Are you a procrastinator? Do you have trouble staying focused on tasks that your working on? Do you find yourself sitting there at the end of the day feeling like you’ve gotten nothing done? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re not alone! In fact, I think we all have a little bit of these qualities in us. The trick is learning how to curb these habits into a healthier, more productive way of organizing your workday. Us millennials tend have big dreams and expectations, but we get stuck when trying to get tasks done. Here are my tips on how to increase your daily productivity so that you can achieve greater things!
1. Create a Morning Routine that Makes You Feel Like Your Best Self.
Maybe you’re like me and you hate mornings. Believe me, nobody hates mornings more than I do (except maybe my boyfriend, haha). I’m with you, my friend. That being said, it’s been proven that people who wake up early tend to live more successful lives than those who don’t (as a general rule of thumb). Since starting my full-time summer job working in an office from 8:30-4:30, I’ve noticed major improvements in my productivity, focus, motivation, and just overall well-being. This surprised me, as I still hate waking up in the morning. However, once I’m awake and I’ve had my morning tea and breakfast I’m usually good to go!
It’s important to create a morning routine that works, especially if you struggle during this time of day. A routine will help you feel at ease going through the motions even though your brain isn’t awake yet.
Personally, the first thing I do when I wake up is make breakfast and tea. I put my tea in a travel mug so that I don’t have to worry about rushing to drink it and can just bring it to work with me! After I eat breakfast, I get dressed (into the outfit that I put together the night before), collect my lunch (also prepared the night before), wash my face, brush my teeth, and then do my hair and makeup. As I enjoy the process of getting ready, I do actually find this relaxing. All of this takes me about an hour, after which I get in the car and drive for about 25 minutes while listening to my favourite morning show and drinking my tea.
This is the morning routine that works for me on a daily basis. It may or may not work for you, and you may find yourself making adjustments according to what makes you feel ready to conquer the day ahead of you. Some people wake up super early to have more time to themselves in the morning. It just depends on what you need in order to feel your best!
2. Organize and Prioritize Your Daily Tasks.
As soon as I arrive at work, I write a daily to-do list (sometimes I write it the day before). I find it helpful to write down every single task that I need to work on or complete that day, whether it’s a large task or a small one. After I’ve written out every task, I go through and prioritize them by starring the tasks that are most important. You can prioritize tasks based on deadlines, how much work is involved, tasks you didn’t finish the day before, etc. Once that’s done, you’re almost ready to start working!
It’s important to note that there are so many methods of managing your daily tasks. I also enjoy using a planner, but you can also add tasks to a calendar or into your phone. You can use a colour coding system to prioritize or symbols. It’s really up to you how you want to go about it!
I’ve created a daily organizer for all of you awesome girl bosses out there! The printable includes a tasks/priorities section, a schedule section (broken down into morning, afternoon, and evening), and a goals/notes section for you to jot down any extra information for the day. You can download it here.
3. Set Goals for Yourself.
Let me ask you a question. How can you be productive in working towards something if you don’t set goals for yourself? No matter how big or small, goals are a major driving factor when it comes to productivity, especially when those goals are something you really, really want.
If you’re working for yourself, I’m sure you’re aware of the importance of setting short and long term goals. Because no one is telling you what to do in this situation, your goals will be the driving force in your productivity, so I can’t stress enough how important it is to set SMART goals for yourself. If you set an overarching goal of what you really want to achieve, then you can set smaller, more short term goals to help you work towards your overall goal, therefore making the process more manageable.
If you’re working for a company or for someone else, you may be expected to complete tasks that aren’t necessarily overly exciting, so how can you use goal setting to motivate your productivity in such cases? This is an important point to touch on, as I’m sure many of us have been there where we just can’t find the motivation to be productive towards completing tasks that we don’t enjoy.
That being said, creating small goals for yourself can be an incredibly powerful way of boosting productivity. For instance, if I’m working on a document for my company that has multiple sections, I might say to myself that I want to complete X number of sections before I make myself a coffee. Then, once you’ve completed the task, you can reward yourself (more on that to come)! By setting small goals for yourself throughout the day, you’ll not only notice yourself being more productive but you’ll also feel great!
4. Start Your Workday with an Important Task.
When you sit down to work, what is the very first thing you do? I think the most common answer to that question is checking emails. While I can absolutely see the reasoning behind this, I also would advise against it. Why, you might ask? Depending on your work situation, checking emails is actually quite a passive task. If you start your day off by completing a passive task, you’re not really setting yourself up for optimal productivity for the rest of the day.
Of course, checking and replying to emails can be incredibly daunting for others. To those people, I would argue that you should then reply to the most important emails (preferably spend no more than 10 minutes on this) and then move on to working on one of the tasks that are highest on your priority list. If you spend about 45 minutes on said task, that should be plenty of time to then go back and get through the rest of your emails. This way, you’re setting yourself up to be productive first thing while still replying to emails within a decent time frame. If nothing else, I encourage you to try this method out and see if it works for you!
5. Take Regular Breaks.
Now, at first glance, this may seem completely contradictory to the purpose of this article. “Aren’t you supposed to be telling me how to be more productive, Daynna? Won’t taking breaks make me less productive?” Wow, how funny you should ask! Actually, there has been research showing that our brains can remain completely focused on one activity for approximately 45 minutes, after which focus tends to diminish. Short five minute breaks allow your brain to regain focus. By taking regular breaks throughout the day and keeping your mind refreshed, you will optimize your productivity levels and ultimately get even more work done!
6. Reward Yourself Throughout the Day and Throughout the Week.
This is another excellent way to motivate yourself to be productive. Can’t stop watching YouTube videos? Reward yourself for working hard by watching a YouTube video while taking that short break I was talking about before. Or find some other way to treat yourself, like buying a coffee on your lunch break because you made it halfway through the day (and you could use a caffeine kick to get you through the other half)!
Something else that I’ve been doing that you might find helpful is treating myself on Fridays by buying lunch and having a day off from the gym (if I’m good at packing lunch every day and I’ve gone to the gym every other day of the week). This is slightly more long term but also a larger reward than coffee or a YouTube video. It makes me want to work hard and be productive towards my goals so that on Friday I can have a much more chill day. It’s been working so far, so I’m going to continue using this tactic. Try it out with me, if you’d like!
7. Practice Self-Care.
I know, I know. I’ve talked about self-care a million times on my blog. Here’s the truth though: practicing regular self-care is the absolute most important thing you can do for your productivity, as well as just for your overall well-being. If you’re feeling burnt out, how are you going to be productive? The answer is you won’t be, and that’s just the hard reality, my friend.
I wrote a post on Sweet Success Society about surviving professional burnout, where I talked about this in a bit more detail. What can we do to avoid experiencing burnout? Why, practicing regular self-care of course! It really is the answer to all of our productivity problems. It provides a base for everything else that I’ve talked about here. First thing’s first, you need to take care of YOU. Whatever that may be for you (because it’s different for everyone), find it and then DO IT.
8. Leave Work at Work and Enjoy Your Time Off.
Depending on what you do, separating work and home can be an incredibly difficult thing to do. As bloggers, of course we know this to be true. Social media consumes us. Many of us run our blogs in addition to our daily full-time jobs or schooling. You might find it surprising though that even those who don’t run their own business can find it difficult to separate the two. This is especially true during stressful periods. You may find yourself sitting up at night, worrying about what’s to come.
Though easier said than done, the truth is that this is extremely unhealthy and will only lead to feeling more burnt out, so you need to stop that pattern. Use your time away from work for you. Don’t think about work, don’t do work during your off time (unless absolutely necessary). Use your time for yourself and I guarantee you’ll go back to work feeling refreshed and ready to be productive.
What are some of your tips for being more productive? Let me know in the comments. If you’re looking to boost your productivity to optimum levels, be sure to download my FREE DAILY ORGANIZER PRINTABLE so that you too can be a queen of productivity! Plus it’s super cute, in my humble opinion, so if you want to make your coworkers envy you then this is a must have!
Are you thinking about starting a blog or a website? Here is everything you need to know about the process (you can learn from my experience and mistakes so that you don’t make the same ones!): Start a Blog in 7 Easy Steps: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Blogging.
Thanks so much for reading! I look forward to reading your comments. 🙂