Making progress feels good. Working hard and feeling like you just can’t get it all done, doesn’t. These 4 simple practices will increase your personal productivity over night.
1. Make a list of your big goals.
Write down what your exciting long term goals are. Every decision you make should revolve around hitting them faster. Save them as the screenshot on the device you use every day. The more you see them, the more you will remember to focus on them.
Looking at your goals will make you feel one of 2 things – motivated and excited, or bummed out and exhausted. If the second is true, it’s because you don’t believe you will hit them. This exercise will feel like a beating if this is the case – and thats not the point. Instead, set goals that you are excited about, and that you are confident you can hit.
2. Plan ahead.
There are 168 hours in a week. Spend 1 hour to plan the other 167. My favourite time to do this is on Friday afternoon or on Sunday for the upcoming week. I create my to-do list of what needs to get done next, and then prioritize it to ensure I focus on the “Have-to’s” and not the “Want to’s” only.
Then each night I take 10 minutes to check my plan and make decisions about how to prioritize the next day to ensure i am making progress.
3. Minimize the challenges.
Distractions, frustrations and unnecessary decisions can all drain your performance level energetically. Set yourself up to succeed amidst the chaos. Skip rush hour – leave earlier, have a happier commute and start you day ahead of schedule. Leave your inboxes alone! Schedule a time to check on your work related messages, but turn off all of your distractions so you can focus.
Social media silence. “Decision fatigue” is an actual condition that occurs after our minds have been over-stimulated. Sub consciously we are making decisions about everything that we see. Going on social media is like being on warp drive. In just minutes, the number of surprises that are waiting for you in cyberspace absolutely can threaten to cease your desire for productivity. Don’t go there. Make progress instead.
4. Fuel yourself.
Have nourishment available. I used to go through the “what for lunch?” battle almost every day… I’d want to finish up a task, or wouldn’t be motivated by my options and would end up at my desk, surviving on coffee, starving with a headache. Then I’d make the easiest decision to make and end up eating something that I later regretted spending my afternoons unproductively exhausted.
Until I stopped the insanity. I brought food with me. Not necessarily lunch but I packed snacks every day and made sure I got out for a quick walk. Staying properly fuelled is required, and getting some fresh air lets you clear your mind and get refocused. Within a minute of taking an “outside recess break” you will know what you want to get done with the rest of your day.