f you’ve ever wondered how you could possibly have a more productive day, look no further. Below you’ll find six easy tips that will help you make the most out of your time.
1. Create a good morning routine.
One of the best ways to start your day is to get up early and eat a healthy breakfast. It’s shown that CEOs and other successful people have similar morning routines, which include exercising and quickly scanning their inboxes to find the most urgent tasks. You can also try writing first thing in the morning to warm up your brain (750 words will help with that). But no matter what you choose to do, remember to create good morning habits so that you can have a more productive day.
Sometimes we can’t have a productive day because we just don’t know where to start. When that’s the case, the most simple solution is to list everything you need to get accomplished, then prioritize these tasks based on importance and urgency. Week Plan is a simple web app that will help you prioritize your week using the Covey time management grid. If you get the most pressing and important items done first, you will be able to be more productive while keeping stress levels down.
For more information on prioritizing, check out Eat the Frogs First – A Guide to Prioritizing.
3. Focus on one thing at a time.
One of the biggest killers of productivity is distractions. Whether it be noise or thoughts or games, distractions are a barrier to any productive day. That’s why it’s important to know where and when you work best. Need a little background noise to keep you on track? Try working in a coffee shop. Can’t stand to hear even the ticking of a clock while writing? Go to a library and put in your headphones. Don’t be afraid to utilize technology to make the best of your time. Sites like focus@will and Simply Noise can help keep you focused and productive all day long.
4. Take breaks.
Focusing, however, can drain a lot of energy and too much of it at once can quickly turn your productive day unproductive. To reduce mental fatigue while staying on task, try using the Pomodoro Technique. It requires working on a task for 25 minutes, then taking a short break before another 25-minute session. After four “Pomodoro sessions,” be sure to take a longer break to rest and reflect. I like to work in 25 and 5-minute increments, but you should find out what works best for you.
5. Manage your time effectively.
A learning strategies consultant once told me that there is no such thing as free time, only unstructured time. But how do you know when exactly you have free time? By using the RescueTime app, you can see when you have free time, when you are productive, and when you actually waste time. With this data, you can better plan out your day and keep yourself on track. Moreover, you can increase the quality of low-intensity time. For example, reading the news while exercising or listening to meeting notes while cooking. Many of the mundane tasks we routinely accomplish can be paired with other tasks that lead to an overall more productive day.
6. Celebrate and reflect.
No matter how you execute a productive day, make sure to take time and celebrate what you’ve accomplished. It’s important to reward yourself so that you can continue doing great work. Plus, a reward system is an incredible motivator. Additionally, you should reflect on your day in order to find out what worked and what didn’t. Reflection not only increases future productivity, but it also gives your brain time to decompress and de-stress.