11 Tweaks to Your Daily Routine Will Make Your Day More Productive
Researchers at the University of Nottingham recently published findings from their exploration of 83 separate studies on energy and self-control. What they found will change the way you start your day.
The researchers found that self-control and energy are not only intricately linked but also finite, daily resources that tire much like a muscle. Even though we don’t always realize it, as the day goes on, we have increased difficulty exerting self-control and focusing on our work. As self-control wears out, we feel tired and find tasks to be more difficult and our mood sours.
“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been “No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” – Steve Jobs
Whether you naturally wake up feeling alert and productive or wake up with the brainpower of a zombie, these tips will help you transform your morning routine and set a positive tone that lasts the entire day.
What does a productive day look like?
When we think of a productive day, we usually focus only on number one from this list – creating value. Creating value simply means being organized in such a way as to execute as many important tasks as possible in a day.
While performing tasks and delivering value it’s also important that you grow and learn new things. You’re much more productive when you are in a positive emotional state than a negative one.
That means that if you want to have a highly productive day, you also need to enjoy the activities that you do, or at least the majority of them. You need to find some meaning in your work, and that work needs to be at least a little bit out of your comfort zone.
How to create a
productive & organized
working place, where people
love to perform
Scheduling Secrets to Stay on Track
As grand as our expectations may be, it’s entirely possible (and fairly probable!) you won’t complete everything you had lined up. Research suggests that our motivation influences our ability to reason; in essence, a strong desire to achieve lots of tasks leads us to believe that we can do more than what’s actually possible.
The secret to staying on track – and therefore having a productive day – is scheduling an achievable amount of tasks, not a crippling workload that leaves you feeling unaccomplished.
A technique like time-blocking can help you become better at predicting the time you’ll need per task, helping you to avoid over-scheduling your day and feeling disappointed when you don’t fulfil every item.
Another handy tip is to write out your daily schedule in terms of context (work, social, personal) and specify the time for each one. That way, you know exactly how long you have for family life and exercise. If you need extra help limiting the time you allocate each aspect of life, you can try time-boxing.
Even if you’re already adept at balancing the professional and personal, setting yourself reasonable to-do lists, you’ve still got to avoid distractions and resist procrastination. A well-built daily schedule can keep you on track by working as a rigid framework for your day. You’re less likely to find yourself lost and unsure of what to work on when you’re supported by a daily planner.
Don’t Obsess Over Unproductive Days
A study of 2,000 workers, led by management software Webexpenses, showed that people waste a large chunk of time on useless tasks. A little over 2 hours in the typical 8 hour work day is spent on unnecessary processes (24 minutes), paperwork (29) and meetings (29), with excessive conversation and outdated technology as factors, too.
While the former is indicative of organizational issues, and the latter reflects the danger of succumbing to distraction, they’re both proof that many aren’t at their full potential. In spite of this, maniacally fixating on your levels of productivity won’t do much good,
Instead, work on small, actionable steps you can take to improve your working practices. A little improvement here and there and you will soon see an increase in efficiency, and happiness with it.