Wouldn’t it be the best feeling to go to bed each night knowing that you’ve completed everything you intending to achieve that day? How amazing would it be to snuggle into your pillow with the knowledge that you are on track, on top of things and that, tomorrow, you will be just as efficient?
It’s not impossible to make each day as productive as the last. You just need to have the steps and routines in place to achieve what you need to get done. We’ve narrowed it down to the top ten things productive people do throughout their day to help them stay on top of their game.
- Know what not to do.
If you’ve read other posts on the TACB blog you’ll know that I am a huge fan of to-do lists. I’m a list maker at heart and these things help me feel on track and organised. However, sometimes it’s just as handy to have a ‘To Not Do’ list to help you keep in mind the things that drain you, distract you and just generally limit the amount of tasks you get done. This could be as simple as not checking Facebook. Perhaps you find yourself mindlessly staring into the fridge every half hour? Sometimes it can be a larger issue, to do with relationships or your own mental health. If you are aware of the things that inhibit your progress, write them down so that you can remind yourself each time they might be affecting your day.
- Value ‘un-productive’ time.
This might seem counter-intuitive, but there is so much to say for shutting off and enjoying the little things. For me, it’s being able to come home and watch a show without thinking of work. For others, it’s reading a book on their commute. For some, it’s scheduling time for their weekly bath time ritual. Your day can’t be all go with no time to rest; burn out is not the answer to a productive routine. On a grander scale, it’s also really important to make sure you take holidays – be it weekends or a bit longer. Stepping back, re-calculating and re-charging will make you so much more productive on a day-to-day basis.
- Know your most productive times.
Not everyone works at the same pace throughout the day. Some of us are morning people, others take a little longer to warm up and get their brains working at full capacity. If you know that you are most alert and on-the-ball just after lunch, then make sure you schedule the task that requires the most thinking during that time. If you know you aren’t much use at the very first thing or in the final hour of work, why not give yourself something easy to ease into your day or out of it? Work to your strengths, don’t try to fight your way through it.
- Break it down.
You can take the above knowledge and put it to good use by assigning a time schedule. You know how many hours a day that you work, but do you know how many hours a day you work on particular things? Start to break it down and you’ll find yourself more attentive to each task and less likely to deviate or attempt to multi-task. Each morning, try scheduling what you will be doing throughout the day.
9:00 – 9:30 – Answering emails
9:30 – 10:30 – Research for upcoming post
10:30 – 10:45 – Call Christine
10:45 – 12:00 – Write proposal for David
12:00 – 1:00 – Lunch
1:00 – 2:30 – Write upcoming post
2:30 – 3:30 – Upload and schedule upcoming post
3:30 – 4:00 – Meeting with Christine
4:00 – 5:00 – Update email list, schedule email blast
5:00 – 5:30 – Answer emails, Pinterest inspiration
- Ground yourself with daily rituals.
Yes, it sounds like hippy nonsense, but daily rituals are a powerful way to keep you feeling capable and on track. You might have a morning ritual, which gets you off to the best start each day. Or, instead, you might look forward to a juice or a coffee when you first sit down at your desk. You might find your fave ritual is your evening walk and to watch the sun go down. Look for what keep you grounded; the steps you can take on a regular basis to feel calm, collected and sane. Keeping a personal routine can work wonders with your productivity levels.
- Give a realistic ‘yes’.
All of the ‘yes people’ out there will relate to this. Sometimes, after saying yes to just a few too many things, your plate gets too full and you don’t know where to start. By committing to so many projects, you can easily get bogged down. Funnily enough, the more things you commit to, the more likely you get less done. This isn’t necessarily saying that you should learn to say ‘no’ – although that is sometimes the best option. Instead, I would emphasise the value in learning to give a realistic commitment. If you are in the middle of a particular project and somebody asks you to take on something else, try accepting it in this way: “Sure I can do that for you. I’m currently finishing this off at the moment but I can start your project by tomorrow afternoon and have it to you by Thursday. Does that suit?” If they really want you to do the work, they should respect that you have limited time. If it’s not essential for you to do, then you’ve let them know and they can find somebody else who can complete it sooner.
This one divides people, as there are those who already know just how important getting a workout in is for their clarity of mind. Then there are those who can’t find the time or just simple hate exercising. I’m not here to judge – it takes a lot to get me off the couch as well! But we all know how effective moving your body can be to your overall productivity. Even if you only have time to walk between your bus stop and your workplace, put in some extra effort and get the blood pumping. Jump up and take a stroll on your lunch break. It’s proven to beat that brain fuzz that settles after being stationary for too long.
- Make an ‘imperfect’ start.
One of the most productive things you can do is simply start. Whether you are a writer, an analyst, a receptionist, or simply tackling your spring cleaning on the weekend, certain jobs can be daunting to begin. It can often take a while to get off to the start you want, especially when you have a particular idea or image that you want to achieve. Sometimes you are better off getting words down on paper, so to speak, just so that your initial step has been taken. Nothing has to be perfect when you first start, but usually once you begin it all falls into place.
Main Image Credit: Made by Kasia