I hate being unproductive. In fact, there aren't many things that bother me as much as reaching the end of the day, and feeling as if I wasted it.
Granted, if I'm on vacation that's drastically different, but when I have shit to get done I hate feeling like I didn't make the most of my time.
So here are three things I do to turbocharge my productivity.
Plan Out Your Day the Night Before
This is a big one. If you don’t clearly plan out your day and the things you want to accomplish, you’ll often waste time bouncing from item to item without having a clear sense of direction. Thus, I’d recommend doing the following:
Before going to bed, think of the three most important things you want to get done the next day. Right them down in that order. When you wake up, start with number one and work your way down the list.
As always, if something un-ignorable pops up, the list will have to adapt. But more times than not, you should be able to focus on the big three.
This is related to number 1, but you’ll never get anything done if you don’t make time.
Figure out what's important to you, block off time on your calendar for it, and go to work.
But really, put it down in writing and say exactly when you're going to work on it. Then stick to it unless something earth shattering pops up.
Set Work and Relax Time
Setting a clock for a predetermined amount of work time and rest time has helped me a lot.
Most people, myself included, don’t have the ability to really focus and crush work for extended periods of time. Thus, I think it makes more sense to set a timer and really focus for a set amount of time, and then take a break when the alarm goes off.
For example, I’ve found that I can really focus for about 50 minutes before I need a breather. So I set a timer for 50 minutes, put everything else away (laptop, cell phone, distractions) and work hard for 50 minutes. When the alarm goes off, I immediately stop what I’m doing and get away from it for at least 10 minutes. I’ll go outside and walk around, foam roll, eat some food, or do something else that helps me relax.
At the end of the day, all successful people have realized that efficiency and organization go a long way. It’s all about doing more in less time. Start setting a structured routine and see if you can free yourself up by doing more focused work. If you want to watch the football game, just watch the game. Multitasking doesn’t pay off very well. You’ll end up not really watching the game and not really getting work done.
Three Action Items:
Write down your list the night before.
Figure out when you’ll attack each of them and set that time aside.
Put yourself on the clock and rotate work and rest time until you finish.