Originally published on my coaching website
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, yet some people seem to accomplish more in that time than we could possibly imagine doing ourselves. It can be frustrating to think they are so much more successful than us.
In reality, these people have just learned how to manage their time. They don’t necessarily fit more into their day, but rather they work smarter. You can learn how to manage your day and feel more productive too.
These daily habits will help you stop you from procrastinating, getting distracted, and losing energy or motivation so you can get things done.
Most Important Tasks
It’s my personal favorite habit. Each night, I set the top 3 priorities for my next day. Above all else, I must complete these tasks. Often, I’ve finished them all by around 8AM, but that’s also because I’m an early bird. When people set their priorities, they are announcing to themselves a set list of things to get done. That motivation to check things off the list, and the feeling of productivity and success that comes with it, is enough to get it done.
Setting your top three most important tasks to complete helps you eliminate decision fatigue from your crazy long to-do list, cuts procrastination by declaring what you need to do first, and keeps you focused on the task at hand. If you’re still struggling with how to set or keep your MITs at top priority, you can read about the obstacles you might face and how to beat them.
While this goes right along with MITs, getting so focused and lost in your work is another habit people use to get more done. It’s common to eliminate all distractions, such as phones, internet, and people, so you can truly focus on what you’re doing. Even if your work is boring or dull, you can still get lost if you practice short bursts of pure focus.
Deep work is not the easiest habit to develop. The key here is practicing mindfulness when practicing deep work. Understand that distractions are just part of life, and when you notice that distraction it’s not the end of the world. Accept it, move past it, and refocus. Learn how to truly deep dive into a task.
The rule states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your work. The key is identifying the most important 20% of your work. Practicing MITs and deep work will help you narrow your focus.
How often are you getting caught up in meaningless meetings, endless emails, or pages of scrolling on social media? Using the 80/20 rule, successful and productive individuals identify the meetings that actually provide value, set times for checking email, and shut off their phones. Setting these boundaries, plus determining their meaningful work, helps individuals get more important work done during the day.
Break tasks apart
When you sit down to start a project, it’s common to feel completely overwhelmed. You don’t know where to start, you feel like you’re making no progress, and it’s just plain difficult.
Breaking tasks apart into manageable chunks is the solution. When you separate your project into actionable portions, you’re giving yourself smaller and doable tasks rather than trying to bite off more than you can chew. You’ll be able to see progress toward a goal with small victories versus a still largely unfinished whole. You’ll know your next task and won’t get bogged down by the size and overwhelming nature of the massive project. Plus, the project won’t seem as difficult when you see the little components as individual pieces of a whole.
Take breaks and recharge
Some people think that more productive individuals must be running constantly just to get things done. In reality, they work smarter, not harder, and take full advantage of their breaks. During those times where they step away from work, they truly disconnect and use the time to recharge. They build up their energy again, do something they love, and come back to their work with a fresh mind.
You can also take advantage of your breaks by adding creative endeavors to your day, practice a self-care routine, or work meditation or exercise into the day. Getting movement done in the morning helps get your body and mind prepared for the day while meditation at night can help you calm down and prepare you for a great night of sleep. All of these things are critical for a healthy body, which also helps build a healthy mind.
The number one thing individuals do to stay productive is improve themselves. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.
Successful and productive people stay learning. They find new ways to automate tasks that used to take them hours. They get better at performing part A of a project so they can focus on improving part B next. They learn their skills, develop them, and use that new talent to streamline their process, leaving more time for learning or development in other stages… or even more time to take a break and recharge.
Continually bring in information, learn new skills, and apply them to your work. You’ll find that you can use your energy on more important tasks.
These life changing daily habits are ones I practice daily. I’m committed to learning something new, making my life easier, and being more productive throughout my day. It’s also great to reach the end of my day and still have energy reserves to continue my creative projects.
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