The dawn breaks on yet another glorious morning, and you’re ready to get your day started.
You want to get more things done than you did yesterday.
But just where do you begin?
In this post, I offer seven tips to help you be more productive during the day.
Try any of these tips the next time you want to give your daily productivity levels a boost.
Get a good night’s rest.
It’s difficult to work well when you’ve had less than four hours of sleep the night before.
Starting today, set a reasonable bedtime for yourself, and stick to it.
Carefully monitor and limit your caffeine intake during the day.
Switch off that cellphone and computer completely (yes, completely) before going to bed, and cover any bright LED light or alarm clock displays, as they can disrupt your sleep cycle.
Try reading a print book or magazine before going to sleep, that is, an actual printed hardcopy, no tablets or electronic readers.
Add a personal touch to your to-do list.
To-do lists are commonly filled with things work and home responsibilities: turning in a report, calling back a client, picking up the dry cleaning, walking the dog, and so on. But your lists don’t have to be dreary reminders of those less-than desirable tasks. Why not add-on a couple of items that you’d actually like to accomplish?
How about calling your best friend to see how they’re doing? Enjoying a long soak in the bathtub? Opening up that package of new cookbooks you ordered two weeks ago? How different would your to-do list look if you had two or three items that actually brought you a little bit of joy and anticipation?
Get out of your comfort zone.
Being comfortable is one thing, but being too comfortable with your productivity habits can be a real downer. Spice things up by trying new ways to solve your productivity challenges. What productivity technique or approach makes you feel slightly uncomfortable when you think about it? It might very well be the solution you seek!
Getting out of your comfort zone might mean asking a colleague for help with a project, delegating some of your work, learning a new computer program or application, learning how to type, creating work from a template, or reeling in those perfectionist tendencies.
Create a regular routine.
Do you have a regular work routine at the office? If you don’t, you really should consider setting one up. A regular routine can calm your mind and body, allow you to get a bird’s eye of your work, and allow you to work on tasks in a streamlined fashion.
Some ideas include reviewing tomorrow’s calendar items at the end of the work day, switching on your computer in the morning, writing down your top tasks for the day before diving into your work, and so on.
If you’re unable to create a work routine at the office, you can create a regular routine for yourself at home as you prepare for the day, or even when you arrive home from work.
Limit items on your to-do list.
It’s highly unlikely you’ll complete a 150-item to-do list in eight hours. Just because something is on your to-do list, doesn’t mean it has to be done right now. It’s a to-do list, not a to-do right now list!
Review your to-do list for a couple of minutes. What items are truly urgent and important, and must be completed today? Pick a few items to take care of, and have at it. You can always complete new set of tasks tomorrow.
Quantify your productivity goals.
Instead of saying, “I want to be more productive,” take a minute to dig down a little deeper. Specify exactly what it is you want to accomplish, and attach a quantifiable number to it.
For example, do you want to process 15 more invoices than you did yesterday? Do you want to read 30 pages of a book today, for a report that’s due next Tuesday? Once you specify what it is you want to accomplish, you can better plan the individual steps you’ll need to take to get there.
Break up your day.
For some odd reason, some people think that working through the day without a break is a sign of achievement. Let me tell you plainly that it isn’t! Get ready, because I’m going to give you a wake up call. You’re not a robot. You’re not an automaton. You’re a living human being. You need to take breaks. Period.
You need to take a break from staring at that computer screen. You need to get up and stretch your arms and legs regularly. You need to eat food, and you most certainly shouldn’t put off that trip to the restroom. If you’re feeling sluggish in your work, take a break. You’ll come back to your work refreshed.
How about you? What do you consider to be a productive day? Is it doing all the things you set out do that day, or is it finally accomplishing something that’s been dragging on for weeks and weeks, or is it something else entirely? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!