5 ways to boost your everyday productivity

Photo by Ryland Dean on Unsplash

Day to day work activities can get overwhelmingly exhausting. It doesn’t matter whether you are a working professional or a student; if you have a personal goal, trying to accommodate it into your life along with the already laid out mandatory activities (school and office work) can get difficult and at times seemingly impossible to achieve. Below are 5 tips that can help you focus on these goals better boosting your day to day productivity.

1. Plan ahead

This is the foundation of having a productive day, week, month or year. Just as in your professional career where you have annual goals broken down into quarterly, monthly and then weekly action items, you will have to make a constant effort to organize your goals into small actionable plans. Goals without plans are just dreams, which are great to have but are out of reach. The first step to making a plan is to identify what your end goal is. Once you have clearly laid the objective, the next step is to break it down into smaller actionable items. A planner is a great tool to use for this step. I will write more on this in my upcoming blog.

2. Start your day with a little self care- Setting intention for the day

You may ask why? This is because before you can step up and take care of your goals or the world you need to take care of yourself. Your self care can look like any of the following:

  1. Movement- a short walk/ run around your home, a morning yoga flow, 10 minutes of cardio exercise
  2. Meditation- 15 minutes of meditation
  3. Gratitude- Writing in your journal and setting intention for the day
  4. Having a cup of coffee and while observing the rising sun or listening to soothing music (preferably classical music). My personal favorites are Indian classical music, both Hindustani and Carnatic, and Jazz and Blues

My choice of self care is number 4 from the above list. Since I enjoy having my morning cup of joe, it helps me release endorphins and dopamine while bathing in the morning sun and get some much needed vitamin D. The goal is to do an activity that you love which can give you a positive mental boost in the morning and set your day in motion.

3. Act on the plan — Discipline when motivation is lacking

You can make all the plans you want but nothing will come out of it unless you act on it. Most fail at this step. We make plans on a day when we are most motivated but fail to follow up with actions. This is especially true if you are working fulltime and have goals outside of your professional work. These goals could be of personal nature like, exercise more often, meal prep, talk to family/ friends, travel more often or of professional nature like studying for a certification or a new career opportunity.

Now the way to make sure you are acting on your goals is dependent on how much you want the end objective. A couple of tools to help you with this:

  1. Step 3 of this article of setting intention for the day is a great tool to begin with. Once you set your intention for the day, it becomes easier on following up the clearly laid plan
  2. A planner to track your actions. This could be your diary, your calendar or an excel sheet. There is no need to spend money on expensive online/ offline planners
  3. Pomodoro method of working. Using this tool you can set aside focused time periods for achieving tasks without distractions

4. Keep room for breaks

Make sure you don’t over plan which is essentially the easiest way to under deliver and get demotivated. Make sure you start with one step at a time. Don’t expect to go from 0 to 100 in a week. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself only to get burnt and fail and go back to square 1. Give yourself enough breaks to recover and recoup. Rest days are important for your brain just as they are important in an exercising regime. Try and accommodate a couple of hours a week for activities you enjoy- reading, watching movies/ TV shows, talking to a friend or just taking a nap.

5. Appreciate your effort. Thank yourself for the work

This is a very crucial point in your productivity plan. Positive reinforcement is not just for others but for yourself too. Just like you start your day with a gratitude journal you need to take time to thank yourself for all the work you are putting in towards your goals. Take yourself for a cup of coffee or an ice cream treat, or buy yourself that fancy pair of shoes that you have been eyeing for a while when you achieve a task. This method of positive reinforcement not only makes you appreciate your efforts, you also value the gift you purchase more than you would if you were to purchase them for no reason. Add this to your planner as a weekly, bi-weekly activity to see how you are doing against your action items.

Since you have read this far I will give you a bonus tip which I personally incorporate in all my plans.

5. Revise and Repeat

There is always an opportunity to make room for adjustments. Revise your plan as needed. Examples can be- breaking action items into smaller steps, more time to complete an action plan, updating the time schedules to accommodate changes in your life. The bottom line being, this is your personal plan and adjustments can always be made as long as they are out of necessity and not excuses. Give yourself some room to breathe and know that you are learning more with each passing day on how to turn your dreams into goals.

I hope these tips help you in making your day more productive that lead you to make goal oriented plans and execute them with vigor.

Comment and let me know what goals are you currently working on and which of the above tips would help you reach those goals.

Best of Luck.

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