How to Stay Productive Throughout Your Day

podcast Nov 27, 2019

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Today I want to talk to you about five ways how you can stay productive active throughout your day, five ways to be more productive throughout your entire day. Because you probably wake up with the best of intentions, that you're going to have a great, super, incredibly productive day. But sometimes, oftentimes maybe, it gets derailed. So here are five ways how you can get and stay productive throughout your day.

Number one, let's start when you wake up. I want you to guard those first 60 to 90 minutes of your day militantly. So this means don't check email. Don't check social media. And for goodness sake, just stop watching the news.

Get up, do something for you. Something that's going to help you. Now maybe this is reading your Bible, or reading an inspirational book, like How to Win Friends and Influence People or Think and Grow Rich. Maybe you pray, maybe you do yoga, maybe you meditate, maybe you get a cup of coffee and you go on the back porch and you just sit there and just watch the world come alive. Whatever it is, I want you to start your day intentionally.

I don't want you to dive into social media and email and get barrage by all this negativity and all these fires in the world. There's plenty of time to look at those and deal with those later. What I want you to do is be very intentional.

So when your eyes open up, or when your alarm clock goes off, and the best time to wake up, by the way, is when you naturally wake up, rather than be jolted awake by an alarm clock. So if you can set yourself up, so where you're always waking up naturally, you're already ahead of the game, in terms of starting a great productive day. If you stay in bed and you ah, it's warm and it's comfy and you're hanging out with your loved one or maybe your pets or whatever. The longer you dwell in bed, the harder it is get out of bed. You know I'm talking the truth here. So when you wake up, get out of bed. Put those feet on the floor, don't grab your phone, do something that's going to help you get your day started off on the right foot.

Number two, idea number two is take as many micro breaks as you need throughout the day. Now a micro-break is like two to five minutes long. And here's how you do it properly.

If you work in a cubicle, if you work in an office, if you work from home, when it comes time to take a micro-break and, now let me ask let me address this question: how do I know when to take a micro-break? When you start to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, like you're pushing a rope. I don't care if you're in the middle of a project. You get up from your work area. This is very important. You don't take a micro-break sitting in your chair in your work area. You get up you walk outside, I really recommend you walk outside. I know in the wintertime up north it gets cold and snowy and blustery. And in the heat of summer in the south, it gets really, really hot and steamy and humid. But go outside without your phone or if you're going to bring your phone because you can't trust it leaving where it is, make sure the vibration's turned off and make sure it's muted. Put in your pocket. Go away from talking people.

The whole point is for you to get re-centered. I want you to go someplace quiet. And I want you to close your eyes. I want you to take several deep breaths. Now if you've got an Apple Watch like I do or if your smartwatch has a breathe app on it, go ahead and use that and just focus on your breathing. It only takes two to five minutes, but it's going to give you a natural energy lift. Maybe not for the rest of the day but until you start feeling that sense of overwhelm again.

Now the key is you have to use these micro-breaks whenever you start feeling overwhelmed. Don't say I only have 10 more minutes or one more paragraph to write. Because if you go take the micro-break and come back, guess what might happen? You may get inspired. And you don't want to waste that because you're just trying to keep on keeping on when a two to five-minute micro-break really helps. So schedule the micro-breaks whenever you need them. We're not talking a two hour Martini lunch, if you remember Martini lunches, I don't but if you do, we're not talking that we're talking two to five minutes away from your work area not in technology, not talking to anybody.

Idea number three: learn the power of no. Most of us are kind, loving human beings. And we don't like to say no to people. We like to be people pleasers. But here's the thing about saying yes: every time you say yes to someone or something, you have no idea how many people and things you're saying no to. Why? You can't see the future.

So if someone asked you, "Hey, can you be on this committee? Can you help me with this? Do you have 10 minutes?" If you don't, or you don't want to, be very professional, very polite and say, "No, I'm sorry, I don't have the bandwidth for doing this, or I could do it tomorrow." So you stay in control. So exercise the power of no because if you look at the highly successful people in our world, who happened to be the wealthiest people in the world, they say no way more than they say yes. So take a lesson from them.

Idea number four: learn to laugh a lot. Smile more. It's very difficult to be angry and smile and laugh. Not the creepy laugh but I mean a genuine laugh.

I once heard Tony Robbins say that when things are falling down around you. I mean, the whole world is shivering its timbers, instead of getting angry and frustrated, do a big belly laugh. You talk about a device to change your state instantaneously? It's a big belly laugh. When's the last time you had a belly laugh? When's the last time you just laughed hysterically that you were crying? Not a sad cry. A happy cry.

So when you're having those days and everything seems to be going against you, maybe you should do a belly laugh. Now I want to give a caveat here. Don't do a belly laugh when you're sitting in front of the judge in court, or you're pulled over speeding and the police officer asks you for your license and registration. Don't...that's not the time to do the belly laugh. Maybe after you leave the court or after the police officer drives away. But it can really change your state from the state of stress and anxiety and overwhelm to like, as Marie Forleo says "everything is figureoutable". So learn to smile more. It's amazing when I go around public and I see how many people scowl. Smile. It doesn't cost you any money to smile.

Now when you smile, make sure you smile with your eyes. That's a tip I learned when I was a professional photographer many years ago. Don't do a creepy smell, that's weird. Don't do that. But a natural smile. It puts people at ease that puts people in a state of comfort, to learn to laugh at yourself. Don't take your life or yourself too seriously. Life is meant to be enjoyed as well.

And the fifth idea, make sure you have an end to your day. A fantastic book I highly recommend you get is Cal Newport's book called Deep Work. It's a book that I wish I would have written. It's incredible. It's one of my top five all-time books. He talks about when you work in the corporate environment, you have an end to your day, right? Eventually, you leave the office and you go home. But people who work from home, don't have an end to their day. That's because they work from home, they're not going to leave the office to go home because they work from home.

So whether you work in the corporate environment, or if you work from home, or at Starbucks, or the library, make sure you have an end time of your day. Now, it doesn't have to be five o'clock, it can be six o'clock could be 5:30 can or change every day. But make sure you have a definitive end of your day. And when you say okay, the day is over, then you stop working. You don't check emails anymore. You don't check, you can check social media to consume but I would really scale back and what you're doing because you need to have time to have fun to watch those silly, pointless TV programs or those movies or maybe play a video game. You need to enjoy life yesterday. You need to work hard, but you also need to enjoy life.  

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