Do you struggle to get everything done during the day? Are you looking for advice and tips on ways to be more productive?
Look no further! Here are eleven habits that will help you to have a productive, stress-free day, every day!
11 Habits for A Productive Day
CREATE A TO-DO LIST
Let’s get the basics covered: how on earth are you going to keep track of all the things you want to get done without having some form of a to-do list? It might seem like real basics but this is the number one thing that helps me to stay organised each day.
I would recommend keeping it simple. There are countless apps, computer programmes and paper diaries on the market that are meant to help you keep your life organised, however, I find that nothing is more effective than a piece of paper and pen, or Google Tasks.
I tend to write things down on paper throughout the day, and then transfer over to Google Tasks as soon as I am at my computer. Find a system that works for you and stick to it every day.
DO THE MOST IMPORTANT TASK FIRST BEFORE LUNCH
It’s common for us to feel sluggish and lethargic after lunchtime, so to get the most out of my workday, I always like to work on the most daunting or important task first thing in the morning.
This way you can be sure that the urgent matters have been taken care of, and you can spend your afternoon a little more relaxed knowing that only the medium/low priority tasks are left to do that day.
TAKE REGULAR BREAKS
In a list of tips for improving efficiency and productivity, me saying make sure to take regular breaks might sound counter-productive. However, taking breaks away from your work is essential to keeping your focus and creativity in whatever you’re doing.
For every hour that you are working, take five minutes away from your workstation. Walk around your office, make a cup of tea or walk around the carpark for a minute. Whatever it is, just make sure to take a moment to yourself.
Make sure to have a 30-60 minute break every 4 hours and use this time to get some fresh air or exercise. If you have time to go to the gym, then this will help revitalize you for the afternoon ahead, otherwise, just take a walk around the area of your workplace.
Breaks are essential to keeping yourself motivated and focused throughout your day. You will get much more done working an 8 hour day with 2 hours worth of break time than you would if you worked for 10 hours straight without a break.
BREAK UP TASKS INTO SMALLER BITS
If there are any tasks that you hate doing, but you know need to get done, then break the task up into small 30-minute sessions. Every half hour, spend some time doing something else, or taking a break, and then go back for another 30-minute session on the big job you’re dreading completing.
Breaking the task into small sections will make it seem much less daunting and facing it will be more manageable. You know deep down that this task needs to get done – so stop putting it off otherwise it’ll weigh on your shoulders until you are left with no choice other than to face it.
Many of us are taught when we’re younger that multitasking is the key to being a flexible, productive adult. Actually, the opposite is true. When you dedicate your full attention to one task at a time, you complete that task faster, and to a better standard than if you were to be juggling multiple jobs at once. So prioritize the order that you want to complete each of your daily jobs and work your way down the list one thing at a time.
When you try to wear many different hats all at the same time, you become confused and foggy and everything you do will end up being of a mediocre standard – and nobody wants to be mediocre, do they!?
LEARN TO SAY NO
You can’t do everything. There are only 24 hours in a day and while managing your time well will help you to get more done during the day, you still need to accept that you can’t make the day longer. If you try to burn the candle at both ends then your business, health and productivity will all suffer.
Learn to say no to the things that aren’t a priority, essential or that you simply aren’t interested in giving your time to. Forget about offending people if you say no to dinner invitations, sports events or meetings that aren’t going to propel you forward.
I am not saying to blow off your friends every single week, but if you have a tonne of meetings and work to get done at that point in time, then your friends will understand if you need to take a rain check once in a while.
GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
A productive day always starts the night before. If you wake up tired and just about managed to roll out of bed in time, then the rest of your day is going to follow a similar pattern. So make sure that you are well-rested.
Adequate sleep is essential for concentration, problem-solving, mood, creativity and alertness. So what makes you think that you’re better off staying up and working late rather than hitting the hay early?
If you work a ten-hour day with only four hours of sleep, you will get less work done than you would if you worked a six-hour day with eight hours of sleep the night before.
AUTOMATE WHAT YOU CAN
Any task that you can automate: automate it. Take the load off your plate by reducing the number of daily tasks on your agenda.
In my business, I use MailChimp and Tailwind to automate email marketing and social sharing for this blog. It would not be possible for me to have grown this blog to nearly 2000 monthly visitors in its first month without automating these tasks.
No matter what business you’re in, find tools that will allow you to automate the tedious tasks and give you time to get back to work on the more important things. Even if the software you need is a little expensive, it’s worth the investment if you are serious about growing your business.
If you are also looking to start or grow your blog then I can’t rave about Tailwind enough. Tailwind allows me to pin my blog posts almost 100 times a day to different group and personal boards on Pinterest automatically. The only work required is every fortnight when I spend around an hour scheduling all my pins for the two weeks ahead. If you have a blog and are looking to increase your traffic then Tailwind is essential in achieving this. Tailwind offers a 100 pin free trial so why not sign up today and see the incredible results for yourself?
If you haven’t heard of this before, the 80/20 rule states that 80% of your results will come from 20% of your actions. Once you can understand this concept, you can use this rule to improve your productivity and results in your business. If you are running a one-man ship, or you want to improve your team’s efficiency, then remember that if you spend 20% or more of your time on the task that produces the most results, then you are going to build a more successful business.
I always use examples that apply to blogging because this is my area of business, but you should be able to relate this to any field: most of my blog traffic comes through Pinterest. So it makes more sense for me to spend most of my networking time working on my Pinterest presence, rather than trying to master Facebook, LinkedIn and email marketing at the same time, which would probably actually yield less desirable results.
SWITCH OFF FROM EMAILS
Emails are an absolute killer for productivity. It is so tempting to scroll through emails, reading special offers and mailing lists from your favourite brands, wishing people in the office happy birthday and reading business updates that you know you’re not interested in but you are just trying to put off doing any real work.
If you want to get all your work done, then spend no more than 30 minutes in the morning checking your emails, and then switch off and get stuck into your work for the day.
If you need to close down Outlook, Google or iCloud to take away the temptation to ‘Send/Receive’ then do it!
Email is one of the most innovative additions to the business world in the last thirty years, however, the world has gone a little email crazy and it’s having a huge impact on our productivity.
So spend a limited amount of time in the morning updating yourself from the day before and responding to anything urgent, and once your time is up…. your time is up!
START YOUR MORNING OFF WELL
Starting your morning off with a bang will set you on the right path to having a successful day. Get up early, make your bed, eat breakfast and shower. These simple tasks can make such a difference to the remainder of our day.
If you get up 20 minutes before you’re due to leave the house, scramble around trying to pick an outfit, just manage to brush your hair and then spend the last few seconds hunting around for your keys, you’re going to end up continuing to have a frantic and stressful day.
Plan your outfit the night before, leave things like your keys, glasses and phone by the door and get up in time to shower and follow a morning routine that suits you. I promise if you do this, the rest of your day will follow a much more focused and productive fashion.
To Finish Off…
I hope that you enjoyed reading my tips for improving productivity and effectiveness. Let me know if you tried any of these and if they made a difference in your life, and if you have any more advice on this topic, then please leave me a comment below!