Leaders in their fields seem to know how to achieve their goals in less time than others. You will not find that these individuals haven't found the magic formula to creating more time in their day. They simply implement strategies to improve their personal productivity and make the most out of the 24 hours we are all given each day. Here are 5 keys to mastering your day and becoming the most productive and successful version of yourself.
- Wake up early. Research has shown that the most productive and successful people are early risers. Waking up earlier than you need to helps you get a start on your day. You can spend the morning handling some of your more important tasks, exercising, or just taking time for yourself or your family. By the time the official workday begins, you are already fully awake and more likely to be ready to tackle the rest of the day. If rising early is difficult for you, set your alarm clock for just 15 minutes earlier and keep pushing the time back each morning until you are waking up at the desired time (and don’t forget to put your alarm clock across the room to avoid the infamous snooze button!).
- Eat that frog. Personal development expert Brian Tracy is a proponent of the idea of “eating that frog”, or quite simply, tackling your most important or daunting task first so that it is out of the way instead of putting it off. Think about which tasks are most important to you and your goals and write these down. Prioritize these tasks and do the one(s) with the greatest return on investment first. Out of this short list of crucial tasks, if there is one you do not particularly enjoy, get it out of the way first. Once you have completed it, you will not only be moving your business forward, but you will also be free to handle the more enjoyable tasks without the thought of that tedious one looming over you for the rest of the day. You will also be less likely to skip it altogether in favor of other less important tasks!
- Remove distractions. We live in a world where distraction after distraction is constantly competing for our attention. Once you sit down to work, it is vital to remove these distractions wherever possible. Turn off your cell phone (or at least put it in another room), stay off websites that are easy to get sucked into (social media, news sites, or anything else that encourages procrastination for you personally), and close down your email server until you have completed the task at hand. Let your family or coworkers know that you are not to be disturbed outside of a true emergency. Your workspace should be organized to help avoid distractions, as well. Keep it tidy with only the things necessary for completing your work made available. If you are still struggling to remain focused, here are several ideas and apps to help you stay focused throughout your day.
- Schedule your day. Whenever possible, schedule out blocks of time for your tasks once you’ve prioritized what you need to work on for the day. By scheduling your day, you are immediately faced with seeing just how much time you have available, and how much you can reasonably accomplish. Focus on the scheduled task during the allotted time. If you finish early, take a small break or move on to the next task, whichever works best for your own productivity. You should also schedule time to complete tasks like checking email so that you do not find yourself checking in and becoming distracted when you are scheduled to be focused on something more important. This method also allows you to see what you will need to say no to whenever reasonable. Last-minute requests and meetings will always pop up, but when your day is scheduled out in advance, you will be able to judge if your assistance or presence is feasible and necessary, or if you will need to politely decline.
- Make it a routine. The aforementioned tips can be difficult to implement if you are not doing it daily. It is challenging, for example, to wake up an hour earlier than normal if you are only doing it periodically. You will often hear it takes 21 days to establish a new habit (and break an old one). If you focus on changing your routine one day at a time, and put these suggestions in place daily (or at least Monday through Friday), you will quickly find that it becomes a routine and one you likely will not have to think much about as you wake up and begin your day.
What are some of your best tips for having a productive day? We would love to hear what works for you!
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