What you do the evening before matters just as much as what you do each morning. In fact, what you do the night before makes it much more likely that you’ll accomplish what you’re aiming to get done on any given day.
The method you use doesn’t matter. I’m a believer that calendars are more effective than to do lists, but there’s another camp that believes in to do lists, or what is known as the Ivy Lee Method:
Finish each day by writing the five most important things you want to get done tomorrow and start each day by working those five things. You can also schedule those five things on your calendar. It doesn’t matter as long as those five things get done.
The most effective productivity systems are quite simple when you dissect them. But we keep searching for life and productivity “hacks” because doing so ironically makes us feel productive. If you spend an entire day reading articles about productivity, like this one, you’re not productive. The only way you find out if something works for YOU is to implement it and see what happens.
I’m continually experimenting with productivity systems because many of the ones that have gotten me to this point haven’t been working as well. The very things that allowed me to finish my first manuscript in 6 months weren’t working on my upcoming book. As a result, I was forced to reexamine some parts of my 8-step daily routine. And there are times when my daily routine simply gets shot to hell.
The one commonality between all my unproductive days was that I didn’t plan my day the night before.
The day I wrote this article, I put the five things I wanted to get done into my Productivity Planner. By about 9:30 am I’d completed everything on the list.
We have a limited amount of willpower every day. With each decision we make that willpower gets depleted. If you don’t plan your days the night before, you waste your willpower on deciding what your essential priorities are. By planning your days the night before you reduce decision fatigue, and preserve your willpower for your deepest most meaningful work.
If you plan the day the night before, you’ll be amazed at how much your overall productivity skyrockets.If you have no clarity about what it is you’re trying to get done on any given day, you’ll be busy, but not productive. If you plan your days the night before you, you’ll not only get more done in less time. You’ll also experience more flow.
My best mornings look a bit like this:
75 Minutes of Deep work (Reading/Writing)
Rehearse for upcoming talks
email and social media
If you give yourself a basic framework for your days, you’ll be much more likely to pack your days with useful work that adds value to your life. The beautiful thing about a framework is that it’s not rigid. It can be adjusted day to day to your liking. It helps you to accommodate changes in your schedule.
The first hour of the day is one of the most critical. It sets the tone for what the rest of your day will be like. You should ideally spend it on meaningful activities.
If you spend the first hour of your day distracted by pings, buzzes, notifications, and dopamine, the rest of your day will be pretty much the same. On the other hand, if you spend the first hour of the day working on your
When you plan the day the night before, there’s no guesswork as to what you’ll be doing when you sit down to work in the morning.
I’ve put together a list of interviews with productivity experts who can teach you how to master your focus. Just click here.
What you do the day before matters just as much as what you do each morning. In fact, what you do the night before makes it much more likely that you’ll actually accomplish what you’re aiming to get done on any given day.
The method you use doesn’t matter. I’m a believer that calendars are more effective than to do lists, but there’s another camp that believes in to do lists, or what is known as the Ivy Lee Method:
Finish each day by writing the 5 most important things you want to get done tomorrow and start each day by working those 5 things. You can also schedule those 5 things on your calendar. It doesn’t matter as long as those 5 things get done.
The most effective productivity systems are actually quite simple when you dissect them. But we keep searching for life and productivity “hacks” because doing so ironically makes us feel productive. If you spend an entire day reading articles about productivity, like this one, you’re not actually being productive. The only way you find out if something works for YOU is to implement it and see what happens.
I’m constantly experimenting with productivity systems because many of the ones that have gotten me to this point haven’t been working as well. The very things that allowed me to finish my first manuscript in 6 months are not enabling me to do the same with my current manuscript. As a result, I’ve been forced to reexamine some parts of my 8-step daily routine. And there are times when my daily routine simply gets shot to hell. But the failure has always been the result of poor planning the day before.
The day I wrote this article, I actually put the 5 things I wanted to get done into my journaling software the night before. By about 9:30 am I’d completed everything on the list.
If you plan the day the night before you’ll be amazed at how much your overall productivity skyrockets.
If you have no clarity about what is is you’re trying to get done in any given day, you’ll be busy, but probably not productive. If you plan your days the night before you, you’ll not only get more done in less time. You’ll also experience more flow.
My best mornings look a bit like this
- Read for an hour
- Write for an hour
- Surf, snowboard or exercise for a few hours
- Interview people
- Rehearse for upcoming talks
- email and social media
If you give yourself a basic framework for your days, you’ll be much more likely to pack your days with useful work that adds value to your life. The nice thing about a framework is that it’s not rigid. It can be adjusted day to day and to your own liking. It helps you to accommodate for changes in your schedule. Even though I know exactly what the first 2 hours of my day will look like, just planning it all the night before is a great way to reduce decision fatigue.
The first hour of the day is one of the most critical. It sets the tone for what the rest of your your day will be like. If you spend the first hour of your day distracted by pings, buzzes, notifications and dopamine, the rest of your day will be pretty much the same. On the other hand, if you spend the first hour of the day working on what you deemed your essential priorities that momentum will carry over into the rest of your dIt’s a pattern I’ve observed over and over.
When you plan the day the night before, there’s no guesswork as to what you’ll be doing when you sit down to work in the morning.
If doing the best work of your life is important to you, check out my free guide: “ Optimizing Productivity & Creativity. ”
The tactics I’ve packed into this guide allowed me to write over 1 million words in the last 2 years. What could it do for your life’s work? Don’t miss it.
Like the article? Click the 💚 below to share with others on Medium.
It goes without saying that if one fails to plan, one plans to fail. Such words ring true to everybody who has ever had a chance to experience failure.
This is evident in the many failed new years resolutions we all somehow were unable to achieve be it an exercise regime, a diet change or a new skill to be acquired. Here are essentially why at Great Big Minds, we believe planning is important for success.
“Without goals and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” — Fitzhugh Dodson
Why do we need to plan?
Many may view planning as a bore and it may seem like an ‘inconvenient’ step. However, at its core, planning can prove to be of great help to everyone.
Without proper planning, we see the usual symptoms of sliding back into our normal and mundane schedule of life.
Proper planning is much needed to not only encourage us to achieve the goal we set out for but also to break it up into bite size pieces and small goals that makes achieving much more attainable .
Planning may not seem like it’s an integral part to success but once you yield it’s benefit, it’ll proof essentially important in every area of your life.
Planning gives us a clear perspective on what needs to be done, what goals are to be achieved and what amount of time is to be or will be spent on completing the said goals.
It is highly relevant to say that planning can be closely associated with having proper time management as it encourages the planner to set aside a reasonable time for a specific task before moving ahead to the next.
These self imposed deadlines is a healthy form of motivation which is much needed for natural procrastinators alike.
“Planning is bringing the future into present so that you can do something about it now.” — Alan Lakein
Benefits of planning
What planning does is it helps prepare a guideline; relatively a timeline on how to maintain and reach goals that we have set up for ourselves, like a map.
The good thing about this map is that it is easily adapted into to each individual depending on the circumstances.
We are all exposed to some form of planning in one way or another. The most common way to see the benefits of planning in action is when we plan our holidays.
An itinerary is needed to keep track of what needs to be done before the trip, places to visit or things to do. Planning is also used widely when planning ones budget.
By planning ahead, the amount of stress and frustration that can be avoided is huge. This allows for a better experience of the holiday with your travelling companions.
Even in terms of budgeting, one can rest assure that their finances are well tracked to prevent any overspending. This allows for proper spending and saving of one’s money and achieving one’s long term and short term financial goals.
“Make time for planning; wars are won in the general’s tent.” — Stephen R. Covey
The outcome of planning?
For the avid planner, planning has become an essential part of life. A natural instinct and reflex response to a new task or situation.
Planning has been proven to assist the planner in experiencing an increase in productivity and efficiency in a company or social life.
Planning allows for the planner to sift out any distraction towards the original plan and to keep focused on the main plan.
There is no doubting that there will be adjustments and variable factors which will come into play in the planning stages.
The wonderful part of having a plan is that it is able to accommodate such variables and reduce the amount of stress that the planner may experiences compared to when there is no plan in place.
A swift change to the plan will do and it can be done with little to no efforts at all.
All these advantage of planning has to be associated with the nature of planning.
Planning puts pen into paper the skeletal schedule and goals to meet along the way.
It is highly flexible and customizable to every user and can accommodate small and large plans all at once.
This fact remains the main reason as to why organizations and companies use short term and long term planning in meeting their vision and mission.
This ultimately promotes efficiency, productivity and a target for the end goal to be met by the organization.
“Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.” — Margaret Thatcher
So it can be said that the benefits of planning far outweighs its supposed disadvantage.
If large and small organizations alike practice planning to meet their goals and to experience growth, imagine the wonders that planning can do to our lives.
One can start by putting pen into paper on what goals you want to achieve this new year and break it down and start planning how you are going to achieve the goal you have set out for yourself. GOOD LUCK!
Pin this for later
On some mornings, you wake up in a good mood and feels like everything goes right. Your morning workout sounds like a playtime. You wake up before your alarm goes off. Coffee tastes great. And there is no noise on the way into the office, college, school, etc. And when you sit down to get to work, you feel like you could rule the world. But, other days are not like at all.
And while you can’t prevent every unfortunate a.m. situation that might come your way, analysts claim there are a few things you can do to motivate your mornings in that direction so you can make the most out of the rest of your day too.
So, here are the few things to do every morning for a productive day.
1. Wake Up Early
It is the most important thing to make your day productive. When you wake up early, at 5-6 am, it creates a good sleep cycle. It also helps you to achieve your goals by planning out early. You will be less likely to suffer from mental illness like depression, promoting good health. You actually give your body time to wake up before starting your day.
When you are successful all day, you’ll feel exhausted by the end of the day, making sleep simpler.
2. Drink Water
A bottle or two of water first thing in the morning helps to replenish the body’s hydration reserves. It also begins your digestion process on the right foot (since the body depends on water to keep all the digestive functions running smoothly). You should drink water in the morning as much as you can. It will also help you make your body healthy and active.
Add lemon into the water and drink it before eating breakfast. You can also drink normal water as we get dehydrated overnight.
3. Plan Ahead
Some of the most important things you might do to continue the day with the right foot will happen only if before you go to sleep the previous day, create a schedule for the next day. This doesn’t need to be a minute-by-minute itinerary.
So it will set out the important activities or items you intend to do the following day and how you plan to spend the first few hours of the day.
For example, lay out the clothes that you will wear, how many hours you have to work and what to work, make sure you have everything available to create a good breakfast, etc.
4. Stay Positive
This is one of the important things to do every morning. To stay positive in the morning is essential for the whole day. Many people think about their problems in the morning when they wake up and get tensed throughout the day. You should not think much about your problems in the morning, just think only good things and stay positive. This will help you to cure your anxiety, and you feel positive the whole day.
Test the strength to continue sweating first and you will be rewarded. Exercise produces endorphins, hormones released in the brain that help reduce pain and anxiety, which improve well-being (essentially the pain relievers of the body itself.) Read:
The early jog or spin class gives the brain a normal high and a boost in strength. Moreover, endorphins also reduce the levels of the stress hormone, i.e., cortisol, helping you to continue the day unrestrained.
6. Spend Time With People Who Make You Feel Good (Friends And Family)
Fix a run date with one of your colleagues. Take some time out for your relatives and enjoy some coffee time with them. Call someone who makes you happy before you get dressed or when you head out the door for the day. Being around people you like and enjoy will give your mood and energy a major boost.
Many families use the morning time to engage in quality time, i.e., they read stories to their children or prepare breakfast together. It makes you happy for the day.
Many people might not get an energetic boost from meditation, but it will help in making a more successful day as it helps us to function more creatively and efficiently. If you do meditation for 15-20 mins in the morning, then it will make you feel calm throughout the day; it gives you the power to think positively. It builds focus and allows your subconscious mind to do good work and reduce stress and anxiety.
8. Make Tea Or Coffee (At Home)
If you begin your morning on the foot with a cup of coffee — or tea — get your caffeine in the morning. There are lots of evidence that prove it actually allows most people to feel more aware and less groggy. And while a coffee intake can get a poor name, some researches do indicate it has certain health benefits.
9. Read A Newspaper
Reading a newspaper in the morning is an amazing habit that everyone should adopt. Newspapers include news about the economic status of a nation, sports, gaming, culture, industry, and exchange. Newspaper reading creates a pleasant practice and is now a part of daily life. It helps you remain well-educated. The habit can expand your outlook and deepen your awareness.
You can find it easier to connect with someone who also speaks about social affairs and politics. It helps you get a good picture of what’s going on in your country and the planet.
10. Eat Breakfast
Food is the reason why your body receives energy. So it makes sense that one of the most energizing things to do every morning is to begin the day with breakfast. Breakfast meals are healthy sources of essential nutrients, including calcium, iron, vitamins, potassium, etc.
The body requires vital foods, and studies show that they are less likely to be accounted for later in the day if they are skipped at breakfast.
One of the biggest changes I made in 2016 was to implement a 90-day plan in my business. I did this for the last quarter of 2016 (and still do it today) and it has exploded my productivity, not to mention my creativity.
I’m not sure why, but I believe it has something to do with the visual aspect of the 90-day planning process I use. By being able to see, at a glance, exactly where I’m at in my business and my plan, I can also see how I’m tracking towards my overall goals for the year.
If you want to feel the same way in 2021, I encourage you to create your own 90-day plan and see how it works for you.
Table of Contents
Creating a 90-Day Plan
What I really love about setting 90-day goals is that I only have to focus on a few things over this period and it stops me from getting overwhelmed with ALL. THE. THINGS.
If you get overwhelmed, then you’re gonna love implementing the 90-day plan.
The point of a 90-day plan is that it stops you from focusing on all your goals for the year. Instead, the 90-day plan allows you to take your goals for the year and then break them down into 90-day stretches, 30-day stretches and then 2-week sprints.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Step 1: Review your goals
Take your goal card (if you don’t have one yet, check out this blog post to create your own), look at what your main goals are for the next 12 months and then think about how you’re going to achieve them.
Write down everything you’ll need to do to reach your goals. This might include writing books, creating courses, promoting your services etc.
Your goals should be no more than 3 for an entire 12-month period, and then you’ll break down those goals into all the steps needed to achieve them… those become part of your 90-day stretches.
Step 2: Review your strategic plan
Before you can create your first 90-day plan, you’ll need to review your strategic plan as well. This tells you what you’ve got planned for the year, but doesn’t go into all the nitty-gritty details.
If you don’t have one created yet, then you’ll need to do this first. Check out this blog post to start your own strategic plan.
If you need help coming up with a more concrete plan or aren’t really to sure what you want to focus on, then I’d recommend using this awesome workbook. It’s called “Cultivate Your Hustle ” and it’s my secret weapon when planning out the next year.
It will change the way you approach your business!
Step 3: Put it all together into a 90-day plan!
Once you’ve reviewed your goals and strategic plan, think about the next quarter and what you want to focus on to achieve your 2-3 main overarching goals.
Pick 1-3 steps to focus on for the next 90 days. Remember, don’t try to do it all!
In fact, you shouldn’t be doing any more than 3 main things over the next 90 days.
Break these down further into 30-day stretches. You should end up with 30 days, 60 days and then 90 days worth of goals.
👉 Get a copy of the 90-day planning template that I recommend in Trello here: The 90-Day Plan
Make sure you leave time in your 90-day plan to repeat this exercise for every quarter as well.
90-Day Planning in a Planner!
If you’re more of a journal or writer, like me, then you might like the 90x Goal Planner . I’ve got two and use them in conjunction with my Trello board 🙂
You should include all the nitty-gritty details in your 90-day plan. Work backward… Start with your overall goal(s) for the next 90 days and then break this down into all the steps you need to take to achieve it.
Don’t forget to schedule in your downtime too. I’ve found that if I don’t have at least 30 minutes a day carved out in my calendar for ‘me’ time, then it doesn’t happen. This is one of my non-negotiables.
Once you do this, it makes creating your 90-day plan a lot easier. You can then create all your to-do tasks as well and add them to your Google Calendar or Todoist app.
Now it’s Your Turn…
90-day planning isn’t about rigid structure, it’s about seeing what’s ahead and planning accordingly. It allows you to pivot and be flexible and achieve the goals you set for yourself, rather than getting to the middle of the year and wondering where the last six months went…
And if you’re ready to take your productivity and create a 90-Day Plan that actually helps you achieve your goals, grab instant access to the 90-Day Productive Power Plan Course HERE!
Founder of Hustle & Groove and your creative business strategist. If you want to get notified of new posts just like the ones you see here, then make sure you join the awesome H & G tribe — Join Now!
The Importance of Time Management In Event Planning
The importance of time management is a commonly-heard phrase and skill, whether in job descriptions, event management or just your day to day life. But what do people mean and why is it so important?
Time management is a skill that can ensure efficiency, productivity, and help to reduce stress. It’s all about knowing how much time you have to start with, and thus how much you can allocate to certain tasks.
It encompasses another important skill: prioritisation – which means recognising tasks based on importance and tackling things in a logical sequence to get the best result.
Another key element is efficiency. The more effectively you manage your time, the more efficient you will be. It also helps you recognise how much you can achieve in a day by setting targets and deadlines.
But, despite the way the term is thrown around, it’s not an easy skill to master.
Here, Head of Events, Sheridan Roberts discusses the importance of time management, as well as some tips, techniques and a few tools for improving it.
1. Be realistic
Working out how long various tasks take is a key skill linked to time management.
And when it comes to estimating this – it’s essential to be realistic and honest about every single moment. If you really want to master managing time effectively, you need to take into account how long it will take to deliver certain tasks.
Make sure you’re factoring in all possible tasks. Whether you’re in the planning stages of an event (virtual or in-person) or you’re on event day. Include the time it takes to send emails, to speak to and reassure clients, to do tech rehearsals or run-throughs. There are other things to consider, such as the walking time between two areas of a venue, it all counts.
Your time is precious so protect it. Always give yourself more time than you think, as it’s practically guaranteed that you will underestimate! And too little time to do everything that needs doing means more stress for you.
2. Make a plan
If you have committed to the first rule above, the next of our time management tools and tips is to make a list or a plan with a detailed breakdown of exactly what needs to be done or what will be happening at every moment.
Create a to-do list that encompasses your whole project and then each day create a ‘to-day’ list. Put tasks on the list that need to be completed that day in order to move the project along. A ‘to-day’ list also helps you to focus and avoid being distracted by everything else on your to-do list.
This is beneficial not only for yourself but for anyone else who is behind the scenes at the event no matter their role. And remember that most tasks can be divided into smaller sub-tasks, by having these you will make the bigger tasks seem more achievable and also give yourself a sense of achievement as you mark off those smaller sub-tasks.
Being able to share a detailed itinerary looks confident and well-organised to others and it will help you feel more confident and organised too. Knowing you can always take a look at your detailed schedule and see exactly where you should be and what you should be doing at any given moment is extremely reassuring in moments of chaos and stress.
3. Be flexible
A rigid plan is a good place to start but if things start getting behind you risk feeling like everything is falling apart. Instead, recognise the importance of time management and factor in setbacks, obstacles and delays. If you’re accepting of the likelihood of unexpected issues cropping up, then you’ll be more prepared to face them when they inevitably happen.
Next, put in place any backup plans and mentally prepare yourself for how to quickly react to difficulties. If you’re good in a crisis then this will probably be where you naturally shine. If an unprecedented situation brings you out in a cold sweat, plan twice as hard.
Secondly, think about contingency plans. This could be if a speaker turns up late, you experience a technical difficulty with your virtual platform or a seating plan has to be changed last minute, contingency plans are important.
It’s impossible to predict everything, but if you at least have a potential rescue operation, you’ll be in a good position to tackle anything.
4. Set your own deadlines
Setting deadlines is a vital part of time management. Once you’ve established how long tasks should take you and make your to-do lists, you’ll be able to set yourself realistic deadlines. These deadlines can (and should) be both big and small.
Your event day is a big deadline, signifying the end of a project (don’t forget to follow up though!) and smaller deadlines act as mini-milestones that will help you reach it.
Hitting these milestones is so important for keeping you on track and keeping everything moving, so give yourself enough time and recognise your achievements as you go along!
5. Practice makes perfect
Time management is a key part of your event planning. It’s an important skill to master for your own benefit but it’s also essential to the confidence and reliability you impart on others working at, or attending, the event. Learning how to manage time effectively often comes with practice.
The more experience you have, the better you will become at learning the ways that work best for you. And with improvements in these skills, you’ll find yourself getting ahead of deadlines, feeling calmer and more in control!
We like to think that HeadBox is a great tool for helping you manage your time in the most effective way possible. So, if you need a hand planning your next event send us your enquiry here.
Can you feel the change of season in the air? With autumn coming, I naturally turn to planning the coming year, but there’s more to planning than setting new year resolutions. Planning ahead whether we’re talking about time or money can make for a great year.
Planning ahead will make your future brighter!
What does planning ahead mean to you? Whether your first instinct is to think about money or time the principles behind it are similar and so are the benefits. With the new year ahead, you’ll want to plan ahead for your business and life.
When done right, planning can help you execute new projects, reach your goals and fulfill your vision. All while still having fun and enjoying life to the fullest.
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” – Alan Lakein
Time to make sure your projects, both personal and professional come to fruition, not someday, but when you want them to!
What are the benefits of planning ahead?
When you plan ahead your day, week and month, you’ll feel more in control of your day-to-day life. No more running around not knowing where to turn to!
And when it comes to money, planning ahead will allow you to feel safe and be ready for the unforeseen costs that will inevitably happen in your life.
Spending less… time and money!
Leaving things for the last minute can cost you! It can cost you time, money and most importantly your sanity! By planning ahead you’ll be able to take advantage of that time to get things cheaper or prepare properly for a change in your business, spending less time course correcting.
Stay in the moment
Planning ahead means you won’t have to worry about what will happen tomorrow or next week. You’ll be in charge of your own time and that means you’ll be able to spend more time in the moment (once you have your plan laid out that is).
Staying true to your word.
We’ve all done it. Missed a meeting, forgotten to send that email we had promised. When you create an effective plan for your life and business you’ll be able to stay accountable to your promises, no more missed meetings.
Prepare for the unexpected
Plan for the things you never plan for: the car repair, taxes, sick days. When you plan ahead for these unexpected events by saving the money, taking the time off to rest and including a clause in your contract for the unexpected you’ll feel safer in your day to day.
How to plan ahead:
What do you want to achieve and prepare for?
What is it that you’d like to achieve in the coming year? Where are you looking to stretch past your comfort zone?
Where do you need to be more proactive?
Sometimes a little planning can go along way! If you prepare for the challenges ahead then you won’t feel like you’re running around to catch up or fix something!
Be more Productive
I know this can seem strange, but planning ahead will make you be more productive in the day-to-day. Having a clear action will allow you to get more than in less time.
Time to Grow
You didn’t get into business to stay stuck doing the same thing every day. If you want to grow your business you’ll need time to plan for growth. Whether that means growing a team to support you or planning for new launches, products, and services.
“A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.” – Confucius
What will you be planning ahead for in the coming months? What are you gearing up for?
Looking for someone to support you in planning for the new year? Click here to schedule a call.
What is Productivity?
Let’s define productivity. Productivity is a measure of efficiency of a person completing a task. We often assume that productivity means getting more things done each day. Wrong. Productivity is getting important things done consistently. And no matter what you are working on, there are only a few things that are truly important.
Being productive is about maintaining a steady, average speed on a few things, not maximum speed on everything.
My Top Productivity Strategies
- Eliminate Time Wasting Activities by Using the Eisenhower Box: This simple decision matrix will help you take action, organize tasks, and get more done. The great thing about this matrix is that it can be used for broad productivity plans (“How should I spend my time each week?”) and for smaller, daily plans (“What should I do today?”).
- Warren Buffett’s “2 List” Strategy: How to Maximize Your Focus and Master Your Priorities: This method comes from the famous investor Warren Buffett and uses a simple 3-step productivity strategy to help you determine your priorities and actions. You may find this method useful for making decisions and getting yourself to commit to doing one thing right away.
- The Ivy Lee Method: The Daily Routine Experts Recommend for Peak Productivity: This productivity strategy is straightforward: Do the most important thing first each day. The Ivy Lee Method is a dead simple way to implement this strategy.
- The 15-Minute Routine Anthony Trollope Used to Write 40+ Books: There is one common problem with the approach of ranking your priorities and doing the most important thing first, though. After ranking your priorities for the day, if the number one task is a really big project then it can leave you feeling frustrated because it takes a long time to finish. Writer Anthony Trollope, however, developed a solution to this common problem.
More Productivity Ideas
Most productivity strategies focus on short-term efficiency: how to manage your to-do list effectively, how to get more done each morning, how to shorten your weekly meetings, and so on. These are all reasonable ideas.
We often fail to realize, however, that there are certain strategic choices we need to make if we want to maximize our productivity for the long-term. In these articles below, I break down some ideas about long-term productivity.
Looking for more articles about productivity? I have a full list at the bottom of this page.
Simple Ways to Be More Productive Every Day
Step 1: Manage your energy, not your time.
If you take a moment to think about it, you’ll probably realize that you are better at doing certain tasks at certain times. What type of energy do you have in the morning? Afternoon? Evening? Determine what tasks each energy level and time of day are best suited for.
Step 2: Prepare the night before.
If you only do one thing each day then spend a few minutes each night organizing your to–do list for tomorrow. When I do it right, I’ll outline the article I’m going to write the next day and develop a short list of the most important items for me to accomplish. It takes 10 minutes that night and saves 3 hours the next day.
Step 3: Don’t open email until noon.
Sounds simple. Nobody does it. It took me awhile to get over the urge to open my inbox, but eventually I realized that everything can wait a few hours. Nobody is going to email you about a true emergency (a death in the family, etc.), so leave your email alone for the first few hours of each day. Use the morning to do what’s important rather than responding to what is “urgent.”
Step 4: Turn your phone off and leave it in another room.
Or on your colleague’s desk. Or at the very least, put it somewhere that is out of sight. This eliminates the urge to check text messages, Facebook, Twitter, and so on. This simple strategy eliminates the likelihood of slipping into half–work where you waste time dividing your attention among meaningless tasks.
Step 5: Work in a cool place.
Have you ever noticed how you feel groggy and sluggish in a hot room? Turning the temperature down or moving to a cooler place is an easy way to focus your mind and body. (Hat tip to Michael Hyatt for this one.)
Step 6: Sit up or stand up.
When you sit hunched over, your chest is in a collapsed position and your diaphragm is pressing against the bottom of your lungs, which hinders your ability to breathe easily and deeply. Sit up straight or stand up and you’ll find that you can breathe easier and more fully. As a result, your brain will get more oxygen and you’ll be able to concentrate better.
Step 7: Develop a “pre–game routine” to start your day.
My morning routine starts by pouring a cold glass of water. Some people kick off their day with ten minutes of meditation. Similarly, you should have a sequence that starts your morning ritual. This tiny routine signals to your brain that it’s time to get into work mode or exercise mode or whatever mode you need to be in to accomplish your task. Additionally, a pre–game routine helps you overcome a lack of motivation and get things done even when you don’t feel like it.
Do You Want to Boost Your Personal Productivity?
Get Your To-Dos Organized.
The Ultimate Solution to Do GTD®
Your GTD® System, Ready from the First Minute
Deep down, we’re all wishing for better lives, more productive days, and true fulfillment. After all, we’re all aware of our limited time and experiences here. We all eventually die. The thing that sets us apart from the rest of the people is the way we choose to use our time, energy, and focus.
The morning is the most important part of the day. It’s the beginning of your journey, each and every day. The quality of your mornings is reflecting the outcomes for the entire day. If productivity is what you’re seeking, a thorough morning routine that includes healthy habits and effective planning will take you far.
In today’s post, I’m sharing 7 essential morning practices to set up your mind for daily productivity. Pay attention to these tips, and don’t forget to implement them starting immediately!
1. Wake Up Early
The first requirement of daily productivity is an early wake-up, followed by empowering habits. Now – to wake up earlier, you obviously have to get into bed at decent hours. If you fall asleep at 10, waking up at 5 a.m. will be easier than you imagine.
Between 10 PM and 12 AM, the quality of our sleep is increased, and it provides significant benefits like increased levels of energy, improved cognitive functions, and better memory. For more info about this, you should consult someone who understands the human sleep cycles.
It would be advised to develop an evening routine. It’ll help you stick to your schedule, so you’ll build a habit of heading out to bed in reasonable time. Avoid screens at least one hour before you get into bed. This small habit too can improve the quality of your sleep and your overall health.
2. Create a Morning Routine That Sets Yourself Up for Success
Eliminating decision making during the earliest hours is the best way to ensure that you’re staying productive and effective during your mornings.
Instead of waking up each day chaotically, start following your unique morning routine. Of course, you must first develop it, so here are a few suggestions of actions you can take right after you wake up:
- Start the day with a positive affirmation. People use “mantras” to induce certain feelings and states of minds. “I am exceptional”, “Every day in every way, I’m getting better and better” are two examples, but you should choose one that resonates the most with you.
- Practice deep breathing. Use these exercises to start your day!
- Stretch, make the bed, do a few pushups or squats (not many), and exit the bedroom.
- Ignore technology and focus on the present moment.
- Drink a warm glass of lemon water, as it provides great benefits.
- Take a shower. While you do it, imagine how the water flushes your negative emotions.
- Eat a healthy breakfast. This is crucial – the healthier the better.
3. Take Care of Your Mind
Setting your mind up for success is critical for the productivity you’ll manifest throughout the day. A healthy and agile mind is not born that way but rather developed to be so.
If you make a habit of treating your mind right during the mornings, you’ll start thinking better, your emotions will positively change, and the amount of stress you’ll experience throughout the day will be reduced.
Here are the habits that most successful people commit to during early mornings:
- Reading. Even if you read one page, you’re still helping your mind get into a better shape each day.
- Writing. Daily journaling is a powerful habit that can set yourself up for success each day. Write down your dreams, thoughts, feelings, and problems, and tackle them one by one. “Transferring your ideas, goals, and tasks for the day is a great way to clear your mind and help it work faster.” – Mike Watson, Australian writer.
- Introspection. Make sure you keep your life under control by constantly performing introspections during your mornings. The goal of an introspection is to measure and optimize your life’s progress.
- Meditation. How often do you take a moment just for yourself, to sit and silence your mind completely? Meditation is a proven way of enhancing the well-being and productivity of those who practice it.
4. Exercise is a Must
If you check another 10 blog posts about morning habits, you’ll probably find this advice everywhere. Exercising is an extremely positive way of managing your energy. By managing energy I’m referring to eliminating the surpluses and creating room for positive energy.
Stress is energy too, but a negative one. If you exercise each morning, your days won’t get so stressful because your mind is ready to tackle the issues that arise.
To be able to fall asleep earlier, to wake up earlier, and to feel enhanced energy throughout the day, exercise is absolutely a must!
5. Practice Gratitude
Are you constantly grateful for waking up? Practicing a moment of gratitude each and every morning is a sure way to boost your positive emotions throughout the day.
A moment of gratitude can destroy any negative feeling and mood. If you fully focus on what you’re grateful for, on what’s good in your life, you’ll be empowered and ready to tackle all your incoming problems. Again, gratitude is another very commonly mention advice among “morning routine articles”.
6. Plan Your Day
When you’re planning to drive your car, you first got to establish a destination. Otherwise, you’re traveling with no purpose and reaching no destination.
Planning your day in the early morning helps you establish the priorities in your life, allows you to prevent distractions, and keeps you productive.
I’d highly advise you prioritize your tasks effectively, meaning that you shouldn’t aim to complete more than three demanding tasks each day. Many people choose only one, but they always get it right. You can implement this habit into your daily morning routines, right before you get to work.
7. Tackle the Most Important Task of the Day
Lastly yet very importantly, tackling the most important task of the day helps you gain momentum and strength to glow throughout the entire day. There’s a great satisfaction when you successfully overcome primary challenges.
Brian Tracy has written a book that focuses explicitly on this habit. The book is called “Eat That Frog”, and it’s one of the self-development bestsellers at the current time.
One of the reasons why “fighting” with your most difficult objective for the day is that once you’re done with it, you’ll gain a surplus of self-confidence, self-esteem, and motivation to finish the rest of your daily duties.
Taking full control over your morning is probably the most important thing you can do to empower your everyday life. To be productive, energic, and focused on your biggest goals, treat your mornings with much care and responsibility.
You reap what you sow – so what you do in the morning counts for the rest of the day. Stop allowing chaos in your mornings – become the supreme ruler and create the life you want!