and lazy time. If you spend 10 to 20 minutes in the morning doing your favorite unproductive activity, you will settle down “the instant gratification monkey” everyone has inside of us.[1]

Once you’re done with it, you will clear it from your mind and carry on. Some people watch YouTube, some play Minesweeper or BubbleSpinner (guilty…), but you can do whatever you like. That’s why it’s your favorite unproductive activity.

5. Personal Reflection Time

It’s not necessarily meditation. Meditation is just one thing you can do for your personal reflection time. You can also spend a couple of minutes for yourself to center yourself for the upcoming day.

Some people call it gratitude,[2] but to me, it’s just personal reflection time. I do this by walking toward my workplace while listening to music.

It can be whatever works for your – a prayer, a minute of silence, sitting down in the car and doing nothing, etc.

6. A 10-Second Plan

Most people elaborate on their charts, sheets, daily plan through 7 different applications. And that’s why it doesn’t work.

You are smart. But like, really smart. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this.

You already know what the most important thing you have to do today is. If I gave you only 10 seconds right now to plan your day to be productive, that activity would be the only one in those 10 seconds.

Advertising

That is your plan for today.

Do only that for today and your day will be productive.

But that is easier said than done. I know. That’s why we are only at the half of the article. All of these above were the things that you do when you’re home or commuting. But now, let’s go over the things you do when you get to work.

7. Get Yourself into a Working Frame by Reading

When they get to work, most people first sit down, open their browser and randomly scroll the internet for half an hour.

But not you. You know better.

You should sit down and open up a book or an article which is related to your field of work. This is really important. Once you read an article or a couple of pages of a book which is related to your field of work, your brain will put a focus on that information and it will start producing some marvelous ideas and solutions.

The most important thing here is that it can’t be scrolling over Facebook or Instagram. It needs to be something which puts your mind into the right field and working state.

Before writing this article, I reread certain parts of Atul Gawande’s Checklist Manifesto, Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits, and Eric Barker’s Barking Up The Wrong Tree.

Put yourself into the right frame of mind and you’re almost there.

8. Kill Distractions

Okay, if Jenny from the office is a distraction, don’t literally kill her- it’s just a phrase. But I used the word kill for a specific reason.

You need to behave toward distractions in that kind of a way. Kill it wherever you deem possible.

Put your front page on your browser to something which won’t seduce you into procrastinating. Use headphones even if you don’t listen to music because your colleagues will know that you mean business when they are on. Close the doors and shut the drapes. Turn off Wi-Fi on your phone.

Advertising

No distractions make you work – because there is nothing else to do and your brain is already in that state of mind.

Take a look at these tips on How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done.

9. When Tired, Rest. Don’t Quit!

Since I’m a writer, taking a nap in the middle of the day to rest is a possibility and almost a daily occurrence for me (sometimes I take a long walk instead).

You will get tired during the day and when that happens, don’t try to push through it. Simply stop working and go rest.

The problem here is that nobody ever taught us how to rest and our culture looks at that as laziness. There is a major difference between the two, but the most important thing when resting is that you 100% rest. So no working, no thinking about working, and no working (I had to re-state that for some workaholics out there).

I was writing an article which was a summary of every single personal development book I read in the past two years (90 books in total).[3] The article took me two months and 100+ hours to finish. But I learned to rest when I was tired, so I managed to finish it even though the size of it is comparable to a book.

When tired, rest. Don’t quit. When necessary, schedule downtime for yourself too.

10. Know When the Day Is Done

I’ve seen people who are super productive themselves, but they think that they are lazy and unproductive because there is always more you can do.

That is the problem of not knowing when the day is done.

Point 6 was “A 10-seconds plan.” If you managed to finish that in the day, it was a productive day and the day is done. Nothing more, nothing less. You did the one thing you planned for the day. Don’t torture yourself thinking that you need to work 16 hours a day to be productive. That’s not productivity, that’s torture.

Stop when you’re done and call it a day.

11. Track Your Day

This comes at the end of the article and the day because you need to check things off the daily checklist.

Advertising

By tracking your day, you realize what you did and didn’t do for that day. After a couple of days of working everything from your checklist, the goal becomes not to “break the chain.” This is something attributed to Jerry Seinfeld who, when asked how he became a great comedian, responded:

“I just wrote one joke a day and then tried not to break the chain on my calendar.”

Track your daily checklist because you will grow a habit of doing it.

You may want to make use of these apps to keep track of your day: 24 Best Habit Tracking Apps

12. Reward Yourself

The best thing after a productive day is the reward you get by being productive.

Don’t ignore this thing on your daily checklist. If you’ve done everything from the checklist, give yourself a proper reward for that. It will make your brain remember the activity as pleasurable and it will become easier for you to do it.

Learn to celebrate small wins so you’ll stay motivated and keep up the momentum.

13. What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There

A checklist is a tool which you use; so understand that over time, your life, work, job, situation, and position will change. And alongside that, your daily checklist will change as well.

Realize that the things which got you in this position doesn’t necessarily have to be the things that will get you further along. Things change and your checklist should change accordingly.

The Bottom Line

You now have all the 13 things for your daily checklist which will make you super productive. Put it somewhere visible where it can look at you every single morning and every single evening.

That will remind you to do the activities from the checklist. And if you keep doing it, eventually, it will bring you massive results.

Every journey, no matter how long, always begins the same way – with a single step. You’ve already made two steps – you’ve read this article and learned what you need to have on your daily checklist. The third step is implementation and it’s yours to make.

More Articles About Productive Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Bruno Boksic

An expert in habit building

How to Find Your Keystone Habits to Change Your Life Feeling Unmotivated During the Day? Best Morning Routine for Success 11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits 23 Good Habits for a Productive and Stress Free Life What Is a Routine? 9 Ways Routines Make Your Life Easier

Trending in Smartcut

1 How to Bounce Back Gracefully After Getting Fired 2 How to Find Your Keystone Habits to Change Your Life 3 How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples) 4 7 Essential Success Tips to Achieve What You Want in Life 5 Pave Your Road to Success with These 7 Golden Rules

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 16, 2019

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Do you like making mistakes?

I certainly don’t.

Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

Advertising

Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

  • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
  • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
  • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
  • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

Advertising

When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

Advertising

Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

  1. Point us to something we did not know.
  2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
  3. Deepen our knowledge.
  4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
  5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
  6. Inform us more about our values.
  7. Teach us more about others.
  8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
  9. Show us when someone else has changed.
  10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
  11. Remind us of our humanity.
  12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
  13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
  14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
  15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
  16. Invite us to better choices.
  17. Can teach us how to experiment.
  18. Can reveal a new insight.
  19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
  20. Can serve as a warning.
  21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
  22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
  23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
  24. Remind us how we are like others.
  25. Make us more humble.
  26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
  27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
  28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
  29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
  30. Expose our true feelings.
  31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
  32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
  33. Point us in a more creative direction.
  34. Show us when we are not listening.
  35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
  36. Can create distance with someone else.
  37. Slow us down when we need to.
  38. Can hasten change.
  39. Reveal our blind spots.
  40. Are the invisible made visible.

Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

The secret to handling mistakes is to:

  • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
  • Have an experimental mindset.
  • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

Advertising

When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

More About Success and Failures

Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

Read Next