Did you know that the average person is only productive for about three hours a day? Think about how much you could get done if you could use your time more effectively! Try this productivity roadmap to make sure you’re on top of your game all day long.
Getting off on the wrong foot can derail your
whole day. That’s why it’s so important to start your morning off right for a
- Get up early. You don’t have to rise with the
sun, but getting up early enough that you aren’t in a rush to get to work can
eliminate morning stress. Take the time to eat breakfast, have some coffee, and
get mentally prepared for the day.
- Hydrate. Caffeine is great, but you can make
your coffee much more effective by downing a glass of water first. A lot of the
lethargy that we tend to attribute to morning sleepiness is actually due to
dehydration. Plus, caffeine is a diuretic, so it can make you more dehydrated
if you don’t replace that water.
- Make decisions first. It takes a lot of mental energy to make decisions. Take
that off your plate for the rest of the day by laying out your priorities right
up front. That way, all you have to do for the rest of the day is follow the
schedule you’ve already laid out.
- Eat a frog. There’s a quote popularly
attributed to Mark Twain about how if you eat a live frog first thing in the
morning, nothing worse can happen to you all day. While you probably shouldn’t
eat an actual frog for breakfast, you should absolutely tackle your hardest
task first, when you have the most energy.
If you can check these four boxes by the first hour or two of work, you’ll already be more productive than the average person — and you’re set up for a killer productive day!
"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
Once you’ve knocked out your morning routines, it’s time to attack the meat of your day. If you want to level up your productivity, time blocking could be the key. The concept is simple: Instead of just creating to-do list items, assign each of those items a time slot and actually schedule them into your day.
There are a few ways that time blocking helps you accomplish the items on your list. First, it makes it easier to avoid multitasking. Knowing that you have a limited time to complete each task can encourage you to stay singularly focused. Plus, it’s much more palatable to put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode for an hour or two, rather than the whole day!
That set endpoint is also good protection against burning yourself out on a challenging or long-term task. Instead of spending all day grinding away at something that you won’t be able to finish before quitting time, you can complete digestible chunks of it each day, and give yourself permission to set it aside once the end of the time block comes. And for those tasks that can seem too intimidating to even start on, knowing that you only need to work on it for an hour or two before returning to safer, less stressful ground can encourage you to take those first steps.
No matter how big or small the project, it needs to be completed one step at a time. Time blocking allows you to schedule each one of those steps, so all you have to do is follow the path to the finish line!
Uh oh… it’s that two o’clock slump. Everybody knows how it feels to come back from lunch and realize you’re practically falling asleep at your desk. At that point, it’s too easy to just check out and coast through the last few hours. But those hours can still be valuable if you know how to use them.
- Do something mindless. Some tasks require all
your brain power, but others can be done even when you’re running on empty. During
those times, try doing something mindless, like straightening up your desk,
filing papers, or sorting your email inbox.
- Prep for tomorrow. Laying out your to-do list
the day before can make the following morning easy.
- Get out of your chair. Getting up to stretch
or take a short walk can reinvigorate you and give you the energy to finish one
or two more things before the day is over.
- Do a little reading. This is the perfect time
to learn something new. All of those articles you’ve been bookmarking and
webinars and podcasts you’ve been meaning to listen to are great afternoon
If you followed Mark Twain’s morning advice and got your most important task out of the way first thing, it’s okay to have a low key afternoon and take on some housekeeping tasks — be that literally office housekeeping, or the kind of organizational housekeeping that’s necessary to keep your business running smoothly.
What are you waiting for? You have all the tools you need to have a great, productive week. Go get ‘em!