We all want to have a more meaningful day. Don’t we? But, this will require little changes and tweaks to your daily routine.
In this post, I share with you 11 things to consider, and which will help you have time to do more of what you love. You will be able to do less for more in your life.
Start your day with a morning ritual.
Starting your day will determine how your day will go and the way it will end. Most productive people have different ways they use to begin their day. But, they employ what’s known to be a morning ritual. This consists of the following:
- Meditation: Prayer, Bible reading and Journaling.
- Reading something that will motivate you.
- Listen to a podcast that will inspire you and set you for success during your day.
- Not all, but some also go to the gym or exercise from their home.
Plan your day.
The assumption is that prior to this day, in the evening, you would have looked at possible tasks to be accomplished this day.
In the morning, after or as a part of your morning ritual, you can also block out time you will need to accomplish your tasks for the day.
As you look at your tasks, make sure your prioritize them based on the level of importance in your life.
That’s why you have to do it in terms of relationships. In the process of prioritizing, keep in mind questions such as:
- How will I influence others?
- How will I learn from others?
Also, make sure that every task, according to its priority, has a day and time when you want it accomplished. For that purpose, you will need to add every single one of the tasks you have to your calendar.
Peter Bregman, author of Four Seconds: All the Time You Need to Replace Counter-Productive Habits with Ones that Really Work, refers to this to-do-list as blueprint. In his blog, he writes: “The reason we’re always left with unfinished items on our to-do lists is because those lists are the wrong tool to drive our accomplishments.” He also adds that calendars help you prioritize.
The other thing is that as you don’t have to look at your day in hours, but just in a few minutes. The reason is because you will review your day and the rest of your calendar the following day.
You need a distraction-free environment for planning.
Turn off your emails.
Turn off all other notifications on your devices.
Find a place and time to do it. Most productive people do it early in the morning. The reason is that, if you are a parent, your kids may probably be in bed. Also, your phone cannot ring at that time because other people are either asleep or getting ready for their day too.
Practice self care.
The reality of life is that only a healthy person is able to help others.
Your health does not have to do with your physical body. It also deals with your mind, spirit and soul.
Most productive people have a health coach who helps them or have a subscription to a gym. But, perhaps you cannot afford all of that. Guess what? You can do this at a lower cost.
Or you can do it totally cost-free. I have personally used over time quite a few apps that help me exercise from my home. Sworkit is what I’m currently using. This is a paid application you can download on your devices. Another one I’ve used in the past is Runtastic.
Get enough sleep. 7 to 9 hours are recommended for young adults (18-24 years of age), adults (26-64 years of age), and 7 to 8 hours for older adults (65+). Personally, I aim at getting a maximum number of hours of sleep. If I don’t, then I will find a way to get a nap during the day.
According to a Stanford research on the correlation between multitasking and performance. Mulitasking, based on the research, means putting your brain in trouble.
The results of the research pointed out that multitasking doesn’t help filter out irrelevant information or organize the person’s memory. The research also found out that people who multitask are likely to underperform those who don’t. The reason is that you may keep thinking about the task you’re not doing.
Get done with one task before moving to the next. Trying to do it all will make prone to accomplishing nothing at the end of the day. You will end up with unfinished tasks. Your To-do-list will have unchecked tasks. And that will kill your sense of accomplishment, which will eventually affect your productivity.
Resist the tyranny of the urgent.
Your day to be meaningful will be determined by accomplishing what matters most.
But, in the process, there will always be some little things that may call your attention. Productive people are able to differentiate what’s most important now to what can wait and be done at a later time.
Get ready for tomorrow before leaving your workplace.
Some people, instead of getting ready for tomorrow at the workplace, do it in the evening before bed. This applies to self employed or freelancers.
That is what I personally do. I get ready for tomorrow in the evening before bed. Other times, I do it during the day. What’s key here though is that you’ve got to be ready for tomorrow today.
Learn to say NO.
This has to do with priorities. For you to know when and how to say no, you’ve got to be clear about your priorities. As a person, I empower people to say no even to some of my requests. I don’t judge people in life who say no to what I ask them to do. I trust they do it based on their priorities.
My priorities are based on the four following elements: self, family, work, church, community. If something that does not come in that order, I will either not do it or put it on my to-do-list for a latter time.
Say no to things that will not help you grow spiritually, and which will not increase your influence, as a person.
Check emails at a chosen time.
Here’s one thing lots of people struggle with: “when should I read and respond to emails?”
My daily practice is that I check my emails in the morning before going to the office or leaving home. Here’s a tool I have used for quite some time now regarding my emails: Sanebox.
But, there are a lot other email apps you could explore such as: Dispatch, Spark, and more. These email tools can help you eliminate emails you don’t have to see everyday. The other two times I check my emails are during lunch and later in the evening.
Consider these four actions when checking your emails.
- According to the level of priority, reply immediately to emails if the action will take less than a minute to do it.
- Emails that will require more than a minute to respond, add them to Action items.
- Relay emails to appropriate people.
- Archive or Delete.
Aim at spending not more than 15 minutes when you check your emails.
Be on Social Media at a designated time.
According to Pew Research the number of people using social media has been increasing. For example, in 2005, there were only 2% of adults (65+ years of age or older) were on social media. But, in 2015, their number went to 35% and continues to grow.
Here’s the problem with social media. The New York Times reported that on the average a person spends about 50 minutes on Facebook. And the number of people spending on social media keeps going up.
Here’s what you’ve got to do. Turn off all notifications on your devices. Then, set some time to check your Facebook, Twitter, Intagram, Pinterest, and so forth.
On my devices, and as an example, I have Facebook messenger notification on. The reason is because I use it to communicate with my family, church leaders and other very important people in my life.
Make Technology work for you.
Technology is a good thing, but it should never replace the human heart and brain. It does not have to be your master. What I mean is technology should always work for you because you are its master.
That’s why you should decide when to use it and when not to.
Bringing all together.
Productivity is a skill we all have to continue learning. The primary benefit of being productivity is that you and I find time to care for people who matter the most in our lives. In the end, you will grow spiritually and increase in your influence, as a person.
Click below to listen to my Podcast, which was based on this blog post.