9 Easy Daily Habits That Will Drastically Increase Your Productivity
Do you ever feel like there’s not enough time in the day? Or maybe you’re busy, but don’t seem to actually accomplish anything? Even if you’re not a procrastinator you probably have so many app notifications and emails coming in it’s hard not to get distracted.
Couple that with work, kids and a hefty to-do list and it’s no wonder you’re left feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated.
You’ll need some sort of ritual to get results. Setting healthy habits will allow you to take control of your life. As a side effect, it’ll help you increase your productivity. And who couldn’t be a bit more productive in their day? I know I could.
Set achievable goals
This is simple, you’ll want to set goals you’re capable of achieving. Your goals should be specific and measurable. You’ll need to determine what steps are necessary to bring your goals to fruition in a timely manner. Using the S.M.A.R.T. method to achieve your goals will allow you to bring structure and clarity to your goal setting. This is what my S.M.A.R.T. method would look like if my goal was to save money for a vacation next year:
Specific: My goal is to save $1,200 for our family vacation by June 30th.
Measurable: I need to be able to measure my progress. If I save $25/week I can check in at the end of each month to make sure I have $100 saved. In 12 months I should have the $1,200 I need.
Achievable: My goal has to be attainable. I’m saving $25/week which is attainable based on my current income.
Relevant: Saving $25/week is realistic. It will not negatively affect my life and/or finances.
Timely: I’ve planned ahead and calculated the $1,200 I need for the vacation. I broke it into 12 months and down into 4 weeks setting myself up for success.
Create your weekly to-do list
Your to-do list is individualized. You may have one to-do list for your home life and one for your work or business. If you opt to have one to-do list for everything make sure you break it down into different sections. For my blog to-do list goals such as “write a blog post” are too vague and if I’m not in the right frame of mind overwhelming. Instead, I try to be more specific and break it down. I may even be more specific and break down the outline of the post. When I sit down to write my blog post I know exactly what I’m going to be writing about.
You can also list your to-do’s in order of importance. I like to create them in order of importance with three levels:
1. Urgent (today),
2. Important (this week),
3. To do (at some point).
Writing down what you have to do will help you remember but it’s also gratifying to cross items off your checklist…or is that just me?! It gives you a measurable sense of accomplishment.
Plan each day the night before
Give yourself clear direction and plan each day the night before. Taking the guesswork out of what you’ll be doing will drastically increase your productivity. The first hour of the day is the most important. Always have an action plan. My least productive days start without having set goals. If I get distracted in the morning by email, social media and running an errand, my day usually follows suit.
“It’s not the plan that’s important, it’s the planning.” – Dr. Gramme Edwards
Review your goals in the morning
Keep your goals somewhere you can see them. Focus your energy on what you want. Otherwise, it’s out of sight, out of mind. Every morning ask yourself, is what I’m doing in line with my goals? If you’re not doing anything to accomplish your goals they’re just wishes. A goal is something you work toward.
Turn off notifications on your phone and computer. Wait to check emails and social media until the end of the day. Before you sit down to work on a task get a drink and go to the bathroom. Do whatever you need to do so you won’t need to get up again.
I like to wear my headphones when I write. They’re not plugged in but because they cover my ears they sorta tune me out of the outside world and into my writing. I can hear myself breath and it keeps me present.
Remember, busy doesn’t equal productive.
Take scheduled breaks
Taking scheduled breaks will help you lower your stress level, feel more focused and reinvigorate your creativity. The Pomodoro Technique suggests working on a task in 25-minute increments. That means for those 25 minutes you won’t check your phone, go to the bathroom or do anything other than work on a specific task.
Accomplish the hardest task first
If you prioritize the most difficult task first you’ll have the most brain power you need to accomplish it.
In Brain Tracy’s book “Eat That Frog” he says “if you eat a live frog first thing each morning, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing it’s probably the worst thing you’ll do all day. Using “eat that frog” as a metaphor for tackling the most challenging task of your day, the one you’re most likely to procrastinate on, but also the one that might have the greatest positive impact on your life, Eat That Frog!”.
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” – Mark Twain
Numerous studies have proven that multitasking is inefficient. You use less of your brain when you spread yourself too thin. Focusing on single-tasking will help you accomplish more. You’ll not only be more efficient but you’ll get things done faster.
Batching is another way to increase efficiency when single-tasking. Batch processing is where you group similar tasks that require similar resources. This process helps streamline their completion. You’ll eliminate distractions and improve the quality of your work.
It’s good to check in with yourself and ask, “is what I’m doing right now in line with my goals.”
At the end of the day take a moment and have gratitude for what you’ve accomplished. Even if it’s only a little bit. Gratitude is a simple daily habit that can make a difference in your life. Research shows that gratitude makes us happier and more productive. Here is my gratitude list if want a little inspiration.
Do you have any tips that help you with your productivity? Leave them in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.