Today’s post is going to shed some light on some of the vital habits you should incorporate into your routine to maximize productivity, and ultimately develop a more successful and healthy lifestyle. These tips have been practiced and accumulated over the course of my career, and have proven time-and-time-again to be fool-proof ways of improving your time and energy-management.
I've linked the latest Youtube video for this post, and below that is the extensive written piece, featuring all the What's, Why's and How's of maximizing your creative efficiency.
PLANNING THE NIGHT BEFORE
As simple as this technique sounds, there really is no better way to maximize your productivity than by cutting out the time spent goal-planning on the day of. I found that after months of setting my goals and intentions the night before, I took back hours of lost time - than if I had instead chosen to plan my tasks the morning after.
With only 15 minutes per night of choosing what you want to focus and work on the next day, you can drastically improve your morning-time productivity. Rather than wasting precious time rushing in the morning to figure out what you need to do for the day, you can set your goals, break them down into ideas, and even listed some tasks – all while winding down for the night. There’s no pressure to focus on anything, you’ve already succeeded in all your tasks of the day, there’s nothing to do at this point in the evening – so why not take a few moments to think of what you’d like to do tomorrow?
When I realized, first hand, for myself how much better it was planning at night, I finally understood why my mom always told me to pick my clothes and snacks the night before… It would have saved me SO much time in the morning. Time I could have been getting ready, or better… sleeping.
And, on top of the benefits of gaining back lost time, by making this routine a habit, you can develop “early-morning motivation” (which is something you probably don’t currently have), because you actually have something to look forward to… every morning.
LIST/PLAN YOUR GOALS AND IDEAS
So, not to state the obvious; but one of the most fundamental habits you need to develop, in order to maximize your productivity, is to make it an ongoing practice to plan your goals and ideas every single day.
Cause, honestly, there is no bigger disadvantage to your efficiency than not knowing what you want or need to do. And not to mention, there is no bigger burden to your productivity than floating around, doing meaningless tasks, while you’re waiting to figure out what you should really be doing.
So develop the mindset that only your most important goals should be executed. Save yourself the headache, and just remove those needless tasks from your to-do list. Priorities, first. And priorities, only.
When you have bigger goals in mind, list them or write them in your planner, and break them down into smaller ideas or tasks. Get on them right away. Use a time-oriented to-do list, or a scheduled goal planner if you need them, and this will help boost your productivity, as well as improve your time and energy-management skills.
This is a habit I rarely want to miss. As often as possible, I make time in my routine to get in a good workout. Now, I’m not here to list the benefits of working out, in general – although there are many – I’m here to explain the benefits working out on your productivity.
At first I was pretty skeptical about how exercising could have any impact on my state of productivity, but after a few months where I was going through overwhelming stress, I found out that getting in a good sweat worked wonders for me in the workplace.
So, let me ask you a few questions, here. How often do you find yourself super jittery at your desk, and unable to focus or complete the tasks at hand? With me, it happened nearly every day since elementary school. It wasn’t until I started working for myself, that I found the importance of releasing excess energy before attending the workplace. And I didn’t incorporate dedicated workout-time into my routine, until I was absolutely convinced that it positively impacted my ability to work productively.
Why should you make it a habit to work out (before or after work)? Obviously, exercise is crucial for good health and a happy body. But more than that, it boosts your immune system, improves your memory, raises your attention/focus span, and most of all, it even develops your creative flow in ways you can’t even imagine unless you’ve tried.
Allow yourself to practice good health, lower your stress and boost your mood with simple practices. When all of these fall into place, your productivity will skyrocket, because nothing physically or mentally will be holding you back. When you align your health and mentality, your productivity will follow, and what better way to do so than by making it a habit and lifestyle-routine to exercise.
Boy, could I go on about this one for days… Do you suffer from the very common disease of “Procrastination?” Did you know that anywhere between 20-35% of the WORLD POPULATION is deemed a chronic procrastinator! And, what’s worse, up to 86% OF OUR HIGH-SCHOOL STUDENTS procrastinate on School assignments and a “WHOPPING 92% OF COLLEGE STUDENTS said they procrastinate on their assignments” too!
The reason I’m emphasizing that we need to remove distractions from our desk or workplace is that these (once presumed) “tools” are now becoming the number one source of distraction and interference in the office, and they’re no longer helpful - but a stubborn cause for ongoing procrastination.
Whether it’s your phone, or your emails, stocks or social media; if you’re surrounded by noisy people or a noisy environment… Close your browser tabs, put soothing music on and headphones to block out the excessive sound. Put your phone down, and remember that they will still be there when you’re done. But timelines, and meeting your deadlines, will not. And while removing distractions will definitely promote better productivity, it will also teach you discipline. And discipline comes first, productivity soon after.
DO THE HARDEST TASK FIRST.
Some call it “eating the frog,” I like to say “smart time/energy-management.” Now, if a task that you have to complete will require a lot of time, energy, focus or effort – do it first. And, whatever you label as the “worst” task, which may also be your most important task, and the task you’re most likely to procrastinate on… Complete this task while you still have booming energy, lots of time, and that some of that “early-day enthusiasm” left. Cause if you don’t, and you save it for last, you are about 40% less likely to actually do it. So, just get the hardest task done first, and as Mark Twain said: “nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.”
MEDITATE AND/OR VISUALIZE
Whether you’re like to salute the sun, meditate by the moon, or you just need 15 minutes to bring yourself back to the moment. I highly recommend that anyone incorporate the practice of meditation into their lifestyle or daily routine.
And, no. I’m not hopping on the bandwagon, but the benefits really are endless. Not only will meditating impact your productivity in ways you can only imagine (right now), it will help you develop the energy and mindset to acquire and complete anything.
I started meditating because of overwhelming stress, intrusive thoughts, and chronic hyperactivity. And, even though, at first it was a personal venture, I soon realized that meditating was improving every walk of my life, especially my quality of work. I was able to access deeper parts of my mind, improve my creative flow, and let go of unwanted stressors in my high-paced work environment.
Now, I’m not saying you have to stop during your work shift and hit some next level yogi pose, but I am suggesting that you take a few moments, here and there, and focus on your breath. Tune yourself back into the present, release any overwhelming energy you may be carrying, connect with yourself and just relax before you get started again. I’m not telling you to strike a pose and “om” for an hour, but stop to take a minute and recuperate. The benefits will not only target your productivity but enhance literally everything you do.
Meditating should, not only, be a habit – it is a practice and a lifestyle. And while I am advising it, right now, for productivity purposes, I hope you practice it for more than just that.
CREATE A SELF-CARE/NIGHT-TIME ROUTINE.
We’ve discussed all the best productivity hacks and why you should make a habit of each practice I’ve stated above – now, I want to touch on the topic of night-time routines. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, it’s crucial to plan our goals and ideas the night before.
Making a habit of planning ahead, during our winding down hours, is perfect for determining our TOP priorities and not getting side-tracked by the smaller tasks. But, if I can go one step beyond and offer you an alternative that will, not only, improve your productivity for the day ahead – but also benefit you in all other areas of your life; it is to create a self-care routine for yourself that you’ll practice at night.
If you wanna know why I think it’s so important to have a night-time self-care ritual, my answer is quite simple. In order to be productive, you need to be alert and ready. And how on Earth do you expect to be focused and motivated if you’re not getting the rest (and renewal) that your mind and body need, the night before?
So, you don’t have to go out and buy all the best self-care products, but what you need to do is develop a routine you can practice before bed, that will help you wind down and relax into that sleep-ready state.
What I like to do is a quick skin care ritual, like dry-brush, moisturize, hydrate and massage. And after that, I absolutely love doing a short, but deep body stretch.
While I get ready for bed, I’ll meditate once again – but this time focus on my relaxing my mind and stretching (as well as meditating on renewing) my body parts. After that, I’ll read a few pages from my latest book, burn a light candle, and listen to some soothing music.
I know that this might sound too sassy for some of you, and that’s absolutely fine. You are free to develop your own night-time routine. But, just remember that the ultimate goal is just to get you to relax to the point where you will get a deep sleep. Doing anything too high-paced will force your body into an energetic state, and that’s the total opposite of what you want when you’re getting ready to go to bed.
So, my last suggestion for developing a habit that will enhance your day-time productivity – is to invent a calm and relaxing night-time routine, where you practice self-care and personal renewal.
Well… That’s about it for this post. In the last few paragraphs, you’ve learned the importance of creating habits in your life that will promote your overall wellbeing, but more generally, your productivity. I hope that by listing a few of my personal practices, you will develop your routines and rituals according to a balanced state of living. This post was intended to share some helpful techniques for boosting day-time productivity, so you create a lifestyle that supports your health and success.
Thank you so much for reading this post! If you liked the tips I gave you, be sure to give it a thumbs up! I love to get your comments, so let me know what practices have worked for you.