Are you looking to make the most out of every day? Wondering how to turn up your productivity and take it to the next level? Here are six tips that will help you get on the right path to productivity and ensure that you are getting the most out of each day.
1. Know what’s most important to get done.
This is probably the most critical action you can take every day. Know what your number one priority is and write it down. When you know the one task you need to accomplish for the day to feel productive, it becomes much easier to do. Don’t create a to-do list with 20 tasks to have done by the end of the day. Why? Because when you don’t get to all of them, you won’t feel productive. Set a small achievable goal each day and when the momentum picks up you can continue to get other things done.
Sometimes it is just as important to know what not to do as it is to know what you need to do. “I started with projects that I wanted to do, but then realized I didn’t really have the time and they were not high enough on my priority list to invest the time in completing them … You can complete a project by dropping it … It’s important not to have incomplete projects even if we never do anything about them because they drain energy subconsciously,” says Arianna Huffington, who wrote the book “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder.”
2. Wake up early.
If you really want to create focus and productivity in your life, waking up early is essential. The hour or so you have in the morning before your family wakes up, before your coworkers distract you and before the emails overtake your inbox is just for you. Reserve your hardest tasks and the ones that mean the most to you for the morning. This is when your energy is at its peak, so make the most of it by focusing on work that matters.
Once you make waking up early a part of your routine and understand the exceptional benefits it has to your productivity, you will never turn back. Hal Elrod is the author of the “Miracle Morning,” which focuses on starting your day off right to ensure productivity. Elrod believes, “If you have a productive, powerful morning, you will have a productive, powerful day.”
3. Schedule your day.
Before you go to bed each night, plan out your next day. Schedule your appointments. Schedule time for your most important priority and for other work you need to get done. Mentally preparing for your day, armed with a plan, just ensures it will run that much smoother. Why risk trying to figure out what needs to get done the next day, when you can wake up and just go? So schedule out your day, but remember this includes scheduling appointments with yourself that you should honor just as much as you would with a manager.
According to entrepreneur and productivity expert Peter Voogd, “A plan relieves you of the torment of choice. It restores focus and provides energy.”
4. Eliminate distractions.
Turn your phone on silent. Limit the amount of time you spend on social media and surfing the web. The key here is remember your time is precious and it is essential to being productive, so don’t waste it on things that don’t matter. If you need to focus on a project, close out of the internet and set a timer for at least 30 minutes of pure focus on it. You’ll be surprised how much more you will get done when you don’t have a million things competing for your attention. Be mindful of your habits. Know your weakness and where you spend your distraction time and redirect that to focus time.
According to study done by Student Science, “Processing multiple streams of information simultaneously is cognitively challenging, thereby potentially causing reduced effectiveness in the performance of the overlapping tasks.” You’re basically just not as effective while you try to multitask or engage with distractions while also trying to get work done.
5. Include “make up” time in your week for tasks that still need to be done.
No matter how hard you try, sometimes you just won’t be able to get everything you wanted to do in a week done, which can leave you feeling unproductive and unaccomplished. So, instead of settling for not reaching your weekly goals, set aside time to catch up on work that you missed out on each week. Maybe you schedule in two hours on Sunday to finish anything that you couldn’t get to earlier? It doesn’t matter when it is, it just matters that you know you have time in your week allocated to getting yourself back on track if you weren’t able to reach your goals.
Paul J. Meyer, an inspirational leader and coach, said, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” You need to commit to being productive. It’s not something that just happens, it’s a deliberate action you take every day.
6. Review your progress.
It’s easy to wake up each day and just cross off items that we’ve done, but if you don’t take time at the end of the day or week to review your progress, you won’t feel productive or accomplished. Before you start your weekly plan, slow down and recognize all that you’ve done. It’s okay to take a moment and pat yourself on the back. In fact, it’s encouraged because once you realize how much progress you are making you will be even more motivated to continue down your productivity path.
“Let’s be honest: if you don’t think about your goals, you won’t make them happen. The key is to review these goals and set action steps each week. If you only do it once a year, or even once a month, you won’t remember them on a daily basis,” said Leo Babauta, the founder and writer of “Zen Habits.”
Featured photo credit: Matt Gibson via flickr.com