When you wake up in the morning, you know what you have to do that day. You may have a to-do list saved in your phone or a calendar waiting for you on your desk. Everything comes with a deadline, but the hours slip away from you when you focus on your work.
Sometimes the busiest people feel like they get the least amount of work done. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and frustrated when you can’t check things off your list every day. You want to become more productive, but you don’t know where to start.
Check out these easy tips to learn how to do something productive every day. Whether you have a packed schedule or time to spare, you’ll figure out how to prioritize what you need to maximize your productivity.
1. Find Your Rhythm
After you get up in the morning, are you ready to go or does it take you a few hours to get up to speed? Maybe you feel like you need a nap every afternoon to power through your work late at night.
Everyone has a slightly different rhythm that takes time to discover. It controls when you feel energized, when you need breaks and how to make the most out of your day. Write down how you feel throughout the day in a journal and reflect after a few days of recording your thoughts and energy level. You’ll discover when you feel energetic and ready to tackle your most significant projects.
2. Clean Things Up
Where do you spend most of your time? It may be where you work from home or at your desk in your office. You might drive for a living and spend your days in the car. Wherever you pass the time, consider cleaning it up.
A clean environment improves cognition and decision-making skills, relieving our anxiety and stress at the same time. Throw out the trash in your car and organize your desk. Your mindset will improve and help you tackle your responsibilities.
3. List Your Daily Goals
A great way to plan to have a productive day is to list your goals. After you create your list, every decision you make should help you get closer to those goals. It narrows down what you can do to be productive, instead of leaving all your goals undefined and up to chance. If you have trouble setting goals at the start of the day, try learning new ways to use a familiar tool, such as Google Docs.
4. Get Rid of Distractions
Sometimes getting rid of distractions is all you need to improve your focus. Turn off your notification sounds and put away your phone. Pause your music so you don’t feel tempted to sing along. Even a TV making noise in the background could pull you away from what you need to do. Figure out what distracts you the most and get rid of it to become more productive.
5. Organize Your Inbox
After you boot up your computer and log into your email account, are you greeted with tons of unopened messages? You might start working your way down the list or answer the last email first. You feel slightly overwhelmed, but you slowly make your way through the unread emails. That’s progress, right?
If you spend your time answering emails that aren’t time-sensitive and you leave the ones that are, you’re wasting daylight. The best thing you can do is to use your downtime productively and organize your email. When you’re on your lunch break, riding the bus home or just starting your day, take a few minutes to organize your emails by priority so you get everything done.
6. Learn to Say ‘No’
Everyone wants to be a team player, impress their boss and make a difference where they work or go to school. It’s tempting to say “yes” whenever someone asks you to do something, but that drains your energy and uses up precious time.
Learn when to say “no” to people to do something productive with your day. You can occasionally help someone out, but remember your responsibilities. You’ll only accomplish your goals if you put yourself first sometimes, too.
Try Something Different
It’s hard to do something new when you’re used to your routine, but that could be why you don’t always reach your daily goals. Try something different to see what works for you. Saying “no,” listing your goals and even organizing your inbox could get you closer to the productivity levels you aspire to reach.
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