Do you spend your days moving from one meaningless activity to the next: surfing youtube, talking to friends, watching people cross the street from your office window? If you are guilty of: wasting time, getting less done in a day than you meant to, missing opportunities, hitting the snooze button 2000 times per morning, or never producing anything in your life of value- you might want to read on below.
1.Get more sleep.
Many of us fail to get the the necessary amount of sleep each day. Most experts recommend anywhere from 6-8 hours per night of quality sleep in order to perform at our best. Waking up groggy sucks, and laying in bed with the snooze alarm beckoning you back to dreamland is a sure fire way to start off your day in the dumps and kill your motivation. Getting in your Zs will help you wake up invigorated and ready to “Carpe Diem baby”!
2.Do something productive first thing every morning.
Completing a task, writing a letter, reading, exercising, making a daily schedule, or watching inspirational videos can all start your day out on the road to success. Our days often have momentum, and if we start out by wasting time or thinking about how we don’t want to face another day, then chances are, those thoughts are going to carry into the rest of our days. Getting something done first thing will often leave you feeling accomplished and ready to go get other important things done.
3.Designate working times and relaxation times.
Studies have concluded that people work best in short bursts with short and frequent rest periods. Scheduling your work to be done in 45 minute increments with 5 or 10 minute breaks will allow you to get more done during your days. I know many people will cringe at the idea that you should spend 10 minutes of every hour taking a break, but they are usually the same people that spend all day at work on facebook rather than wholeheartedly completing their assignments. It is better to give 100% effort in bursts, than it is to coast through the entire day on autopilot.
Getting away from technology for work periods can decrease your potential for distraction and help keep you on task. Try turning your phone on silent, and try staying off of facebook and instagram while you are in a scheduled work time, and your efficiency might just go way up.
5.Make a daily schedule.
Making a daily schedule each night before you go to sleep, or making a daily plan a week ahead of time-on a set day- can greatly increase how much you get done each day. When we have a realistic daily schedule with our expectations for the day listed, we are much more likely to actually get done what we need to get done.
6.Keep a running list.
Keeping a running list -think minnie journal or sticky note- that we write down everything we need to do as it comes up in our day is great way to unclutter our minds and get more important things done each day. We might have great schedules and organization, but unfortunately life is not organized; often times, life throws things at us in the moment that we will have to get done sooner than later: keeping a running list can help reduce needless anxiety; whenever something comes up that you need to get done, or if you have an idea of something that you might want to do, write it down. You’ll spend less time trying to remember what you have to do and more time getting it done.
7. Set goals.
Setting long term goals can help provide us with motivation to drive us in our daily lives. After all, a productive day can only be measured if you get things done; getting things done that will take us closer to our goals is not only more efficient, but more rewarding as well.
8.Focus on production capacity over production.
In the book “7 habits of highly effective people” one key concept of the book is focusing on production capacity over production. An example is: a manager at a factory focuses only on production; he pushes his workers with long hours and few breaks for rest; he runs machines constantly without proper maintenance being performed because it would cause downtime; eventually the workers get tired, the machines break down, and production grinds to a halt; several weeks must now be spent to recoup the workers and machinery.
In the previous example, the manager was obsessed with production, and because he did not focus on ways to increase the capacity for production, production eventually stopped completely. When we are planning our days, sometimes it is best to focus on improving instead of “doing”. If we want to make money we can either: work ourselves to the bone at a low paying job and save everything we make for years; or we can take time off of work, go to school, get a better paying job, and work less for the same pay. By focusing on improving ourselves we increase our capacity to make money in the future. Not all of our daily actions can be doing, it takes planning and careful consideration as well. If we aren’t getting enough done maybe the issue isn’t not doing anything, maybe we need to ask ourselves “what could I do right now, to allow myself to get more done?”.
There are many different ways to increase our productivity and this list represents only a few, but if you will commit to applying a few of these tips to your days, I am sure you will be experiencing more efficient days quickly.