Productivity is something we all strive for, but it’s not always easy to stay focused on the tasks at hand. There are a few things you can do to create a more productive day, but keep in mind that you have to work at productivity every single day. Like any other habit, productivity has to be done consistently.
Prepare for the Day
The best way to ensure you’re as productive as possible is to prepare the night before. This means setting aside an hour or so to gather together everything you’ll need the next day. Make your lunch, lay out your clothes, set out anything you need to take with you, like your computer, and make a list of the things you need to accomplish the next day.
Use a Calendar
It doesn’t matter if you prefer an electronic or paper version; just use a calendar or planner. If you aren’t sure what kind of planner to choose, try one of these. Having a designated spot to write down and keep up with any meetings, appointments, or deadlines you have is crucial to being productive. It helps you mentally prepare for what’s coming up and plan other things around existing commitments. Regularly updating and referencing a calendar will help you avoid scrambling at the last minute.
In addition to jotting down meetings and appointments, schedule in important tasks. Treating chores and tasks like meetings makes it easier for you to finish them. Do you need to majorly clean your home? Schedule in two hours to get it done one day after work, and commit to having a sparkly house by the time those two hours are up.
Wake Up Earlier
I know this sounds impossible, but waking up one hour earlier than usual will give you more time to tackle tasks. You can use this hour to start your day however you want. You can use it to workout, to enjoy a cup of coffee in peace, or to get ready at your own pace. Having an extra hour in the morning will lessen the stress of rushing in the morning and give you more focus to handle the day.
Create the Ultimate To Do List
Personally, I live for making to-do lists and marking off each task, but making a to-do list is an art. Write down absolutely everything you need to get done and then prioritize those tasks. When prioritizing, put the tasks that you’re not as eager to do first and then finish them ASAP. Putting off tasks you don’t want to do only takes away time. If you get them done first, then you will have more time to dedicate to other areas of your life.
Don’t forget to mark off tasks as you complete them. Checking items off your list can motivate you to finish the rest of your list, and it gives you a sense of accomplishment. Because moving all the dishes from the sink to the dishwasher really is a big deal.
Step Away from Temptations
The number one killer of productivity is distraction. Eliminate the distractions you can control, such as your phone and social media. Put your phone away in a place you can’t see, hear, or feel it buzzing. Don’t even log into your social media accounts. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all very easy to get sucked into. I promise you won’t miss anything important by staying off social media until you get home in the evening (except for a bunch of selfies of people you don’t actually care about).
In addition, close your email if you can. Sometimes you need to keep your email pulled up for work, but close it as often as possible. Set aside 10 minutes in the morning and afternoon to go through emails and respond to important messages.
Take Some Time for Yourself
You might think that you have to keep working until you go to bed in order to be productive. Take it from me, this will only cause you to burn out. Be focused and stay productive at work, but take an hour or two for yourself when you get home. Spend at least one hour doing something enjoyable and relaxing. Go to the gym or work out in your living room, watch your favorite movie or tv show, take a bubble bath, or just lie on your couch and veg out. It doesn’t matter what you do so long as it doesn’t involve running around like a chicken with its head cut off.