It’s just common knowledge that productive people get more stuff done. They’re focused, dedicated and know what they’re doing all the time. Not one of those people? Neither was I. It took me to start reflecting on my day asking myself ‘what did I actually achieve today?’ and realize that when I answered myself with ‘not a great deal, I did the washing, but I was meant to do 4 other important things’… I knew things had to change. There are so many things that you can do to increase your productivity over time so we’re going to explore 5 different ways to do just that, but remember, not everyone works the same, it’s important to find your own driving factors.
1. Start your day early: I start my day at 6am every morning. I get up and have a small breakfast (one or two pieces of toast) and I go to the gym for about an hour, came home and finish my breakfast with a bowl of cereal and cup of tea or juice before getting into my day.
2. Make a List: It’s crucial that you have a list of things that you aim to do throughout the day. Add timeframes that you think you can get each job done in so that you can break down your day. It’s so satisfying when you get to scribble out, tick or rub off what you’ve achieved (I even do a little happy dance sometimes!) Not only do lists keep you organized, they keep you on track and determined to finish that list. When you’re making your list it’s imperative that you put the most important tasks first so that they
have the most focus and effort put into them, and it feels especially good to take them off the list once they’re complete.
3. Set clear goals for yourself: If you don’t have an end goal in sight, then there’s not much point starting anything at all. You need to set yourself clear, simple, precise goals so that you can work towards them, little by little, each day. Bear in mind that your goals MUST be achievable. To make them achievable, what you need to do is break down your goal, create mini-goals to get to before you get to your final result.
For example, Your goal is to be able to run 10km within 12 months – and you haven’t run since you left high school. This is fine, it’s a perfectly achievable goal, but it seems daunting right now. All you have to do is break it down, month by month, week by week.
Month 1 – Start walking 2km every day with gentle strengthening exercises of the whole body thrown in three times a week. Focus on a healthy diet.
Month 2 – Increase walking to 4km, but cut back to 5 days a week. Increase the intensity of strengthening exercises. Reduce take-away food intake
Month 3 – Begin running, as far as you can (4 days a week), at whatever pace you can manage, do not exceed 2km for the first half of the month. Continue with strengthening exercises.
Month 4 – Work towards 4km by the end of the month (3 days a week). Increase strengthening exercises… By the time you finish this monthly plan, you’re able to see that each little goal is achievable, and you’re more likely to stick to your original goal. Every goal is the same, everything is able to be broken down to seem and become more and more possible (not just running 10km!).
4. Create a workspace: If you have so much paperwork to do, but have nowhere to do it, create it. Make somewhere in your home your designated area for bookwork, paperwork, and all those other adult things that you have to do. Score yourself a cheap desk second hand or from Ikea and a printer, minimally decorate and devote only office work to this space, don’t catch yourself putting your folded washing on it, that’s not what it’s there for.
5. Reward yourself: This goes without saying, you have to reward yourself. If one of your goals was to get yourself into a good routine, and you’ve succeeded to do that, reward yourself! Book yourself in for a massage, buy your favorite take-out food, buy yourself tickets to your favorite touring artist… do something exclusively for you, because you did well. Don’t get slack though, if you only succeeded in a mini-goal, don’t be delusional and buy yourself a new pair of shoes. It’s good to reward yourself, but where it is necessary. Make yourself work hard or your reward, it makes you feel so much better, and gives you the motivation to work towards your next goal.