Where are you right now? Are you sitting at home, scrolling through your phone for interesting articles to read? Are you looking at a laptop in your office reviewing news feed updates? Chances are that no matter where you are at this very moment, you have at least three other things you could — or should be doing — in order to say that you had a “productive” day. I always have at least 10 different tasks I could be working on at any given moment in time.
So, how do we deal with this? How do we go through each day and accomplish as much as possible without burning ourselves out?
Here are a few tips I’ve found that can help boost productivity and increase daily output:
Set a Morning Routine
True productivity is contingent upon routine. Set yourself up for success with a morning schedule that allows you to wake up, focus, and mentally and physically prepare yourself for all you need to accomplish that day. Stick with it for a few weeks and see how it affects your confidence and productivity at work. Your morning routine doesn’t necessarily need to consist of waking up at 4:30 a.m. to work out for two hours, but it should include things that allow your mind and body to focus on what’s ahead of you.
I wake up early enough to work out (yoga is a great body-strengthening and mind-focusing activity!), have a light breakfast, and spend a few moments with my husband before we both rush off to work for the day.
Think about what will allow you to confidently walk out the door each morning, and your work days will become that much more productive
It’s amazing how much removing distractions will aid in increasing your productivity and focus. I’m not referring to obvious distractions like busy meeting days, your phone constantly ringing with clients on the other end, or co-workers coming in and out of your office to ask questions all day. Sometimes these types of distractions are simply out of your control.
Instead, I’m talking about the smaller distractions that are completely within your power to change, like making sure your desk is organized before you start work in the morning, or making sure the temperature of your work environment is comfortable. If there’s anything that might unnecessarily pull your focus away from your job that you can easily change, change it! You’ll find that removing these minor disturbances isn’t just easy, but makes a huge difference in your ability to buckle down and focus on the task at hand
This is one of my favorite things to do every day to jumpstart my productivity. I make lists for my professional life, my personal life, and even just for meditative reasons.
Your brain is like a sponge: It’s constantly soaking up new information. And that sponge fills up quickly. That’s why it’s important to clear your mind in order to make room for more information.
Take the first few minutes of every day to pour out everything that’s taking up space in your brain. Simply write down your thoughts, ideas and to-dos to create space in your mind for other thoughts as well as visualize what needs to get done. This will free you up to actually focus on the items on your list with more clarity and distinct thoughts, which in turn will help you become more productive.
Adhere to the “5-Minute Rule”
After making my list in the morning before I start work, I like to do what I call the “5-Minute Rule.” Quickly scan the list you just made of your goals and to-dos for the day and put a star next to the things that will take fewer than five minutes to complete. Then, do them immediately.
This way, in the first 30 minutes of your day, you have multiple items already completed and crossed off your list! There’s so much to be said about not only writing things down and visualizing what needs to be done, but actually crossing things off. Being able to quickly cross items off my list is one of the most motivating things I can do to increase my productivity.
So, did you say you were at home? At the office? Wherever you are right now, take a moment to decide what you are going to do that will allow yourself to have a more productive day — and do it.