Do you ever look at successful business people and wonder how they manage to squeeze so much into just one day?
Being productive can seem really difficult. We’ve all been there. Head in hands, mind all over, but unable to do any work. It can be very emotionally draining when you’ve got a million things to do and there’s been no progress.
Productivity takes technique. There are many things you are probably doing which hinder your productivity, and just a few changes to your life could see you running things more efficiently. Getting all of your work done means more time to relax. Once you’ve finished that essay, it’s time to put your feet up- so get reading this article!
Here are some useful tips to help you achieve more with your day.
1) Wake up at the right time
Unless you have a job with set hours, try and wake up when your body tells you it’s time. No, that doesn’t mean sleeping in every day- but don’t push yourself to get up at 5 am if you are more of a 9 am the person.
Despite many sources letting you believe that waking up earlier is always better for productivity, this may not be the case. It’s best to make sure you are getting plenty of sleep so that you maintain enough energy all day to see your responsibilities.
Exhaustion does nothing for high-quality work, so it’s better to make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep than to push through fatigue for the sake of work.
2) Eliminate decision-making tasks in the morning
Placing too much strain on your brain early in the morning can drain your cognitive energy levels for the remainder of the day. This reduces your likelihood of being productive and increases the probability of lazy decisions.
In the morning, it’s best to get up and go when it comes to improving productivity. That’s why many successful entrepreneurs plan their daily schedule the night before. Making decisions first-thing is also linked to morning anxiety, so think about what you want to do before you go to bed.
3) Get positive: start the day with a mantra
Positivity is an important part of spending your time valuable. With a negative mindset, you’ll find it much harder to complete your daily tasks efficiently. One way to encourage positivity in your day is to begin it with a mantra.
A mantra is a phrase that you repeat to yourself, out loud, repetitively. Mantras are said to improve concentration and put your mind on the right track- they’re an easy way to improve productivity. Pick a mantra that’s right for you, something that you feel you need to hear. Mantras can be small reminders of things we overlook.
Here are some examples of mantras you could use after waking to help boost focus on improving your day.
- Working while exhausted reduces the effectiveness.
- Summon your willpower.
- The way to get started is to quit talking and get doing.
- Don’t count the days, make the days count.
- In life, people tend to wait for good things to come to them. And by waiting, they miss out.
4) Eat a good breakfast
You’ve likely heard it time and time before, but that’s because it’s true. A healthy, nutritious breakfast will give you the energy you need to take on the day. By skipping breakfast, you’re going to start feeling groggy by lunch- and that’s not good if you’ve got things to do.
The best thing to eat at breakfast is complex carbohydrates because these give you slow-release energy that continues to fuel you throughout the day. Other super breakfast foods are eggs, protein is great for strength and recovery from exhaustion.
5) 90-minute focus sessions
Many studies have shown that the brain’s ability to focus acts in waves. For 90 minutes, the brain is energized and much more able to perform productive tasks. Then, for 20 minutes, the brain undergoes a period of exhaustion wherein working becomes more difficult.
Although you may think that to be productive, you need to work constantly for hours on end- this is simply not true. Between 90-minute study/work brainstorming sessions, make sure you give your brain 20 minutes of rest.
Those 20 minutes will refresh your brain. Not only will this lead to more ease of work, but it will also make your work of a higher quality. By focusing intently for over 90 minutes, the brain will become exhausted and unable to perform tasks to as high of a standard.
6) Focus on three big tasks a day
It may seem like there are a million things you need to do, and maybe there is. However, you can’t tackle them all in the same day. By trying to focus on too many tasks at once, your brain will go into overload. The stress will prevent you from achieving anything. Instead, pick your 3 most important/ urgent tasks and put everything else on the backburner.
This allows you to focus completely on what you are doing, rather than bouncing about between thoughts. As mentioned before, eliminate decision-making tasks in the morning. Write down these 3 tasks for the next day before you go to bed at night. That way, when you get up- you know exactly what you need to achieve that day.
7) Schedule time in blocks
Rather than jumping about from task to task, manage your time in blocks. Once you’ve figured out your 3 priority tasks for the day, allocate a block of time to each task. And remember, make sure that you make time for breaks in order to maximize productivity.
Block allocation keeps your mind on track and reduces stress through organization. Plus, it’ll make sure you make some headway towards your goals each day.
8) Take a nap
Studies have shown that a 10-20-minute power nap can do wonders for energy levels and brainpower. This is so helpful when it comes to being productive. Fatigue increases the likelihood of your brain succumbing to distractions- such as the latest episode of your favorite TV show or a text from a friend.
An energized brain is once which cannot only complete tasks faster but to a higher ability.
Yes, working through fatigue may get that essay done quicker- but you’ll probably not get an A. Not only that, exhaustion can cause huge emotional stress. It’s not worth jeopardizing your mental health for the sake of some extra focus minutes.
Take a nap, and you’ll be ready to get back to work- feeling better. If you are especially exhausted or have a high workload- a longer nap may be preferable. Just make sure you time it right, so you don’t end up feeling even more tired than before.
Take advantage of productivity apps
If you have a smartphone (let’s face it, who doesn’t these days) then you’re in luck. There are thousands of productivity apps for mobiles that allow you to stay productive on the go. What’s more, the majority of them are completely free- or at the least, very affordable.
Some app software will put your phone on lockdown for a certain amount of time. This prevents you from getting caught up watching Facebook dog videos or texting your friends about the latest gossip.
There are apps such as Trello which break up large projects into smaller chunks- making the work more digestible and easier to manage.
There are apps which store your do-to-lists, give you deadline/meeting reminders, and even log how you’ve spent your focus time. So yes, whilst technology can be a huge distraction- it can also be really helpful in streamlining your life.
The key to productivity is different for everybody.
Some work more efficiently in the morning, whilst some power through work better during the night. Copying the routine of successful business people may seem like the solution, but finding your own routine is more important.
Stay positive, and look after your mental health- as it plays a huge part in how much work you are capable of tackling.
By following the tips in this article, you should be well on your way to optimizing your daily routine to boost productivity. That means more time for relaxing and doing the things you love.