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Multi-Tasking Your Morning – 15 Steps to Boost Productivity Before You Start Your Day

Multi-Tasking Your Morning – 15 Steps to Boost Productivity Before You Start Your Day


    It’s amazing how a morning can suck minutes or even hours away from your day before you even open your eyes completely.

    Fortunately, it’s easy to get time back in the morning – all you need to do is get organized and utilize some new efficiencies. Of course, before you can establish new patterns, you need to figure out what patterns you’ve already established – and that is the first step to a properly multi-tasked morning.

    Step 1: Establish Current Routine

    Before you can make any changes to your current routine, you need to know what it is. Start by taking notice of how you spend your time. Do you reset the alarm a few times? Do you sit in the kitchen and wait for the coffee to brew? Jot down the steps you take and the times that you actually do these things.

    Step 2: Decide What’s Most Important

    What’s the point of being efficient if you’re not able to enjoy the time you’re saving. If there is something in your morning routine that you feel you simply can’t live without, it needs to be identified and considered sacred. For example, if you really need to snooze at least once in the morning, that ten minute sleep snack can be preserved. Likewise the cup of coffee and headline grazing.

    Step 3: Make a List

    Now that you know what you’re doing, make a list of the things that must be done in the morning. It may be as simple as: wake up, bathroom, coffee, shower, dressed, check emails, and leave for work. Some lists are much more complicated with exercise, dog walking and meditation thrown in.

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    Step 4: Consider Overlap

    If you wash your hair in the morning and you have to let it sit in curlers for a few minutes, why not use that few minutes for something else in your routine? For example, rather than brushing your teeth and flossing before your shower, switch and shower first. Then, with your hair set, brush and floss. You just saved five minutes!

    Step 5: Eliminate Snooze

    If your morning routine includes setting snooze at least once, you’re adding ten minutes onto your day. It’s likely you’ve already added the extra time to the beginning of day – setting the alarm at 5:50 instead of 6, for example, to accommodate the extra time. If not, either stop the snooze habit or adjust your morning wake-up time to allow it. Thinking about waking up earlier just to hit snooze takes most of the fun out of it anyhow.

    Step 6: Automate Your Coffee

    If you’re a coffee drinker, splurge in a programmable coffeemaker. (Usually this isn’t a big splurge – less than $30.) Then, set up the grounds, set the timer and make it a new routine before bed. With a programmable coffee pot, your coffee will be ready and waiting when you wake up or when you get out of the shower – whichever pleases you most.

    Step 7: Find Simple Breakfast Items

    While it’s fun to cook yourself breakfast in the morning and even more fun to grab food on the way to work, you’re actually not saving yourself any time by stopping in a drive through. It usually takes at least five minutes to get a drive-through order and then you have to find time to eat it while commuting. Simple breakfast items that can be cooked in the toaster or microwave take only a few minutes and can be munched before you walk out the door or while you drive.

    Step 8: Buy Travel Cups

    Rather than sipping and savoring your coffee in the morning, take it with you. Making coffee at home (in your new programmable coffee pot!) and then taking it with you will not only save you plenty of money compared to the local coffee shop, but it will also save you serious amounts of time as well.

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    That’s another five to ten minutes added back to your morning commute. There are disposable travel cups available in the grocery store complete with lids, much like the coffee shop’s version, or you can go green with a few insulated cups that you bring home and wash.

    Step 9: Shave in the Shower

    The shower is a great place to save time if you’re willing to break lifetime routines. For example, shaving in the shower can cut out a few extra minutes over shaving after the shower. Buy a special shaving mirror for the shower and keep your soap handy. Lather up and shave toward the end of your shower, rinse and you’re ready! Ladies can do the same, only they might save some extra time by shaving their legs while they wait a few minutes for the conditioner to set after a shampoo.

    Step 10: Stop Shampooing

    If you have medium to long hair, you don’t need to wash your hair every day. In fact, washing your hair every day can actually make it overly dry and lead to split ends. You can save yourself some time every other morning by simply shampooing every other day. On the days you don’t shampoo, you can pin your hair up and keep it dry or rinse it with warm water.

    Step 11: Stop Showering

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    For most of us a shower in the morning is a staple. But does it have to be? You would save a substantial amount of time in the morning if you stopped showering before you leave for work. Of course that means you’ll need to shower at another point in your day – perhaps after your lunch workout or in the evenings before bed.

    Step 12: Stop Your Paper Subscription

    Normally you might linger ten minutes or so over the paper while you eat your breakfast or drink your coffee. It would be far better, however, to stop your paper subscription and simply read the news on your device or listen to the news of the world on the radio on your way to work. This is true multitasking – sipping coffee, driving to work and getting all of your news at the same time.

    Step 13: Eliminate Driving

    This is a tossup for many individuals, but if you’re able to carpool to work or ride in on a train, you gain back a huge amount of time that you’d normally have to spend focused on the road. If you’re riding on the train, for example, you can read the headlines, check your emails, get your horoscope, eat your breakfast and sip the coffee you brought from home all before you arrive at work.

    Step 14: Go Mobile

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    If you’re still using an alarm clock to wake up and your desktop to check emails, you’re not using the latest timesaving technology. Use your phone as your alarm clock. Then, when it goes off, snatch it up to turn off the alarm and go ahead and skim through your emails before you actually even get out of bed. You’ll save the time booting your computer if you normally check emails in the morning, and you’ll use those first few minutes of wake up time more productively.

    Step 15: Mesh Schedules

    If you’re sharing a bathroom, all of your efficiencies are completely wasted if your roommate or partner isn’t on something of a schedule, too. Be very clear about the times that you need the bathroom and if the times overlap between the two of you, rearrange your schedule, adjust your wake-up time or simply flip a coin to make it all work. Otherwise it’s all for naught!

    (Photo credit: Girl Opens Curtains via Shutterstock)

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      Last Updated on September 18, 2020

      How to Be More Self-Assured and Get More Done During the Week

      How to Be More Self-Assured and Get More Done During the Week

      Time is a great leveler isn’t it? We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Even if you’re self-assured, the day may never feel quite long enough.

      Why is it that some people can be so much more productive and achieve so much more in a typical day, while others struggle to achieve anything apart from feeling time crunched and overwhelmed?

      Everyone I know and work with wants to make the best use of their time. They want to learn how to be more self-assured, happier, and work less—all while growing in their career.

      How effectively we use our time—and how we actually work in our business—can make a huge difference to the amount we accomplish in a day or week. It can also make us more focused and more confident.

      Do you want to have more thinking and creative time? Do you want to spend more time working on your business rather than working at or in your business? In this article, we’ll show you how.

      Get More Done by Gaining Confidence

      What if you had a strategy for making the best use of your time that brings you more joy and allows you to focus on the biggest activities and opportunities in your business? You may find the following outline below to be helpful:

      1. Create an Exciting Vision

      If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there?

      You want to be more productive and spend more time getting the right stuff done. Well, you need to create a compelling and exciting vision of your future.

      What does this future look like? How will you feel when you get there?

      Creating a new vision, especially one that is a lot bigger than where you are right now, has a way of igniting your passion. It may be something that feels hard to achieve, but every step you take towards that bigger vision will certainly build your confidence.

      Create a vision board to feel more self-assured.

        Commitment to this vision, and accomplishing continual daily progress depends on your ability to look at any situation you’re faced with or currently in, feel self-assured, and see something bigger ahead.

        Also, when you know where you’re headed, you will instinctively start to see all the new opportunities and connections that will get you there.

        Make a vision map to get you started on the path to better productivity. This doesn’t have to be fully actualized, but you should know at least what direction you are heading.

        2. Build a Strategic Plan

        Once you have your future vision mapped out, the next step is to build a strategic plan to get you there.

        Your future vision may be for 3 years or 5 years, or you may choose a longer time frame. Any timeframe over 3 years may feel like a long way away.

        You may wonder how you are ever going to feel confident and motivated on this bigger future years from now when you feel as though you have so much to accomplish today.

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        The first step is to decide on some specific goals for the next 12 months. Don’t list too many or you may begin to feel overwhelmed.

        The magic number for me and my clients is usually five annual goals.

        These are big goals that will create massive change in your business and life and bridge your current situation to your bigger future; accomplishing these goals one by one will help to increase your confidence on a daily basis.

        3. Get on Goal Planning

        Get yourself a piece of blank paper and a pen and divide the paper into 4 columns: A, B, C, and D.

        Ask yourself the question: What is great in my business and life right now? Write these things down in Column A. This might be a couple of things, five things, ten things, whatever feels right to you.

        Then ask yourself: What things are happening right now that I don’t want in my future? Write these things down in Column B.

        This is your opportunity to take a step back and look at the things that are simply not working. You may list people that are bringing you down or projects that you don’t want to work on any more. Maybe you’ll include a service offering that’s going nowhere. It could be the people you’re working with, or it could be your pricing.

        Now, let’s look at your personal strengths. Write down everything that you’re great at in Column C.

        These could be things that you’re doing right now and having success with. It could also be things you know you’re awesome at but you’re not spending enough time on.

        Column D is for your biggest opportunities. Is there a new service/product you could offer your ideal customers? Is there a new innovation you could bring to market? Just take some time out and really think and list these things in Column D.

        Once you’ve analyzed everything you’ve written down, take some time to really think about what goals you want to set for your business and life in the next 12 months.

        4. Set Outcomes to Build Confidence

        You now have your goals, and you’ll feel self-assured and raring to go. They are written down and you’re committed to achieving them. You feel self-assured and motivated.

        But how do you ensure that you stay on the correct course to achieve these goals?

        Managing and juggling day-to-day projects can get in the way. Dealing with problems can get in the way. Staying on top of orders, managing cash flow, and handling day-to-day stuff can move your ship off course.

        You want to be productive and achieve your goals, but you also need to ensure the day and week runs smoothly.

        One way to ensure this happens is to set 90 Day Outcome Goals; within those Outcome Goals, put some specific process goals that need to be undertaken.

        Let’s say you want to get 10 more speaking jobs in the next 90 days, and you know that you typically convert 50% of opportunities.

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        Therefore, your process goal needs to be to have 20 conversations in the next 90 Days to deliver the 10 new pieces of work. You will then work out who you can have those conversations with.

        It’s smart to overshoot, so you will more easily hit your target. This is a clear plan to work through because with every win, your confidence will grow.

        5. Completely Commit to Your Success

        If you are not truly committed to achieving your goals, then chances are that you won’t reach them.

        Motivation can only take you so far. It is the intentional commitment[1] and emotional investment in your future success that will move you forward.

        Think back to any time that you really committed to achieving something. There must have been a reason you actually achieved what you set out to achieve. What motivated you?

        Were you fully invested? Why did it matter? Did you have to be really courageous to achieve it?

        How did it feel when you achieved it? What difference did it make?

        When have you felt truly self-assured? When you are committed to something, then you are propelled into action. Your mindset is focused, and your body follows; you want to get it done.

        And, when you do get it done, your confidence goes through the roof. You feel a level of certainty in achieving the goal you set out to accomplish.

        6. Focus on Your Strengths

        To feel self-assured and build up the confidence needed to achieve our biggest goals, we need to focus on our strengths.

        What are you best at? What are your unique skills? You want to spend as much time as you can working in the areas that you’re great at.

        Multiply your strengths. These areas are where you add the biggest value. They often bring you the biggest amount of joy, and you feel more and more confident when you are using your unique skills.

        If you think there is a specific capability you need to learn or be better at, spend more focused time in that area.

        Many of us want to do it all. We want to be good at everything. We want to offer a lot of services. But, in reality, there are some very specific things we are great at; nobody is good at everything!

        Spending more time adding value in the areas where you excel can create breakthrough results and boost confidence.

        7. Embrace the Present

        Sometimes we spend so much time thinking about the future or worrying about the past that we forget the present moment[2].

        Are you spending most of your day reacting to things, or have you taken the time to think about what your perfect day looks like?

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        We all have the opportunity to create rather than react, to decide what we do with our day. All of our future success can be created in the present moment if we just take a step back and take action.

        Sometimes, doing it now is more important than doing it perfectly. There are hidden opportunities in every moment. We need to make sure we don’t miss them if we want to feel self-assured.

        8. Calm the Whirlwind

        The day-to-day life in business and life can be hard, which leads us to feel less self-assured.

        Your mind may be full to bursting with all of the things you feel you have to do. The phrase “I don’t have time” has almost become an instant reaction by so many people when new opportunities are presented.

        There is a whirlwind happening inside our minds.

        Appointments, notifications, tasks, phone calls, errands, cash flow, staffing issues, networking, marketing all can clutter up our timeline. The sheer volume of things we feel we should do creates procrastination, stopping us from pursuing the projects and people that matter.

        Many of us feel we have to do everything within our business.

        Rather than simplifying things and doing less, we do more. We work longer, which creates a lack of energy and focus. Because of this, we lose clarity on our biggest opportunities. If you feel this way, take some well-deserved time off.

        Look at where you’re spending your time. How much of your time is being spent moving your ideas forward?

        In the next 90 days, if you could delegate or outsource more daily tasks and spend more time focusing on where you add the biggest value, what difference would it make?

        Calm the whirlwind by slowing down and doing less.

        Focus on areas that you add the biggest amount of value. By doing this, your energy levels will increase, your confidence will grow and you will have more success.

        9. Take More Time off

        This may seem counterintuitive, but taking more time off to recharge and refocus can pay huge dividends.

        If you are constantly fighting fires and caught up in the myriad of different activities that you have to do each day, then how can you move your business forward?

        You may be being pulled in difference directions without any focused time on your biggest projects. If that’s the case, then it’s almost impossible to gain any real momentum in moving your business forward and hitting your goals.

        The best way to get off that treadmill is to take more creative time out of the business.

        Could you realistically take one day off per month to work on your business? If you could, what would you do with this time?

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        Just imagine no distractions, only focused time on the strategic development and growth of your business.

        Every day off per month could have a different focus: New product innovation; Thinking about your biggest clients; Improving operations.

        Add to this a quarterly review to check in with your goals progress, and this could have a dramatic effect on where you spend your valuable time.

        10. Celebrate Wins

        Sometimes you just want to get through the day, right?

        You have so much to do. There are so many things on your task list that you just complete what you can and then start another day. But what would happen if, at the end of each day, you took some time out to look at what you’ve accomplished?

        Celebrating success keeps you motivated and helps you become more self-assured. It is not just another day. It’s a day that included things that should be celebrated.

        If you’re struggling to feel motivated, try celebrating a couple of wins each day.

        Celebrating success combined with the gratitude you have for achieving those wins will boost your confidence and inspire you for the next day.

        11. Give Yourself More Space

        When was the last time you gave yourself time to think?

        Within the hustle and bustle, it can be difficult to give yourself a little bit of space and time to just think[3].

        Imagine giving yourself just an hour a day to just let your mind wander or think about a specific thing.

        If you think about it, we can all free up an hour a day for something without really losing any efficiency or really impacting our business.

        In fact, that hour could be transformational for your business and life.

        A new idea for a product could form, or an idea for adding value to your existing clients could materialize. Perhaps you could do a check in to your ideal future and your goals. You could decide that you want to take your business in a new direction.

        Try this: Just sit alone for an hour with a notebook and let it be your creative thinking time. See what happens.

        Final Thoughts

        Ultimately, being self-assured happens when you have a clear direction.

        This, coupled with having clear goals and working in your unique skill-set, gives you the biggest opportunity to be more productive and get more of the right things done.

        The old mantra that “less is more” is right on the money. By giving yourself more time to work on your goals, you will inevitably increase your confidence; at this point, your ideal future can be anything you want it to be.

        More on How to Be Self-Assured

        Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

        Reference

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