Today I wanted to share 6 tips that work for me to stay productive every day, especially at work, but also at home, chasing the daily schedule.
The fact that those methods work for me, doesn’t necessarily mean they will work for you. Some of them may, some may not, due to the different reasons first of them being the fact that we’re simply all different, have different skills, characters, behaviors, and experiences.
Please note, that even if it doesn’t work for you, by trying to explore such practices you are already progressing. If you won’t try, you won’t know.
Please also feel free to share your tips with other readers in the comments section.
Tip #1: Get up early
This is a very controversial statement. I know people that may fight to the death that waking up earlier doesn’t work for them. They say it’s their nature, genetics or something. This might be even true. If you are one of those people, you might skip to the next tip.
If you haven’t tried (not once, but consistently for at least one month) then I strongly encourage you to do it.
I’m getting up normally around 5 AM. Usually, it’s dark then. I used to be at the office around 6 AM. When people arrive at the office at 8-9 AM I’m already 2-3 hours there. That’s 2-3 hours of complete silence, uninterrupted, fully focused work (more on that in the Tip #2). There is no black magic here, I’m simply getting like 2 hours more during the day, which I am spending after work with my family, or busy with some other things (like writing this blog!).
In the past, when I was actually building this morning routine, I was getting up and starting the day with some running session. That made me totally remove the feeling of being sleepy in the morning. I had to resign due to some other daily duties (like picking kids from kindergarten :)) but there are many benefits of such approach (if you struggle to find those 2 hours for the training during the day, you know what I mean).
Tip #2: Don’t waste your early hours
I think this is very important if you follow Tip #1. People tend to start their days with things that are totally irrelevant. There’s this agreement between the people that in the morning people are sleepy, so it’s time to chit-chat in the kitchen, have a coffee, waste time checking what happened in the world, and many other tasks that are stealing your precious hours during the day at work. And then, there’s no time to accomplish other tasks and people are complaining that they don’t have time for anything.
Start your day according to your plan (more about it later) and don’t focus on anything else. There are some very nice techniques to stay focused, measure how did it go and improve over time (like Pomodoro technique).
Most successful people are known for their hustle starting early in the morning, dealing with the most important topics first. Later they are spending time on the meetings, and many other topics that involve a lot of people and which costs enormous amounts of time.
It happens that if you follow my Tip #1, this is a period of time that you won’t be interrupted a lot by people because they are mostly sleeping 🙂
Tip #3: Have a weekly/daily plan
It’s like a no-brainer, but let me explain that once again.
If you don’t have a clear plan, you’re wasting time.
Without the plan, the process of organization, setting priorities, measuring progress, measuring performance, and many other aspects of your productivity improvement path are much much harder to do.
As a result, you’re working on tasks that don’t really matter, while the priority tasks are waiting. You have to think about your next step, which is difficult without the big picture, besides it’s again making you lose lots of time during the day which is simply ineffective.
Spend each end of the week preparing your plan for next week.
What is it that you would like to achieve this week? Write it down in whatever tool you’re using for notes and get back to it during the week. Check how did it go when the week is over. Have you accomplished what you planned to do? If not – think of the reason, how could you prevent it from happening next week?
Remember to sort your list by priorities. Those priorities will change over time (life…), so you have to get back to this process each week.
Try to set a plan that is reachable, don’t build plans that are impossible to complete. It’s better to be happy with small wins more than being sad from not reaching an impossible target.
Build your daily plan by the end of each day.
If you have your weekly plan it is very easy, you simply decompose the bigger points to the small list of only a few first steps that you have to do next for this process. This will build up by the end of the week to the final result you wanted to reach. Don’t worry if you over-planned, that’s a skill you will improve over time. An insanely important skill that many people just don’t develop and that makes them very ineffective.
If you follow my Tip #1 and Tip #2, with such approach starting the day is very easy, because you don’t have to think what should you work on, you simply take the tasks from the top of the list. This is really a powerful combination.
Tip #4: Stay healthy
I wrote about it in one of my previous posts, but in the context of productivity, it’s worth mentioning. It just happens that if you’re healthy, your brain works better, you’re less tired, your more optimistic, your body is functioning well, and so your brain is.
Sport, proper diet, but also the joy of life and passion. Believe me, it does the job.
Tip #5: Don’t overdose
Let’s state this clearly here. I don’t write this post to make you work 24 hours a day. You need to sleep. It happens that ~6 hours of sleep works for me, so if I want to get up at 5 AM, I have to get to bed at 11 PM – simple as that.
Sleeping is important, just as having the fun of your life is. The process of continuous improvement must consist of planning, working and retrospective analysis. If you’re noticing during one of such retrospective sessions that you are less efficient than in the past, maybe you’re simply tired? Or bored? Or both?
Being aware of the state of our health is very important. I like to be aware of many things that are related to my health, so I’m wearing a watch that is measuring my sleep quality, my resting heart rate, that counts my physical activity etc. I like to weigh myself each day and generally speaking I’d rather know stuff more than not 🙂
Believe me, if you’re going in the wrong direction regarding your health, usually, all measures are impacted. Resting heart rate grows if you don’t sleep well, so does your weight, so does your stress and problems with concentration.
Be aware of things that are important to you.
Tip #6: Do what you love
Last, but not least 🙂 This is for sure the most important tip for you to register. There is no technique that will boost your productivity more than working on the thing that you love. I think this doesn’t require a lot of explanation. If you feel you don’t love what you’re doing, you’re losing time each day.
Live your passion, enjoy the journey. Be successful.
Those are my techniques for being more productive. I could expand the list a bit, but I think those are the most important topics. There are also things like GTD or other techniques, but I think there’s enough content about it on the internet. Just like applications that are helpful etc.
What are your productivity tips? Share in the comments, let other people benefit from it.
Advent of Blog
This is my sixteenth post in the series of Advent of Blog 2017. I will be publishing one post per day as I mentioned in the first post of the series.