Having an extra day off feels like such a bonus, especially if it means spending time doing what you love. This got me thinking about what I needed to get done on Tuesday after Labor Day to have a productive week. Now that we have two boys (a 4 year old and a 1 month old infant), I need to find ways to be more productive with less time. Here are some methods I use to be more productive.
- Use your weekends to decompress and be active
Your work schedule is generally filled with deadlines and meetings so it is important to set aside time during your weekend or time off to decompress. More importantly, leave work behind and don’t answer emails. Americans work at a breakneck pace in 2018 but people still understand if you don’t get back to them right away on a Sunday.
Take a deep breath, go outside, and relax. It’s important for your mental health and for you to recharge your batteries for what lies ahead.
Make sure you’re also staying physically active to keep your mind and body ready.
2. Get your blood pumping first thing in the morning
Any book or self help guru will tell you that successful people get up early and work out. I’m not a morning person, but I will admit that it does make a difference. Have you ever worked out and thought, “that was a bad use of time.”
Get your blood flowing in the morning whenever you can. It will improve your mood by getting those feel good chemicals working in your brain. It also improves your mental clarity and increases your energy levels so you are ready to own the day.
3. Do not check your email first thing in the morning
Before you leave for the weekend or vacation, clean up your workspace and have everything in place when you get back to start a productive week. Instead of checking email first thing in the morning, set aside time to outline and plan out revenue generating activities that you need to accomplish. Start responding to emails and phone messages after you have your plan laid out.
4. Set up time blocks in your outlook calendar specific to your planned activities
This concept is more important than ever, in our hyperconnected modern world. We can be reached by phone, email, text, Skype, etc. 24/7. Which means we are constantly being distracted.
Set up dedicated time blocks throughout the day, including time to check email / phone messages a couple times per day, for specific tasks you want to accomplish. It’s amazing how much more effective and efficient you will be.
5. Stick to the plan and don’t get distracted, “squirrel!”
It is important to stick to the task at hand during each dedicated time block. Several studies have shown it takes someone on average 20-25 minutes to get back on task after being interrupted.
Think about how many times a day you distract yourself from checking your phone for text messages or social media updates? Multiply that by 20-25 minutes. How much time are you losing by doing this?
Think about how many times someone comes by your office to chit-chat? How many times do unexpected tasks get added to your day?
It adds up pretty quickly. I’m not saying ignore or refuse your boss’s demands for something to be done right away (not related to your priorities or responsibilities) but be aware of how disruptive distractions can be. Set expectations for people so that they understand you won’t be getting back to them right away but that you will block off time to respond at a later time.
People will generally respect that. If they don’t, do you want to associate with them anyway?
6. Forgive yourself and remember to stay in the moment
Listen, we’re all guilty of everything I’m saying not to do. I’m a big offender but I try to be more conscious of it and look to improve every day. Don’t ruin your whole day because it’s not going as planned. React and adjust. If it doesn’t work out, tomorrow’s a new day.
7. Plan something to look forward to
This is a new idea for me. Happy and successful people plan vacations and events that they look forward to. Having something to look forward to, can motivate anyone to get as much done before a vacation or event.
Learning this information, it made me reflect on my past vacations. What was I able to get done at work before time off?
The details are hazy because I’m a tired dad but I am certain that I had a smile on my face the week before all my vacations. Having a positive attitude at work automatically makes me more productive and I’m sure you are too.
Experiment with how will weight your time blocks but you’ll eventually get into a consistent groove, which is how you reach your goals.
What are you guys doing to increase your productivity? Leave comments below. Don’t forget to sign up to be on my email list. Will be providing bi-monthly newsletters on: Financial Trends, Business Tips, Reviews on books/tools/apps.