Have you ever stopped to think about what a productive day would look like for you?
A key thing that will really help you to achieve your goals is visualising what success looks like to you. Want to lose weight? What result will make you feel like you've made it?
The same goes for designing your day. Want to feel super productive when you sign off for the day? What will that look like?
I've been giving this some thought recently and I think I've come up with a basic foundation that anyone can apply to their own lives to design a productive day.
Now this isn't a formula that has to be set in stone - you can adapt it so it looks differently for each and every one of you. But I do believe if you make time for each of these activities and work to integrate them into your day, you're going to see an increase in your productivity immediately.
#1 | START YOUR DAY ON TIME
What happens in the first ten minutes of your day can also set your tone for the rest of it. And it's hard to have a productive day when your morning goes wrong. Fact. Oversleeping, hitting the snooze button or waking up in a bad mood all lead to your day being completely unproductive.
This takes a lot of self-discipline, which doesn't come naturally to people. For me, I have the same routine every morning, and I have no problem getting up when my alarm goes off at 6:30 during the week.
For others, it's not that simple. For when you're struggling, try this instead - give yourself something to look forward to in your routine. Whether it's an exciting breakfast, getting to watch a YouTube video while you get ready or whatever it is that puts a smile on your face - add that in. You'll find that if your day gets off to the best start possible then you'll be super productive and boss it.
#2 | CREATE A MORNING ROUTINE
However much time you have in a morning, establishing a simple routine is key to being productive. Getting to where you want to be doesn't come down to luck - it comes down to working smarter, not harder. That's where your morning routine comes in.
I wrote a whole post about how you can take back your mornings here, but these are a few pointers for you:
- Plan ahead
- Don't hit snooze
- Get focused
- Don't check your emails first thing
- Manage your energy
#3 | KEEP YOUR WORKSPACE ORGANISED
It's no secret that being productive requires some organisation. Which I know can be tricky for some of us! But you don't want to start your work day wondering what you've got to do next. You want to go into it prepped, prepared and ready to go.
Some people prefer working surrounded by clutter, while others prefer a clean slate. You've got to be aware of how you work best and what environment you work best in.
But whatever works for you, tidy your desk at the end of the day and always write your to-do list for the next day. We can waste so much time planning what to do next that we never end up taking action. Being prepared means you'll reach your goal that much sooner.
#4 | MANAGE YOUR TIME IN BLOCKS
Now here's where people get confused with time blocking. They think their time during the day has to be split into even blocks - but it doesn't. You can divide your time up into blocks of anywhere between 30 minutes to three hours. It all depends on the tasks you've got to work on.
And if you don't work from home and have a day job like me, you can do the same with your evenings and weekends too. Focus on your most important tasks and assign those tasks to your specific blocks of time. Then when that time is up, you stop and move on - even if you don't finish a task completely.
It keeps you focused, it keeps you on track and it'll definitely keep your productivity levels up.
#5 | SCHEDULE IN BREAKS
I know this isn't the first time you'll have heard this - but taking regular breaks is key to being productive. Your brain can only handle so much information. Work for 45 minutes, then take a five minute break. Work for 45 minutes then take a five minute break. And on and on.
You'll be surprised at how much it'll make a difference to your productivity - especially if you use your breaks in a meaningful way. Get some fresh air, stretch your legs, meditate - you can do a lot in five minutes.
#6 | RECAP AT THE END OF THE DAY
I mentioned it earlier, but make sure you dedicate time at the end of your day to evaluate your to-do list and write one for the next day. What did you accomplish? What didn't you get done that you wanted to? Reevaluating your list and keeping track of your tasks is really important.
What's also important is to set yourself a cut off time for when you're going to stop working and stick to it. I'm definitely guilty for not doing this! But after a productive day, you need to switch off and make time for your family.
#7 | TREAT YOUR EVENING AS A SCHEDULED EVENT
Making and having your tea, sitting down to watch your favourite TV show, playing with your pet - these are all parts of your day that you should dedicate time too. Taking time to be with yourself and your family is just as important as your work life.
It's easy for us to get lazy in the evening if our work load is so full on. But as I say a lot on this blog - nothing will run right unless you do, so you've got to make an effort to look after yourself.
#8 | REMEMBER THAT SELF-CARE IS CRUCIAL
This is another topic I've written about on ABOH, so I won't respect myself too much here. Self-care is crucial for generating new ideas, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and improving your skills and knowledge. Taking care of yourself today means you'll have a productive day tomorrow.
#9 | GET TO BED AT A DECENT TIME
Just as you schedule your morning wake up call, you should schedule your bedtime too.
The most difficult thing for me is switching off in an evening. Set a cut off point for your work in an evening, one for when you're going to be and one for when you're switching off your light. This will make sure that you're sticking to the times you set, setting you up for a better morning and an even more productive day.
A Final Note...
If you're currently battling with your productivity for your day job, blog or life in general, I really hope this post can be a jumping off point for you to move forward and create a routine that sets you up for a day that is not only productive, but fulfilling and enjoyable too.
What do you do that sets your day up to be as productive as possible? What points from this list will you try?