How productive were you yesterday?
Doesn’t it feel sometimes like your days blur together, like you’re in that hamster wheel never getting to those tasks that matter!
It’s easy to get sucked into a monotonous rut where every day feels the same. Even though you achieve countless things during the day, because most of them are part of your routine, you don’t get to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes with true productivity.
Don’t despair! There are many small things you can easily integrate into your daily routine that can motivate you to work towards progressive productivity.
Here’s just 10 of them:
#1 Wake Up 15 Minutes Early
Starting off your day right will do wonders for your productivity. While you don’t want to lose sleep, waking up just 15 minutes earlier is the perfect amount of extra time to enjoy the peaceful quiet of the morning before heading into a busy work day.
Being an earlier riser means you can make the most of a slower morning pace to give your mind time to gradually prepare for the day, so you aren’t rushing from the get-go.
#2 Listen to a Podcast or Audio Book
There are different points throughout your morning where you’re probably zoning out. It could be on a morning walk, while you shower, or as you commute. While it’s good to have some time without distractions where you can be present, too much time will leave your mind wandering to work, which can lead to stress.
Listening to either a podcast or audiobook during one of these points at the start of your day will ease you into a productive mindset as you absorb valuable information while you do a mundane task. This readies your mind and puts you in the mentality of critical thinking as you begin your work day.
#3 Don't Check Your Email First Thing
Speaking of starting your day off right, the absolute worse thing you can do is check your emails the moment you wake up. You want to have a slow start where you gradually shift from a resting state to a working state, and this will break that. If an email is one of the first things you see when you wake up, you will begin your day with a stressful tone.
To avoid this, turn your notifications off (at the very least before bed every night), and have some phone-free time as you go about your morning routine.
If you’re physically in the same place for too long, your mind will follow suit. It’s more of a fact than a tip that moving around throughout the day will keep your mind refreshed and focused. Some studies recommend getting up every 30 minutes is best, but this isn’t always possible. You could be on a Zoom call that lasts longer than that! Or you could be so deep in your workflow that interrupting your focus to get up and move your body ends up being counterproductive.
Instead try to get up every hour, as this is more realistic and less disruptive. Take a 5-minute break to walk around your home/office, or even stretching for a couple of moments to give your brain a chance to reset.
Any movement is good movement and 5 minutes is much better than no minutes!
#5 Be Accountable
If you can create an atmosphere of accountability, you are far more likely to be productive and direct your attention to essential, non-routine tasks. When you are working as part of a team or have a client relying on you to get something done, this pressure to not let others down will shape what you prioritise.
Check out this article on ways you can make yourself accountable to help you stay on track for more tips on your accountability.
#6 Give Priorities a Timeframe
List 3 tasks you want to achieve each day, rank them in level of priority and schedule them in your calendar.
These tasks need to be tasks that help you achieve your goals rather than day-to-day admin tasks.
This exercise will give you more incentive to do things that actually make you feel like you’ve been productive and worked towards growing your business, while still taking things day by day.
#7 Be Unavailable
Everyone knows you are supposed to block off time to assign to productive work, but how strict are you when/if you do this?
When you set aside time to knuckle down and focus, you should block yourself off so that you are completely unavailable. Treat this time as if you are in a meeting, unable to answer phone calls or emails. Put your phone out of reach and out of sight so that you are completely committed to your work.
#8 Don't Multi-Task, Focus!
Building on from the last step, to be able to fully dedicate yourself to being present while you work, you can’t multi-task. Multi tasking is bad!
We’re all guilty of this, but when your brain is jumping from task to task, idea to idea, you’re not going to be investing as much energy as you should be into the task at hand.
Instead focus (again, remove distractions by turning off notifications, email and even putting your phone on do not disturb), complete the task before moving to the next one.
#9 Reward Yourself
Even when we’ve taken all the steps to be as productive as we can during work hours, it can be hard to flip the switch to turn off your work brain and allow yourself to relax. That’s why it’s super important to do things you love during your downtime.
This serves 2 purposes:
- it gives you a reward for being productive during the day, and
- it gives you something to look forward to when you’re lacking motivation.
Ensuring you can spend time on a hobby or be present with your family and friends where you aren’t thinking about work will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.
#10 Rest and Reset
Finally, the one thing you should be doing at the end of the day is truly resting! It’s an absolute must to be kind to yourself and prioritise a consistent sleep schedule.
Trouble turning off? Taking 10-15 minutes shortly before you go to bed to tidy up your surroundings will help you clear your mind and refresh yourself for the next day.
Even if you’ve had a bad day, taking the time to do this will help your future self wake up to a clean space, giving you the best possible chance for a happy and productive day.
Implementing at least one of these suggestions into your day-to-day will reward your productivity almost immediately. Just imagine the long term advantages of integrating all of these habits, which is easily attainable with some practice. By using a habit tracker, you can measure how consistent you are being and how you can improve results.