Ever had one of these days…
You wake up in the morning exhausted, tired and stressed. You had another night of poor sleep, yet a big day at work awaits you. As you start to get ready you recall all the things you need to do today.
- The meeting with your boss that you need to prep for
- That big project you need to have done for your colleague, Mel, by lunch
- You need to take your dog to the vet
- Your insurance hasn’t been paid
The tasks keep rolling in…
Stress starts to kick in and it’s not even 8am! You check your phone and see that there’s 100 outstanding emails!
“OMG. How the heck, am I going to get all this done today.”
You enter the office and already people are pulling you in multiple directions. The papers on your desk are disorganised and everything seems to be a scurrying mess.
Suddenly you realise that the plans that you had for your day have gone completely out the window.
You spent the rest of your day putting out fires and reacting to other people’s problems. Finally, as you sit back at your desk you look at the time and it’s 5:30pm.
“What! Where did all that time go?”
You get in your car and start to reflect on your day as you drive home.
“Shit!!! I totally forgot to take my dog to the vet. Oh and I didn’t get that key project done for Mel. Dang it!”
You arrive home feeling defeated, exhausted and saddened by your lack of progress in your day. You also realise that tomorrow is likely to be an exact repeat of today, unless you can make a change.
7 Productivity Tips that Can Transform Your Life
Yep. My life used to be very similar to that story. And for many of you, I’m sure you are probably experiencing something very similar.
These days, so many of us find ourselves flying by the seat of our pants, reactive to other people’s agendas and problems.
We also find ourselves working really hard on multiple projects at the one time, to only discover that by the end of the day we have made little progress on any of them.
This is where I come in…
To help you make some simple changes to your day, in this article I explore seven productivity tips that can truly transform your life.
Even if you start with just ONE of these things and remain consistent with it over time, you are likely to see massive growth in your productivity and progress throughout the day.
1) Focus Only On What You Can Control
Not rocket science, right?
But you’d be surprised by the number of people who stress out about every single thing in their lives, including thing they have no direct control over.
Trying to control everything in your life is only going to lead to significant disappointment, anxiety and overwhelm. There’s no point stressing over things you can not, and will not ever control.
Instead, focus only on what you can control within your inner circle. Switch off from the rest.
A great strategy that can help you with this is to detach and switch off from the daily news and media.
Most of the stories shared on those platforms are negatively skewed, fear-inducing and bias anyway.
They also start your day off on a negative by reporting the latest scandal, devastating accident or conflicts around the world.
By detaching from common media sources and news, you will notice just how much freer you feel in your day, and how much more clearly you can think about the actual things that do impact your life.
2) Plan Ahead & Limit Your Daily Priorities
Productivity tip #2 is to stop striving to get it all done. Instead, focus on getting the most important things done.
Although you may try to be a superhero with your numerous to-do lists and calendar tasks, you will be more effective during your day if you slash down your list to a smaller number of priorities.
Here’s how to do it:
- Write down all the things you want to achieve in your day
- Consider which tasks are most important to your goals and put a circle around them.
- Cross off the trivial.
- Estimate how long each of your priority tasks is likely to take you and schedule it into your daily diary or calendar. Make this a non-negotiable appointment with yourself.
- As other tasks come up in your day, plan them around your top 3 priorities. You may even schedule them to be completed in another day.
- Then as your priority appointment comes up, dedicate quality time to finishing that chosen task
- Once your top 3 priorities are complete, then you can consider ticking off some of the others things on your list.
That way, even if you only complete those three things and nothing else, you’ll still feel satisfied with what you have managed to accomplish for the day.
3) Work in 60-90 Minute Intervals
Rather than working non-stop at your desk for an entire day, give your brain a chance to rest and rejuvenate.
You will be much more effective if you break your day into 60-90 minute intervals of uninterrupted focused work, rather than spending hours at your desk with no breaks.
Not giving your brain a break actually hinders attention, focus and performance. It is much more effective to give your brain short breaks in between as a little pick-me-up.
It is also easier to work at your optimum performance level for shorter bursts of time compared to trying to sustain it over a long period of time.
Some ways you can do this include:
- Taking a short stroll around the office to get your steps up for the day
- Do some stretches away from your screen
- Go on a tea break or take a moment to fill up your water bottle
- Engage in some deep breathing exercises at your desk
- Eat away from your desk for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea
- Catch up with a colleague for 5 minutes
Working for multiple hours straight without breaks will only put you in the vicious cycle of feeling like you’re working a lot but not getting much done.
This productivity tip is worth its weight in gold.
4) Get Up 90 minutes Earlier
Getting up 90 minutes earlier each day can give you a massive advantage in what you achieve in a given day. Especially, during the work week.
Although for some, the idea of getting up earlier may sound scary, those who are willing to get up earlier to knock off the first priority for their day, will unlock access to one of the greatest superpowers:
- Being in control of their morning
- Taking an additional step closer towards their biggest goals
There are no distractions, your mind is clear and your brain is at its optimum for high-performance.
Even if you can only fit in 30-60 minutes a day, this will put you leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors or colleagues, before the work day has even begun.
As part of my morning routine, I do this every day during the week.
It has had such a drastic impact on my life and there’s nothing better than starting your day feeling in control, and having made progress on one of your top priorities before you’ve even entered the office.
That way, if you do get pulled in multiple directions or need to put out fires, you’re happy to do so because you have already completed your most important priority for the day.
5) Make Time to Meditate in the Morning
My favourite productivity tip of them all….
Start your morning with a short mindfulness meditation. This is a great way to improve productivity during your day.
Meditation is becoming more and more popular in Western society as a way to more effectively manage stress and anxiety. But there are many other physical, emotional and mental health benefits of meditation too.
The benefit that I love most is that it can help to boost productivity in your day.
Meditation can help boost productivity by:
- Improving your ability to focus
- Slowing down your thoughts
- Aiding effective decision making
- Starting your day feeling grounded and balanced
- Refreshing your body and relieving built up stress and anxiety that may have accumulated from the day before
- Reducing the negative impacts of chronic stress on the body
Meditation is now a non-negotiable part of my morning routine. I find that it really helps to set me up in good stead to tackle the day.
It keeps me focused, organised and level-headed.
Sure, it is an exercise that can take some time to master, but there is little investment required and the basic concepts behind it are pretty easy to grasp.
If you’d like to learn more about meditation, you can check out our FREE/ Lite Meditation eCourse below.
6) Limit Phone Use
Multi-tasking is one of the greatest killers of our productivity.
Our mobile phones are one of our greatest temptations, yet it is something we carry around with us day in and day out.
Even at work, we can find ourselves checking texts from friends, emails and social media at multiple times during our work day.
By limiting your phone use or keeping it in your bag on silent or switched off whilst at work, you will notice such a drastic change in your productivity.
Some of you may have panicked whilst reading that:
“What? Switch off my phone…. I don’t think so buddy.”
But the reality is that the more you succumb to your phone and allow it to pull your attention away from your work, the more harm you are doing to your brain and its ability to stay focused.
You are literally training your brain to seek out distractions to keep occupied.
If turning off your phone during the day is not an option, then even just consider turning your phone app push notifications off.
That way, you won’t find yourself reacting to the constant buzzing or beeping of alerts on your home screen.
Instead you’ll be taking control back over your day, by only choosing to check your phone when it suits you. For example, between your 60-90 minute work intervals.
7) Delegate More
This productivity tip may be more relevant to some than others. But eve so, all of us probably have room for improvement when it comes to doing less ourselves and delegating more.
The problem with most high-achievers is that we often want to do it all. But we simply don’t have the resources to live this way.
There are many tasks in our day that we can delegate whether it be:
- Delegating a straight-forward work task to a colleague or assistant
- Paying for a house cleaner rather than doing it yourself
- Getting your partner to cook dinner one night if you’re running behind or have had a busy day
- Delegating some of the household chores to your kids or partner
- Hiring a virtual assistant or someone on Fiverr to help you out
- Hiring someone of Air Tasker to do some trivial household jobs
There are many ways you can delegate low priority tasks to save time in your day.
This will help you to get more done in your day by doing less yourself and spending less time on trivial tasks.
Top Productivity Tip: Start a Morning Meditation Practice
Meditation is something that has truly transformed my life.
It has helped me move from the person I was (someone who did not handle stress well, was constantly filled with anxiety and had scattered thoughts) to the person I am today (much more balanced, calm and focused).
Of course, I still experience stress and anxiety from time to time. After all, it is a common fault of high-achievers. But, I can definitely see the positive impacts it has had on my life.
If you are interested in learning more about meditation for productivity and how to get started, our 14-day Online Meditation Course “Journey to Calm” would be a great resource for you.
If you’re brand new, also ensure to grab your copy of the FREE Meditation Checklist below. That way you can start to learn about the 7 basic steps of meditation.
Enter your details below to receive your FREE Meditation Checklist straight to your inbox.