Have you ever woken up with a to-do list the length of a CVS receipt—only to go to bed with a to-do list that’s the length of a CVS receipt? We’ve all experienced it...the perils of information overload...the excruciating analysis paralysis. With today’s technology at our fingertips, information and distractions abound. It can feel impossible to focus on our accomplishing our goals for the day. Want to get back in the driver’s seat and steer your day the productive way? A quick way to begin driving toward productivity is to implement these tips below.
Tip #1: Stay Organized
Before the next day comes crashing down upon you, get ahead by getting organized. Where will you be the next day—the office, playing chauffeur to your kids, meeting an important client for lunch? Save crucial addresses or phone numbers in your phone (or somewhere equally handy) so you’re not scrambling the next day for directions or contacts. Make sure you have that report ready to go or your kids’ baseball equipment packed in the car. Having these items organized beforehand saves time and energy, and prevents headaches.
Tip #2: Write a List
If you’re like me, you’ve gone mostly digital, but you’re holding out on the sticky notes. I love my sticky notes. Whatever your preference though, write down your list or type it out. On one sticky / digital note, write down the things you HAVE to get done by day’s end. These are tasks that are time-sensitive and nonnegotiable. These are your priorities. Separately, write down the things you’d LIKE to get done—time permitted.
Tip #3: Do the Hardest Work at the Beginning of the Day
You’re using Tip #1 to stay organized, and you’ve done Tip #2 and written your list...but sometimes you still don’t know where to begin. We tend to be fresher in the morning—more alert and energized. So harness that energy and pour it into the hardest task you’ve got for the day. Knock it out in the beginning, and save the less daunting stuff for afterwards.
Tip #4: Take Breaks
Have you seen that viral video of the little boy asking his sister if she’s had her nap today? NO?! (opens in a new tab)—it’s only 14 seconds—it’s cute and hilarious and HAS A VALID POINT. [And look—I’m giving you a little break ;) ] While we can’t all doze off for a midafternoon nap, we can and SHOULD take breaks throughout the day. Recharge your batteries. Stretch your legs. Go outside. Taking breaks (even if they’re short!) can increase productivity. In fact, taking just one microbreak (defined as anything from 30 seconds to 5 minutes) can increase mental acuity by an average of 13%. (opens in a new tab)for more information.
Tip #5: Keep Multitasking to a Minimum
We may believe multitasking propels us closer to our goals. More times than not, it simply bears bleak, dull results for each individual task. And according to OnlineCollege.org, (opens in a new tab). This doesn’t mean we can’t get multiple things accomplished in one day. Just try focusing on one task at a time—seeing it through before jumping to the next one.
Keep these 5 tips in mind when you’re preparing for the day’s activities. You’ll be able to get your mind focused and gain clarity on your goals.