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7 Productivity Hacks To Accomplish All Your Tasks Every Day

7 Productivity Hacks To Accomplish All Your Tasks Every Day

How would you like to execute all your tasks for each day, and do that every day? Sounds great, right? Sure, with the right steps taken, you can get that done easily. Accomplishing all your tasks for the day will help you have a great day, bring you closer to the ultimate achievement you’re set for, and give you satisfaction. It’ll also contribute hugely to your overall success. After all, that’s what success is all about — accomplishing all your set goals and meeting your targets.

If you fancy the feeling of being successful and would like to go through each day achieving your goals, here’s how to pull that off in 7 simple steps:

1. Write Out a Basic Plan for the Day

Write out a basic plan, showing all the important things you want to do for the day. You can do this using a computer, a mobile device, or going traditional with a real pen and paper. It involves evaluating and prioritizing the day’s activities in the order of their rewards and benefits to you. You’d have to do this before you start your day.

It’s about getting organized; it’s about getting to know what to do and how to do it; it’s about getting things in place on paper and in your mind, so you wouldn’t lose your bearings or become disoriented in the middle of the day, thinking what to do next.

Make the tasks in the list as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) as possible.

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You don’t have to include 30 tasks that require at least 2 hours each to accomplish; there are just 24 hours in a day. My personal strategy here is to try to make my list have 3-5 MITs (Most Important Tasks) plus a couple other non-MITs. If you end up accomplishing just the MITs, you still had a great day. The non-MITs can be outsourced or delegated if you’re time-challenged.

Obviously, planning your day ahead involves some thinking and visualization, where you forecast your day before you even live in it. You can even go a step further by doing this the night before. I usually do this while carrying out step 7 below.

2. Set Time for each Task

After writing out a basic plan for your day, allot time to each activity. Possibly, indicate when to start the activity and when to end it. Visualize how much you hope to accomplish the task within the stipulated time frame, and of course, keep it SMART. Doing this will put you in control of your time and day. It will also help you measure your progress, manage your time effectively and get more done.

3. Follow Through Meticulously

It’s not just enough to write out a plan and allot time to the activities; you actually have to follow through strictly if you want to achieve results. This entails getting up to do what you ought to do when it’s time to do it.

The truth is, if you shift things, it could change everything. Let’s say you had fixed to write an article from 10 a.m to 11:30 a.m. And so when it was time, you opened you computer, logged in, and just as you were about to open your word processor, something happened: A notification box popped up out of nowhere, showing that you have a new email in your inbox. So you head over to Gmail to check it.

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Then to FB to quickly see how many new Facebook likes your page just got; then to Twitter; then your favorite blog. And before you know it, it’s already 30 minutes into your article writing time. But just because it’s so necessary to write the article, the time has to be shifted from the initial 11:30 to 12:00, eating into the time for another activity. And the cycle continues.

If you ever get into that kind of cicle, the next point can come in handy.

4. Give Total Attention to the Task at Hand

It’s easy to get distracted in the midst of the activities and happenings around you during the day, but you have to make up your mind not to be distracted. Staying focused is important for the accomplishment of your tasks. If you really want to get something done, give total attention to it; concentrate all your strength on it, psychologically, physically and otherwise.

Clearly, this is against multi-tasking. You really cannot get much done by trying to do everything at the same time. Single tasking is the way to go. If you find yourself struggling with staying focused and giving total attention to the task at hand, here are some things to do:

  • Create a Distraction-Free Environment (DFE) for yourself, whether physically or virtually.
  • Get rid of everything that can sidetrack you.
  • Stay mentally alert and be watchful of yourself.
  • If you have to take breaks to avoid burnouts, do so.
  • Monitor your progress and redirect your focus if it seems you’re diverting.

5. Give Precedence to those Activities that Produce Quality Results

To have the best results, you’d have to concentrate on the most important activities and give them your best shot. By important activities, I mean those activities that will help you most in achieving or getting close to your ultimate goal. You will have to do this because during the day, several unimportant activities may pop up, looking to steal away your time.

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And the unfortunate thing? You may not realize that your time is being “stolen” until it’s 5:00 PM when you suddenly realize that you haven’t done much for the day.

Here are some steps you can apply to overcome this:

  • Make sure your activities are focused on the achievement of your greater goal.
  • Cut off any and every trivial and unnecessary activity.
  • Write out at least 3 MITs you’d like to accomplish for the day.

You’d also have to beware of “time-stealers.” Time-stealers could be unimportant and unnecessary activities, social networks, or even friends who always come around to yak and chew the fat. Avoid them like the plague.

6. Be Sensitive to the Schedule. Respect the Time

Not only should you be sensitive to the scheduling and timing of your day, you should also treat other people’s time with respect. For instance, if you told someone to come see you by 3:00 PM, when the person gets there by the said time, don’t keep the person waiting until 4:00PM. If you were unavoidably in the middle of another meeting, see about calling the person up before 3:00 PM to re-schedule the appointment.

Don’t keep people waiting gratuitously. They might have gotten at least one useful thing done while waiting and doing nothing. On the other hand, if you find yourself waiting, make productive use of the little blocks of time you have. Maybe while waiting for a meeting to start, queuing up at the ticket station, waiting to catch a flight, or even while sitting in a bus, get something done.

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It could be a simple, streamlined task like replying/sending an email, making a short important call, signing up for a service or a helpful task like reading. Whatever it is, create a list of 5-10 minutes tasks, ready to be executed at any given “block of time.”

Remember what the sixth part of Benjamin Franklin’s 13 Virtues says:

“Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.”

7. Go Back to Your List of Basic Plans and Evaluate

This comes at the end of the day. Write out a list of the things you’ve done since you woke up. This will help you measure your progress and set new goals. It’ll also help you redirect your focus on the tasks that need to get done. If after evaluating your list you’re not satisfied with the results you’ve gotten, don’t complain but just do it better the next day.

Conclusion

Accomplishing all your tasks for each day is doable and it comes with a great feeling. It’s also important because meeting your daily goals contributes immensely to your overall success and to the achievement of your ultimate goal. When you want to have a great day, apply the productivity hacks above and you’ll be set to getting that done, stress-free.

Featured photo credit: john.schultz via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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