Whether you feel generally fulfilled or are still seeking your purpose, there is always an aspect of life that you can improve. Many of us can refine our lives by becoming more productive throughout our day. Sure, there will be days during which we’ll want to fight the sunlight, toss and turn in bed all day and ignore important duties. But there are habits that we can integrate into our routine to ensure that we find a purpose every day and ultimately build the best version of ourselves. Here are 10 ways to increase productivity throughout the day:
1. Plan and set a goal
One of the most important steps to take when preparing for a productive day is to plan ahead.
It’s important to put your day’s goals in writing and manifest them. Don’t be afraid to pull out a pen and paper. If those aren’t handy, your phone’s memo pad will do. What’s a better way to improve your quality of life than to keep track of your progress?
The first step is to identify which daily tasks are most important. If possible, create a simple to-do list. The list should only cover the most important errands and tasks you would like to get done.
Some people like to start with easy tasks and ease their way into the harder ones. Others prefer completing the hard tasks first to get them out of the way, preventing nerves. Figure out what’s best for you. Would you rather finish your work documents before sitting back to check emails or would you rather start with scrolling through your emails and gradually easing your way into the tasks that require more thought and effort?
2. Set a pace and structure to your day
The best way to make sure that you will check out every task on your to-do list is to create schedule productivity blocks throughout the day for each task you need to complete. For example, some writers schedule a 90-minute productivity block during which they execute articles. Others follow the “80/20 rule” to schedule productivity time for 80% of their day and take a break for the remaining 20%.
Breaks are a short-term reliever. They're valuable because they give you something to look forward to and motivate you to finish your productive time off strong.
There is now modern software that can help you keep track of the activities that you engage in throughout the day. A few software include Todoist, Trello, and Slack. Your calendar, however, is equally effective.
3. Get enough, quality rest.
Many of us late-night owls refuse to accept it, but it’s important to avoid the all-nighters and get enough hours of sleep every night. Studies show that 7-9 hours of good-quality sleep is crucial to re-charge our energy for the following day’s activities.
Avoid habits that interrupt your sleep, such as setting multiple alarms in the morning. When you hear the alarm, get up right away. Staying in bed to await the next alarm will only tempt you to roll in the comfort of your bed, waste minutes of potential value and trap yourself into a lazy rather than a productive frame of mind.
Getting the appropriate rest is important to ensure that you will feel rejuvenated, full of energy, and ready to work the following day.
4. Give yourself “me” time. Do something you enjoy.
Rushing through your morning can set the tone for a stressful day. Make sure to wake up early enough to complete your morning activities, like making your bed, tidying up your home and workspace, and of course, eating breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day, we’ve all heard the saying. Among its numerous benefits, breakfast promotes concentration and memory. Both qualities are essential for a successful, productive day. If you have extra time before starting your big tasks, use it to engage in activities that you enjoy, such as sitting outside, reading or working out.
5. Avoid distractions
We are social creatures. It’s natural to desire interaction with our loved ones. In this day and age, social interaction is one of many activities we can indulge in through one of our most common distractions: our smartphones.
Distractions and lack of concentration are immense productivity killers. Chatting with your family, friends, and coworkers makes for a pleasant time but doesn’t help you concentrate on your tasks. Instead of cutting off your productivity time to chat with your loved ones, set part of your free time aside to spend with them and save the social media scrolls, email checks, and games for another time.
6. Concentrate, catch your thoughts
Lack of concentration is a menace to productivity. The key to working through a task is to dedicate your full attention and effort. Try your best to concentrate on the task at hand and push yourself to finish it without social interruptions and your phone.
It’s important to figure out what works best for you. During which time of the day do you have a higher ability to concentrate? Try various schedules and stick to the one that spikes your productivity up the most.
7. Declutter, tidy up and keep things organized.
Understandably, things can get hectic when we try to brisk our way through the day. But our surroundings often reflect our state of mind. By keeping our home and workspace organized, we can increase productivity by saving the stress of rummaging through a mess and promoting self-comfort within our workspace.
8. No multitasking
We often make the common mistake of believing that taking on several activities at a time will help us finish our to-do lists faster.
As much as many people would like to knock off a document from work, email checks and a new movie all at once, multitasking is associated with increased distractibility and decreased general efficiency. The act can harm an individual’s productivity more than it can help it. Each task on your to-do list deserves the best of you. By completing one task at a time, you are more likely to focus on the quality of your work, which is more important than the quantity. Quality work will lead you to feel fulfilled and satisfied with your daily tasks.
9. Listen to Personal Development Videos and Audios
Find ways to edify your thoughts by reading personal development blogs, listening to audio such as podcasts or watching videos on YouTube. Many people listen or watch as they clean the house, fold clothes, wash dishes or engage in other activities that require time, but not much thought. Personal development blogs, videos, and audios efficient in expanding your knowledge on how to increase your productivity.
10. Stay positive and motivated
Personal development isn’t measured by what you can achieve in a day, but rather your level of comfort and happiness, and how you feel living your day-to-day routine. Remember, things don’t happen overnight. Find which routine works best for you, work efficiently (both hard and smart) and continue to work towards the best version of yourself. Take your productivity pursuit a day at a time and be proud of yourself along the way.
By Karla Florez (U.S), for Let's Talk Coaching
Opinions expressed by Let's Talk Coaching contributors are their own.