Most people out there approach each day with the best of intentions at making each day the most productive day possible, every day, myself included. But practically speaking, it doesn’t happen too often. Meanwhile, you see or hear of that overachieving peer or competitor of yours, waking up at early morning hours, and cashing in on the extra time they gain. Moving easily through the afternoon hours, crushing the day on key projects, getting their work outs in, eating right, and even finding time to be on committees and other networking opportunities. Then they can finish off the day early to attend key family functions, being the parent that never misses anything, or the spouse that does amazing things for their significant other.
How do they have that energy? Where do they find the time to do all these things? Who can possibly be so perfect and do everything that they know they should do every day? What do they know that you don’t? Why can’t you figure these things out and get more done? What is their secret?
Well, if you have read any of my work, then you know by now, there are no real secrets for productivity. Much of what I share all comes down to tried and true practices that most of us avoid because we don’t have the discipline to act on them daily. I don’t mean to sound like I am preaching, but I have studied exceptionally successful people, I have acted as the guinea pig, and I can tell you that when I do what I know I should do I accomplish amazing things. And when I get lazy and slip out of my routines, I begin to lose my productivity and regress in what I am accomplishing.
So, what’s the good news? Well, a few changes to your daily routine can be very effective in making you glide smoothly through your day just like the most productive person you know. Best of all, these practices will create momentum and allow you to be the envy of everyone else, while you achieve amazing things and benefit from this new surge of productivity!
Know and review your goals daily
So, you know that I had to include that one if I wrote a book on goal setting. Seriously though, knowing what is important to you, will allow you to prioritize your day and accomplish the most important things, every day. Remember, sometimes productivity isn’t about doing everything, it’s about doing the most important things. You can’t do the most important things, unless you know what they are, and they need to be directly associated with your biggest most important goals.
Plan your day the night before
Planning your day the night before has so much value, it’s impossible to quantify how helpful this is. I can tell you that the practice of reviewing my goals and tasks the night before or first thing the day of, helps ensure I am more productive by carving out the time for the important tasks of the day. This practice has helped me to avert key issues such as remembering meetings I neglected to book into my calendar or move things around to adjust for a challenging day. Even just the ability to free my mind from everything I must remember and allow me to go to bed with a clear mind. I wake more refreshed and energized.
Identify your blind spots
A very important factor is identifying your blind spots. The phrase “You don’t know what you don’t know” is a very revealing concept. In common language, blind spots are things you can't physically see, but in this case, what I mean is, weaknesses of yours that you likely don’t know you have. For instance, most people have trouble concentrating on tasks after a certain time period. For them, regular short breaks are necessary to keep the productivity bus moving forward. Another consideration is underestimating how long it takes to do tasks. By assuming a task will only take 20 minutes, when it will most certainly take an hour or even 90 minutes, is a recipe for productivity failure. Know that you have these blind spots and manage to them accordingly.
Wake up early
Start off with making a habit to wake up early. It does seem hard at first, for some it probably is very hard, but it is absolutely worth it. Over time, you will adapt, remember humans are designed to adapt to our surroundings, if you introduce something like waking up at 6am, you will eventually adapt, and this will become your new wake up time. It will likely take 4 to 6 weeks, maybe longer, but again, it is worth it. The few extra hours you get are the hours that most unproductive people are missing out on. You will most certainly find these are by far your most productive hours of the day!
Push your limits
Challenge yourself. Many people set up week-long or month-long challenges for themselves to try to introduce something new. Last year, I decided it was time to get up earlier and get even more productive time in my day. I began getting up at 4am, at the time my average wake up time was 5:30am, but since last July 2017, I now wake up at 4am about 80% of the time without an alarm clock. It has taken longer to adapt this practice, but had I not pushed myself beyond my previous limits, I would not have had time to start 2 new businesses while staying on top of my current obligations. Test your limits and challenge yourself, you will often be surprised by how much more you can handle, when you are using productive habits to steer your day.
These are some proven productivity concepts that I am certain will help you, as they have helped me. Remember, you may not be able to do all of them right now but challenge yourself to do 1 or 2 of them to start. Then you can build from there!
Let me know by commenting below how you stay productive or plan to start.
Have a phenomenal rest of your week!