We all have days when productivity isn’t near us, based on various factors. This article will cover ten ways that have worked for me and a few other testimonials.
- Have a morning routine/ritual
Whichever tone you start your day with determines the tone for your day. Create a morning routine that consists of tasks that make you feel good. My morning ritual includes prayer and music because those are the two things that I have found to lift my mood. Since I am not a morning person, I engage in my routine as soon as my alarm goes off. That way, it starts on a good note. Should you feel overwhelmed by negative thoughts before your morning routine, see point no.6 on how to challenge them.
- Figure out when you are most productive
People are most productive at different times. I am most effective at night as I struggle to wake up early (we’re often told about the benefits of being an early riser), so I do most of my work then. Take advantage of the time you’re most productive, don’t coerce yourself to wake up early just because a certain percentage of people wake up early. It has to be what works for you.
- Have a daily To-Do list
Usually, when you have a lot of tasks to complete in a day, you’re most likely to get overwhelmed to the point of forgetting some, if not most. That’s where a to-do list comes in. Even though it’s not so crucial to list your tasks in order of priority at first, writing them down will improve your productivity. You can write your to-do list the night before so that you can kick off your day with the first task when you wake up in the morning. I love the feeling of ticking off a task I just completed. Now imagine if I manage to tick off everything on my list by the end of the day. That’ll be worth a big piece of cake as my reward (see point no.9 on rewarding yourself for completed tasks).
- Set a timer for each task
Have a deadline for each task on your to-do list to eliminate too many unnecessary breaks that make you unproductive at the end of the day. Always remember that setting up a realistic deadline for a task shouldn’t put you under insufficient pressure but should motivate you to complete the job and move on to the next one.
- Exercise regularly
Exercising does not only keep our bodies fit, but it also positively impacts concentration. It does not have to be intense workouts. Take a walk, do a few push-ups, squats, or whichever exercise you prefer); this will help your productivity—not forgetting to drink enough water.
- Have a restful sleep
Never underestimate the importance of getting enough sleep. The “my sleeping pattern is a mess” trend is not cute and negatively impacts your productivity. If your time management skills are on point, you should be able to have time for work and time for sleep. Polish your time management skills to fit sleep on the priority list.
Here are a few tips my coach gave me on how to have a soothing sleep:
- Disconnect from your gadgets (phone, computer) for at least 45 minutes to an hour before you sleep.
- Refuse to surrender to negative thoughts. Challenge them by replacing them with good thoughts or asking yourself, “Who told me that?”. If your thoughts are racing about the meeting you have with a difficult investor tomorrow morning, ask yourself, “Who told me that the meeting won’t go well?” or repeatedly say, “I consciously choose to stay calm and positive about tomorrow’s meeting.”
- The last thing you should do right before you sleep is what calms you. Is it reading a good book? Do that. Is it listening to music? Do that.
- Eliminate distractions
Remove everything that distracts you from completing a task. Gadgets are usually distractive. I prefer working away from the internet and social media when I want to complete a task because I get distracted easily. For some people, TV is a distraction; switch it off. Anything that tempts you to stop working, eliminate.
- Start with the most significant task
The first task to work on is the one you dread the most because you are more active and fresher in the morning. If responding to emails or social media replies isn’t tiresome or dreadful for you, then it shouldn’t be the first thing you do. Once you’ve completed the big task, you’ll feel motivated for the rest of the day.
- Reward yourself for completing a task
If you’ve been contemplating finishing that proposal, it’s worth a reward once you’ve completed it. It will motivate you to achieve even more tasks. You can tell yourself that you won’t watch episode 1 of the 3rd season of your favorite series until you complete a specific task. It will be fulfilling to watch it then.
- Take breaks
Lastly, remember that you are not a robot; you need breaks. The mind gets tired, and you can’t be productive; therefore, you need breaks to increase your productivity. Those are the ten ways I’ve used to increase my productivity; I hope they also help you. Don’t hesitate to drop yours in the comment section.