There is absolutely nothing like having a really productive day. Honestly, it makes me feel like a superhero. The kind of superhero who’s theme song is “7/11” by Beyonce, my cape - and flawless hair - would be blowing in the wind, my inbox would say zero, I would’ve worked out, cooked dinner, put up laundry and written a kick ass post for the blog plus written dynamic articles for my clients.
But the truth is everyday isn’t like that. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed, distracted and tired because of an endless things to do list. Between non stop social media, overbooking our calendar and keeping some sort of order at home, being productive can sometimes seem impossible. But, it’s not. It’s very possible. And in five steps, you can reach productivity on a daily basis. It’s up to you though. Here’s how:
If you read my blog often, then you know I’m obsessed with things to do lists. They honestly make my world go ‘round. And I NEVER have a productive day without one. The night before I like to make a list of a couple of things I know I must do the next day. In the morning, I add just a couple more things that come to mind to do as well.
Keywords? A couple more things.
Realistically, you’re not going to complete more than five major tasks a day. Trust me on this one. Keep your things to do list at 5. Your first two items should be the ones you dread the most and that take you the longest. Once you knock those out, the rest of your day is a walk in the park.
This is really important. A lot of times we trick ourselves into believing that being productive is being too busy to eat, get enough sleep or even take a break.
[bctt tweet="You have to take care of yourself if you want to take care of business. "]
Catch that word.
Give yourself enough time to get what you need to get done. Get ample rest the night before. When you rise, take sometime for prayer and/or meditation before you check Instagram. I know. Mindblowing. Eat a nutritious breakfast (I swear by my strawberry/blueberry parfait before opening my laptop). After working for 2-3 hours straight, give yourself a 15-30 minute break. Your brain and productivity will thank you.
As someone who writes a lot in my day to day life - from blog posts, freelance articles, witty tweets or even email - my content output is consistent. So, I make it my business to ensure my content input is just as much, if not more.
Read A LOT and not just things that you enjoy or are familiar with. Try to stretch yourself and read about industries you're not well versed in either. I love perusing my ‘Good To Know’ Pinterest board and getting inspired. And if I’m working on something like a deck to pitch a brand, my creative resume or something visual, I like to peruse my 'Design & Details' Pinterest board to get inspired.
They say whatever you read within the first 30 minutes of waking sets the tone for your day. I like to be productive, so I try to read an article from Inc.com or forbes.com. A good book can also get the productivity wheels of a day going.
Get familiar with the word “no” and checking your email very sporadically. I love the tidbit that Tim Ferris of “The Four Hour Work Week” shares: only check email twice a day. Sounds bananas right? But when you think about it, we tend to become a slave to our email, when we could be getting so much done versus telling someone via email that we’re going to get something done.
Dedicate your undivided attention to completing a task on your things to do list and reward yourself with a 20 minute social media binge for completing it. If someone calls you, get back to them after you do what you have to do. Even if mom calls, pick up, ensure everything’s ok and let her know you’ll give her a call back once you complete a task or two. I promise, she’ll be proud of you.
DO NOT HALF ASS THINGS FOR THE SAKE OF TIME. I repeat. DO NOT HALF ASS THINGS FOR THE SAKE OF TIME. It’s not worth it. Ever. It’s always better to just not complete something at all. Am I saying that every task you’ll come across has to be done in a day? No. But I do believe that you should never half ass something and present it as it's completely done.
If you have to write a blog post about being productive, with 5 great points, don’t give great content in 2 of those points and then try to hurry through the rest of the post and not put in any effort because you realized that it’s almost the end of the day. That’s why I mentioned that you realistically will only knock out 4 to 5 things a day. Because it's under the assumption that those are things will be done COMPLETELY and THOROUGHLY.
Streamline your process and if you have to, outline each task to help you get done. For example, I’m going to finish writing this post, then create the art work for it, then post it, then tweet it, then pin it. That’s what executing a blog post is to me. I could just throw it up there after I’m done and keep it moving, but the entire point of executing is making sure that it adds to value to something else. Otherwise, your work was done in vain.
Productivity is very possible if you commit to planning, taking care of your self, being inspired, eliminating distractions and executing thoroughly. It’s simple, but not easy. But it were, everyone would be productive now wouldn’t they?
What are your favorite practices to staying productive throughout the day? I'd love to know. Always looking to be better.