One of the best feelings is reaching the end of a productive day. When you SLAYED your to do list, aced your test, cleaned your house, or finished a project at work, it feels amazing. I’m sure we all wish we felt like that every single day, so we’re going to go over 10 simple productivity strategies to make the most of your day.
It’s important to remember we all have a limited amount of time and energy in a day, but we can learn to use that time wisely. If you set unrealistic expectations for yourself that’ll only lead to feeling bad about yourself, so don’t expect perfection every day. Just focus on doing your best.
When you turn these tips into daily habits you’ll be on your way to productivity improvement every single day.
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10 Productivity Strategies for a Great Day
Make Your Bed
Make you bed first thing in the morning. Turns out your mom was doing you a favor when she bugged you to make your bed every day. I hated doing it as a kid but now I can’t start my day without doing it as soon as I get out of bed.
The bed is usually the largest item in a room, and so that’s where your eye is drawn. Having a neatly made bed gives you at least one organized and tidy space even if you have other clutter in the room (ahem, like me). It tricks you into thinking the room is cleaner than it is.
You may not realize it but being in a messy space can suck all the energy and creativity out of you. If you don’t have time for a thorough cleaning just making your bed look nice is a easy way to start the day out right.
Set Your Intentions for the Day
Set your intentions. What do you want to accomplish today? How do you want to feel at the end of the day? How are you going to handle challenges that come at you? What kind of attitude are you going to bring to your family or work atmosphere?
Before you get on your phone or computer, take a few minutes to sit and write down or visualize how you want the day to go. The clearer you are the better. Deciding you’re going to have a positive attitude at the beginning of the day, regardless of what life throws at you, can make all the difference.
Clean Up As You Go
Clean your messes as you make them throughout the day. It’s tempting to tell yourself “I’ll do that later,” but it can be better to do it in the moment rather than letting little tasks add up until you have a big mess that takes a lot more energy to tackle.
If you tried clothing on then changed your mind, put it back in your closet instead of throwing on your bed, chair, or *shudder* floor. Put dirty clothes straight into the hamper. Clean your dishes as soon as you’re done with them. Return things back in their designated spot as soon as you’re done with them. Sort through your mail when you bring it in. I promise making these things a habit will save you so much time and stress.
Related: 6 TIPS FOR A FRESH START EACH WEEK
Utilize Your Peak Productivity Hours
Use your most productive time of day wisely. Take note of when you have the most energy and motivation, designate that time for your most important tasks of the day. Some people are really productive at 7am, others hit their stride at 1pm after lunch. Save the less important things for when you don’t have as much energy.
If you’re too tired to workout after work, schedule it in the morning or during your lunch break. If you have a paper or report to work on don’t start when your hungry or tired, start when you feel fresh and energized.
Review Your Goals and Set Priorities
Review both your long and short term goals. It’s smart to do this regularity, otherwise you may get to the end of the week, month, or year and wonder why you didn’t accomplish anything.
Determine your top 3 priorities for the day. These should be things that, if that was all you got done, you’d still feel satisfied and they’d move you closer to the completion of your projects and goals.
Don’t make a daily to do list with a dozen items and expect to finish it in a day. That can make you feel overwhelmed and like a failure if you aren’t able to finish it in a day. It’s fine to have a master list but keep your daily must do at 3 items. If you complete your top three, then you can work on other things.
→ Learn How to Write a Better To-Do List
The Pareto Principle states that 20% of your efforts produce 80% of your results. So put your attention on those things that will give you the greatest results.
Eliminate or delegate anything that doesn’t really deserve your attention.
Do the Most Important Thing First
It’s tempting to start with your easiest tasks first, but when you’re feeling the most motivated (and your peak productivity hours) is the time to complete your most important tasks. Your most important task doesn’t have to be the hardest by the way, but if it is a time consuming project break it down into smaller chunks.
For example, for each blog post I break it down like this:
- Friday: Choose topic, research, and create outline.
- Saturday: Write most of the post.
- Sunday: Proof read, add finishing touches, and choose/make graphics.
This makes a sometimes overwhelming and time consuming task easier for me to do.
Many people think that they can multitask effectively, but studies show that multitaskers are actually less productive than people who focus on just one task. The reality is that your brain works best when you focus on one thing at a time, so trying to do 5 things at once actually makes you less productive.
People who focus on a single task are more organized and check things off their lists more quickly. Do one thing at a time and check them off as you go. Refer back to your priority list.
Clean for 10 Minutes Before Bed
Do a quick clean up before bed. Waking up to a messy house can be an instant source of stress. Set a timer and do a power clean before bed.
Which areas will stress you out most? Give those areas your full attention for just 10 minutes after dinner or before you shower.
Ten minutes of effort today can save you hours of stress tomorrow.
Prepare the Night Before
Get prepared the night before. Set out your work clothes, pack your school bag, prep your meals and snacks, get your gym gear ready to go. Look at your calendar and prepare for any events coming up.
Reduce the number of decisions you have to make in the morning so that you can save that energy for your important tasks.
Schedule Play Time
All work and no play makes all of us stressed, unhappy, and ultimately less productive. If you’ve ever stared at your screen with your eyes crossed and been unable to form a coherent thought, it’s time to take a break.
Taking a break from your to do lists helps you recharge and come back to your task with more focus and better results. Schedule breaks as you need them, and plan for down time every day.
Take a 10 minute walk or a 20 minute nap.
Make time for creative hobbies, listen to music, or read a book.
Plan a lazy day or half day on the weekend.
So those are my best productivity strategies. Give them a try, make them part of your daily routines, and you’ll see a noticeable difference in your daily life. You’ll feel more organized, get the important things done, and feel accomplished at the end of each day.
Need more helps? Check out my post on How to Manage Your Time Effectively to see the method I use to maximize my time.
Love and light.