10 Ways to be More Productive TodayFeb 26, 2021
Complexity is the gateway to procrastination ~ Mark Struczewski
In this article, I lay out ten simple ways to be more productive starting right now.
While each of these ideas is simple…that doesn’t mean that they're easy to do. There is a difference.
Don’t get overwhelmed.
Just pick one that resonates with you and begin to implement it into your life.
Then come back and pick another one.
Step by step by step.
You’ve got this.
Let’s do this.
1. GET OUT OF BED
The moment your eyes open — whether naturally or with the aid of an alarm clock (I love the way the late Zig Ziglar puts it, This morning…did you wake up to an alarm clock or an “opportunity clock”?)…get out of the bed.
I don’t care how tired you are or how comfortable you are; you can’t get stuff done while you’re lazing about in bed.
Nothing happens until you get out of bed.
2. MAKE YOUR BED
Now that you’re up let’s accomplish something.
Make your bed right away.
If you sleep alone, make the whole bed. If someone else is in your bed, make up your side.
Wow. You’ve been up for less than 60 seconds, and you’ve already accomplished something today.
Pretty cool, right?
This is so important that Admiral William H. McRaven wrote a short bestselling book that I recommend you read, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World (affiliate link).
3. GUARD THE FIRST HOUR OF YOUR DAY
You have the most control of your day as it begins, even if you have kids.
Make it your time.
This may mean you have to get up earlier than you normally would (or want to!).
How badly do you want to have a productive day?
What are you willing to do to make it happen?
Here’s a better question: what do you need to do to make this day happen?
You know your situation better than anyone.
But don’t make any excuses.
Commit to doing this and watch your productivity improve before your very eyes.
Here are some additional ideas for you…
4. MOVE WITHIN 15 MINUTES OF WAKING UP
I learned this from Robin Sharma’s bestselling book, The 5 AM Club (affiliate link).
According to Mr. Sharma, elevating your heart rate and breaking out into a sweat significantly lowers your cortisol, releases BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), increases serotonin, and boosts your metabolism. These increase focus.
I’ve been getting up at 5 am since February 4, 2020, and have been going for my daily run by 5:15 am every day since December 25, 2020. It made a huge positive difference in my reading time (which I used to do before I ran) and my productivity.
5. AVOID PICKING UP YOUR PHONE FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN
A study from IDC Research found that 80 percent of smartphone users check their mobile devices within 15 minutes of waking up each morning.
Don’t. Do. That.
You just woke up.
Hopefully, you had a good quality night of sleep where you scored between the recommended 7 and 9 hours!
Good for you.
But resist reaching for that phone!
Why enter the world of other people’s problems via email, social media, or messages…?
It can honestly wait.
When you wake up, it’s YOU time!
6. PLAN YOUR DAY…BUT NOT TOO MUCH
I’ve been telling whoever will listen the importance of “telling your time where to go instead of wondering where it went” for a long time.
People who take the time to plan their time are more successful than those that don’t. This makes sense.
Having nothing on your calendar is an invitation to do…nothing. Or worse, scroll social media.
Even if you’re not sure what to schedule, guess. It’s better than the alternative: thinking (hoping) you’ll get stuff done.
But don’t plan every minute.
Be sure you let your plan breathe.
- That call will come in late or run over.
- Your Internet may drop out.
- Some crisis may happen.
- You may become unmotivated.
7. TAKE BREAKS WHEN NEEDED
I once told a client that it’s better to take a micro-break when they’re fatigued and feeling overwhelmed, even when they can see the finish line.
They were shocked when I said this.
“Even when I’m so close?”
I explained that just getting up from their work area, taking a brisk walk (without their device or talking to anyone), and coming back will be better than crossing the finish line doing less than your best work.
They didn’t believe me.
Until they tried it.
Then they were a fan of it, and me! LOL
Whenever you feel like you need a break, take one. Just not when you’re in the middle of an interview, or you’re coaching someone. That would be rude.
8. CUT OFF CAFFEINE BY 2 PM, OR PERMANENTLY
Caffeine has a half-life of about five hours. This means if you have a coffee or caffeinated beverage after 2 pm, you run the risk of having your sleep disrupted.
Dr. Matthew Walker writes extensively about this in his bestselling book, Why We Sleep (affiliate link).
Personally, I only drink water every day. My water of choice is Ozarka Mountain Spring water (available only in Texas).
No caffeine. Delicious taste. And no waste since it’s delivered in 5-gallon reusable bottles.
If you think you can’t give up caffeine, chances are good you can. Depending on how long you’ve been drinking it, it may be a painful process, but I can promise you it’s worth it.
The key to only drinking water is to find water that tastes good. Note: this usually costs more, but it’s worth it.
Your body expends less energy when you drink water.
Plus, your body is composed of 60% water and your blood, 90%.
9. LEARN TO SAY “NO” MORE THAN “YES”
Think about this: every time you say YES to someone or something, you are saying NO to more than you realize.
Because you can’t see into the future and know what opportunities are coming your way.
Not only that…but you only have 24 hours to spend every day, just like every other human being on this giant, blue planet.
Every YES demands time.
Every NO frees up time.
So whenever someone asks you to do something, think carefully before you commit.
If you struggle with saying NO, then do this: tell them you’ll think about it and would they mind circling back to you in a few days. The chances are excellent that they’ll find some other sucker, er, person, and you’ll be off the hook. This works most of the time.
10. STEER CLEAR OF NEGATIVITY
You’re bombarded with negativity all day long.
- social media
- the news (pro tip: stop watching this!)
Attempting to ignore it is futile. You have to be intentional and proactive about reducing it.
- Distance yourself from anyone whose natural state is negative, even family and lifelong friends. This includes people you follow on social media.
- Tell family and friends not to tell you the news or their opinion of the news. Ask them only to tell you significant things, like a satellite is falling out of orbit and heading toward your house!
Choose to be positive, happy.
There is so much good in our world. In fact, I believe that close to 90% (if not more) is awesome.
Grab a notebook and write down everything that is going well in your life. You have more to be happy about than not. For example, if you’re reading this article, you:
- can read and have intelligence
- possess some form of technology
- are alive
Which of these ten things do you do? And which one(s) will you commit to doing?
I hope you enjoyed this article. Thank you for reading it.
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