who is running your day?
I frequently remind my children and employees to have a plan for the day BEFORE it starts. This will determine if you are running your day or if your day is running you. How many times have you started the day with the best of intentions to do things like work out, eat healthy or mark items off your list? This is until your day has a different plan for you. In reality, the day starts by hitting snooze more than a few times, finally, when your feet hit the floor the morning consists of rushing to get dressed, brush your teeth, slap on some make up, rush out of the door all just in the nick of time to make it to your first obligation of the day.
Welcome to work, you are thrust into dealing with a mountain of tasks, emails, and messages that all need to be addressed. The day is filled with lists, projects, requests, and responses. Finally, its quitting time but unfortunately more of the same is on the horizon tomorrow, the next day, and for the rest of your life. That is unless a routine is put into place to help you own each and every day.
For a long time, my days ran me. I always felt like the work was never done which lead to consistently working over 60 hours a week and still feeling like there was no end in sight. This had to change. No longer could I go on living to work and not working to live. After many trials and errors, I can confidently share 5 easy ways that can lead to increased productivity.
5 Easy Steps to becoming more productive
The Morning Routine
Hands down, having a morning routine has made my days more positive and productive. What if I told you that you could have an hour to yourself every single day? No bosses, babies, kids or employees. No questions, no mounting tasks, and no place to be. Welcome to your morning routine! This is the time to give yourself the oxygen mask first. The way to develop a morning routine is to start with a list of 3-4 things that can be completed in one hour realistically. For me, I do 25 minutes of yoga, 4,7. 8 breathing, get dressed, put makeup on and finally write down my plan for the day.
Have a Plan
Creating your plan for today could turn into one giant task list. Don’t let this happen. If your plan is not realistic, I can almost promise that it won’t be completed regularly. My plan looks the same almost every day. I start at the top of a blank piece of paper with 3 things that I’m grateful for. This helps train the mind to focus on the positives. I then review my to-do list and pick the 3-4 most pressing tasks that need to be accomplished today. It’s tempting to add more but start with three. When you start with a manageable plan, it is way more likely that it will get completed. By doing this you’ll get to enjoy the bonus feeling of satisfaction that comes with accomplishing a goal. It feels great to end the day with a win!
Give It Away
Sometimes, it feels like there is so much to do but not enough time. My challenge for you is to stop and evaluate if that is really the case. Perhaps, you are in fact creating unrealistic expectations. This has been a tough one for me specifically. I’m not the best at delegating and I’m kind of a control freak. What I want more than controlling all the things is having a productive and balanced life. If you want this too, then give it away. Delegate to those around you. Give others the power to take on some of your workload and responsibilities. I know the thought is scary, that maybe they won’t do it as well as you or that they won’t do it at all. This is your opportunity to teach the people around you about your boundaries and expectations.
Set Boundaries and Make them Loud and Clear
This one may be the hardest but it is the most needed in my humble opinion. If you want to own your day, cut down on the distractions and give yourself focused time to complete your 3-4 key tasks. It’s almost impossible to be productive with never-ending distractions. These disturbances come in the form of your kids asking for help finding their socks, or maybe that person that always says “do you have a second” which is never really a second or perhaps an unplanned call from a friend that wants to vent about their hubby.
This is called switch tasking (or multitasking) and is a total productivity killer! Multitasking can actually eat up 40% of your productive time by stopping and starting. The best way to have balance and maintain peak productivity is to block out the focused time on your calendar and do not allow interruptions. This could look like only checking emails 3-4 times per day or scheduling 50-minute blocks on your calendar to work on projects. Also, allow time to socialize and answer questions, this is an important part of remaining human. Boundaries keep you on the road to productivity, not left in a ditch somewhere.
Shut it Down
Finally, it is very important to realize that your work and your tasks will be waiting for you tomorrow. When its time to be done for the day, actually be done. If your job is to work 40 hours a week, start your day right on time. Focus and be productive until lunchtime. Stop what you are doing a take a lunch. Even if your break is only 30 minutes. Studies show by taking a lunch break, it allows your mind to rest, recharge, and refocus, oftentimes leading to enhanced productivity for the rest of the day.
When the whistle blows, its time to end your day. Finish your thought, that email or conversation and then put it away. This is very tough for some of us, especially when you just started to find your rhythm or knock out a big project. The key to finding balance in your life is knowing when to turn it off.
there is no day but today
There is no better time than now to start your journey to peak productivity. Get out a notebook and start planning tomorrow’s morning routine. How much “me time” do you need to start every day off on the right foot? Being more productive every day will free up time to do the things you love with (or without) the people love. This is just one more key to living a beautifully balanced life. Stay Productive and Stay Strong. You got this!