Everybody wants to be productive. Whether at work or in the home, people generally want to get things done efficiently. Most of us have to work hard at it, constantly refocusing ourselves, regularly setting productivity goals. And then there are those mysterious people to whom it comes naturally. Maybe you’re somewhere in the middle, but regardless of where you are on the productivity spectrum, there is always room for improvement. Here are 5 small things you can do to be more productive.
1. Prepare for the week ahead.
If your work week starts on Monday, Sunday should be your preparation day. Tidy the house, finish the laundry, make sure you have food in the fridge, pick out your clothes for the next day, and write out your plans for the week. This way, you can wake up Monday morning with a fresh start, as opposed to waking up frazzled in a messy house with no food. It’s extremely important to start off your week in the right way, because if you fall behind on Monday, the cycle will continue to spiral out of control.
2. Wake up early.
This is the common denominator among productive people. Having a good morning routine is just as important as your Sunday preparation time. Getting up before the rest of the household allows for a peaceful and productive morning. Use the time to eat a healthy breakfast, exercise, and get ready. Some people find that journaling in the morning helps warm up the brain. Waking up early will require an earlier bed time, but remember that it’s worth it. There’s nothing worse than accidentally sleeping in and having to rush out the door without brushing your teeth.
3. Write To Do Lists.
This might be a no brainer, but it’s one of the most important components to being productive. When you’re getting ready for the week on Sunday, set aside five minutes to look at the calendar and write out tasks to be accomplished each day of the week. For example, go grocery shopping on Monday, pay the bills on Tuesday, meet with a friend on Wednesday, and so on. You can also apply this to your work if you have deadlines to meet and projects to begin. Designate days for specific tasks.
4. Give yourself three goals to accomplish each day.
Each morning, set a few simple goals for the day. It’s extremely important that you don’t write down 30 things that you hope to do that day. It won’t happen, and you’ll be left feeling disappointed. If you give yourself three simple tasks that must be finished by the end of the day, you will probably get done much more than that. The point is to prioritize, to not stretch yourself too thin, and to focus on one thing at a time. It takes the pressure off, and when you see that you’ve finished your non-negotiable duties for the day and more, you can enjoy the satisfying feeling of accomplishment.
5. Give yourself breaks and rewards.
The final step to increase productivity is probably the most enjoyable. You need breaks and rewards to keep you motivated and on task. Separate your work time into 15-20 minute intervals with a five minute break in between. Use this time to rest your brain, look out the window, or take a trip to the bathroom. If you go nonstop without these necessary breaks, it will be harder to produce quality work. Reward yourself when you’ve accomplished your goals. Take your lunch break when you’ve completed one of your bigger tasks for the day. If you finish a large project, celebrate by going out to dinner or to a movie.