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When You Follow These 9 Simple Tricks, You Will Stay Organized And Productive Every Day

When You Follow These 9 Simple Tricks, You Will Stay Organized And Productive Every Day
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Everyone wants to have a productive and organized day, but they don’t have the productivity tips to pull it off. Here are the productivity tips that, if followed, guarantee you  an extremely well-organized, super efficient workday.

1. Have A Relaxing Start To Your Day

Whether you commute or work at home, give yourself a chance to get zen after you wake up. That means not checking emails right when you wake up, and just in general avoiding work talk and and work thoughts for at least half an hour. Take the time to read something that makes you think but isn’t too challenging, either; the paper or your favorite online media outlet are great options. Eat a healthy and hearty breakfast that makes you glad that you woke up after only a certain number of hours of sleep, and pour yourself your favorite form of caffeine to jump-start your day.

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2. Look Over Your To-Do List

One of the best productivity tips I can give you is to have a to-do list, ideally one that was at least partly prepared the day before. Ask yourself what the most important thing is that you have get done today. You don’t have to do that thing first, but you shouldn’t save it for the end of the day, either. Also see what you can add to your list based on any new information you have about what you’ll be doing today.

3. Make Goals/Make A Checklist

Finalize your list. Know what you’re going to do today, and preferably when you’re going to do it. You’ll feel obligated to your timetable and, best of all, you lower the chance dramatically of missing an important task.

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4. Get Started

Now is the hard part, and if you approach it the right way it’s really not that hard. My favorite approach is, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities, to just work on your first task for ten minutes. Anyone can do ten minutes, and that’s all it takes to get the wheels spinning. Once you into the groove you won’t want to get out of the groove.

5. Take Breaks!

A list of productivity tips isn’t complete if it doesn’t recognize the need for downtime. Don’t risk overexerting yourself; that would lose you more time than you’d gain by working straight through the day. When you’re starting to feel weary, give yourself a few minutes to find your center again. Whether it be reading your Twitter feed or stepping away from the desk, do something that helps you recharge your batteries.

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6. Don’t Give In To The Mid Day Slump

There’s a time in the workday, usually around the middle, that your productivity seems to slow to almost a standstill. Push past it. Marathon runners have a “wall” they have to overcome, and then the rest of the run is relatively smooth sailing. The same is true about work. Break down your wall.

7. Don’t Let The Missteps Slow You Down

Just because you trip doesn’t mean you have to fall over. There will be things that take longer than you thought or don’t go as planned; what you need to do is roll with the punches. Getting over a mistake faster is one of the best productivity tips you can work on improving.

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8. Keep A Record Of Your Accomplishments

Even the tiny ones. Not only should you check items off of your to-do list; you should add unexpected things you get done during the day to it to check off, too. By doing that you can fairly analyze how productive you were that day, and either take pride in it or learn what to do differently next time.

9. Have A Productivity Sprint

Even if you jog most of the way, you always want to race to the finish line. When you’re on your last hour or so of the workday, put pen to pad or fingers to keyboard and make the most out of that hour that you can. If you’re lacking motivation, just remember what’s waiting for you once you run through that checkered tape.

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Featured photo credit: Thomas R. Stegelmann via flickr.com

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Matt OKeefe

Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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