How To Be Productive
I love going to bed at the end of a day feeling productive. It is a feeling that means I accomplished a lot and I feel good about how I spent my day. It may also mean I used my time wisely or how I intended. Although it may not be possible to experience this feeling every day, there are a few things we can do to be more productive on the days we want.
Prepare for a productive day.
A productive day starts the night before with some preparation. After dinner, think about your next day and all the things you can do ahead of time.
- Pick out your clothes for the next day. Pack your gym bag. These decisions take time and can be done the night before your next day begins.
- Prepare your food for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. Wash and chop ingredients. Pack up what you can.
- Gather what you need for your appointments/work. Finding papers and documents can be stressful when under pressure in the morning.
Set yourself up to succeed.
Start your day with a strong morning routine and some daily habits that support you to be at your best. What do you need in the morning to feel great? Think of your mind, body, and soul.
- What helps to clear your mind? Journaling a few thoughts or putting your worries on paper can help. Meditating for a few minutes helps to calm our minds so we can think clearly.
- What helps to strengthen your body? A morning walk, a few minutes of yoga, or trip to the gym can give us more energy for our day.
- What nurtures your soul? A hot cup of tea or coffee, a candlelight breakfast, or writing in a gratitude journal can start your day with fullness and intention.
Create a plan that works for you.
There is no “one-shoe-fits-all” strategy for being productive. Figure out what works for you and create a schedule that allows you to complete your tasks.
- Group together repetitive tasks for efficiency like emails, phone calls, or appointments.
- Assign some tasks to certain days like “Finance Fridays” for paying bills and updating budgets.
- Block mornings for creative work and afternoons for administrative work.
Stay focused on what is important.
It is easy to get distracted and allow interruptions to change the course of our day. Staying focused requires a little determination to guard your time so you can accomplish what is important to you.
- Notice what things or people tend to distract us from our work. Ask co-workers to schedule an appointment, silence your phone and turn off notifications.
- No more multi-tasking. Although this concept sounds like a good strategy for accomplishing a lot, multi-tasking produces less in quality and quantity. “Single tasking” allows you to be more productive and efficient. Do one thing at a time with all your attention and focus.
Recharge your day throughout the day.
Just like a cup of coffee gives you that energy burst in the morning, we can recharge ourselves without using caffeine during the day. Slowing down in the afternoon is normal especially If we have had a productive morning.
- Continue performing at your best by eating well. Avoid sugary foods that give you a quick energy spike followed by a sugar crash. Snack on fruit and veggies instead.
- Squeeze in some movement if you sit at a desk all day. Take a quick walk during your break or hold a meeting while you walk around outside.
- Stay hydrated. Drink water all day. You will not feel sluggish if you are fully hydrated.
Reflect on what worked well, what could be better, and what’s next.
At the end of the day, take a few deep breaths. Take the time to reflect and notice what you enjoyed about your day.
- What went well? We often focus on problems and forget to acknowledge the things that are going well.
- What could have been better? Without judgment, ask yourself what you could have done better that day.
- What will you do tomorrow? Learn from any mistakes and try to do better the next day. Improve just a little every day.
Prepare to sleep well.
At the end of your day and after you have prepared for the next day, get ready for sleep. Clear and calm your mind, body, and soul so you can sleep deeply. Experiment with things that help you to relax in your cozy bed.
- Write down your thoughts on paper by journaling a few words before bed.
- Meditate for a few minutes to help clear a busy mind and to let go of worries or stress.
- Take a hot shower or bath to relax stiff muscles.
- Turn off devices and limit screen time an hour before bed.
- Read something inspiring or entertaining.
Plan your work, work your plan.
Even with the best plans, we still must be flexible when unexpected things happen. But without a plan, we might just sort of go through the day without direction. Plan your day/work and work your plan to the best of your ability. Make the adjustments you need to fit your lifestyle and personality until you find what helps you to be your most productive self. Be patient with yourself until you find what works for you!