Have a productive day – Pay Yourself First With Your Time

Pay Yourself First With Your Time


“Time is the coin of your life.
It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.
Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. ”
– Carl Sandburg

Each week I put aside money for my savings, investments and other expenses before spending any of it.

If there is not enough to pay the bills, I cut down on excess spending on extraneous things.

But I always pay myself first.

That’s just money though – they print more of it every day.

What about your most important currency – what about your time?

As I’ve been researching the Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People, one that I discovered if they are in total control of their time. And it starts in the morning.

Consider this: if you want to have a productive day – when do you think you should work on your most important tasks?

Paying Myself … Last

Though I pay myself first with regards to my investments for the future, one of the areas where I used to constantly pay myself last is my time; my life.

I would wake up and begin spending my life working for someone else – whether it was a client, a project, or sometimes even just favors for friends.

Only after finishing tasks that I needed to do for other people would I finally set aside time for myself, and to to work on my goals.

I figured it was ok, since I had scheduled in time for my goals…but what about those  days where the work piled up, and I either spent more time on it or was just too drained?

You guessed it – sometimes, I wouldn’t make it to my goals at all.

This was no way to spend my hours – working on my personal goals last.  

And you know – if you never work on something guess what?

So just like Steve Jobs and Warren Buffer, I copied their productivity secret – and I started applying the same “pay myself first” philosophy to my life.

Time To Start Paying Myself First

I decided to make a switch.

First, I made sure to use my time budget and fit all my personal goals in.

Then, I started prioritizing them even more – by moving them earlier in the day.

Instead of working on personal goals in the afternoon and evening, I decided to start the day working on what mattered most to me.

Every morning, I wake up and get ready. Then, once I am fully awake, when I am at my most productive, I start the day with


5 Simple Ways to Have a Productive Day – Life Optimizer

“Make your day a masterpiece.” That’s the advice that John Wooden got from his father, Joshua Wooden. He took this advice to heart: he went on to become one of the greatest coaches ever.

Of course, it’s not easy to make our day a masterpiece. But at least we can make our day productive.

How can we do that?

Based on my experiences, here are five ways to have a productive day:

1. Have a good morning routine.

The way you start your day can make or break it. If you start well, chances are your day will become good. But if you don’t, then your day might not be as good as it could be. That’s why you need to have a good morning routine. A good morning routine prepares you for the rest of the day.

Your morning routine should have these elements:

  • Reflection time.
    This is the time you spend to gain clarity over your life. Here you de-clutter your mind and think about where your life is going. The clarity you gain will help you make decisions throughout the day.
    This time could take many forms. In my case, it’s prayer.
  • Exercise.
    Exercise can give you an energy boost. As a result, you will be able to think more clearly and accomplish more during the day. You will also be able to maintain your enthusiasm.
  • Planning.
    Your capacity is limited; you can only do a few things well in a day. That’s why it’s important that you plan and prioritize your tasks. This is where clarity plays a role: it helps you prioritize the right way because you know what is important and what is not. Instead of just following the crowd, you know what is best for you.

2. Focus.

After finishing your morning routine, you are then ready for your tasks and activities.

One key to getting things done is to focus on the task at hand. Don’t get distracted because it will make you take more time and energy to finish the task.

I often use a timer to help me focus. Whenever the timer runs, I have to work on the task. If I’m going to switch to something else, I will have to stop the timer. This makes me less likely to get distracted because I have to consciously stop the timer to switch to something else.

3. Take breaks.

You can’t be at your peak at all times during the day. There are times when your energy levels are low. So renew your energy by taking breaks. Winston Churchill, for instance, had the habit of taking naps.

4. Celebrate wins.

To have a productive day, you need to keep your motivation high. One good way to do that is to celebrate your wins. This could be as simple as crossing items off your to-do list, or you could keep a journal where you record your achievements. In any case, seeing how far you’ve gone will motivate you to go even further.

5. Increase the quality of low-intensity time.

Some activities don’t require your full concentration. For such activities, you can increase the quality of the time by using it to feed your mind. Exercise time, for instance, is a good time to listen to podcasts or audio books.


These, of course, are just some ideas. I believe there are still many other ways to have a productive day.

What about you? How do you make your day productive?

Please share your thoughts in the comments. Thanks!

Photo by Bigstock


Top 10 Ways to Have a Productive Day

How happy do you feel with life at the end of a long hard day? Do you feel complete and fulfilled, satisfied with what you have achieved? Or do you feel empty and disappointed, angry at yourself for not being distracted easily? Perhaps your life is composed of good days and bad, times when you have felt both those things. Perhaps it is not days you think of in particular, but life in general that you feel is short-changing you. But little things matter. It is the days that lead to years and how you choose to spend them will have a telling effect on how your life turns out.

You know that implementing certain habits and ways will make your day far more productive than what you usually manage on a regular basis. You also know that you will be better off by doing so. Then what is the barrier that comes in between you and your goals? The answer is simple. It is the human mind. The mind is very good at making excuses and convincing the person why they should not do something. It is why most diets don’t work or why New Year resolutions do not be fulfilled. The mind is a master manipulator and procrastinator. It is extremely reluctant to step out of its comfort zone, the resultant victim being You. If you try out these top ten tips for having a productive day, you have to shut put your mind. For a while at least. Concentrate on cold hard logic and reasoning. By doing so for a considerable length of time, you will have cultivated such good habits that having productive days every day will become a norm. Even your mind won’t be dissuading you any more, since it will have adapted to your new ways. So what are you waiting for? Shut out the traitorous mind and follow your heart. A new and improved quality of life awaits.

10. Be Disciplined

There was a time when detested everything about the word Discipline. I was a student and not the master of my own choices. One had to be disciplined to study, bathe, eat, sleep and pee. I remember feeling so liberated when I moved to college and decided discipline will have nothing more to do in my life. The first few months passed by in a haze of independence. Then slowly the changes started registering. The slowed tired body, always sleepy, lack of appetite, insomnia at night, terrible grades, procrastination and lack of overall enthusiasm. The decision to be self-disciplined was very hard to take. It went beyond every grain of belief I held that creativity cannot be bound by the rigours of discipline and that life is best lived spontaneous. Now, a couple of years later, I am a sworn fan of the disciplined way of life. The way it allows one to manage tasks, cultivate good habits and improve health and wellness, it actually allows for way more spontaneity and creativity than an ill disciplined life ever could. Try it. You won’t be disappointed.

9. Wake Up Early

When in a recent comment Jennifer Lawrence said that she goes to sleep by eleven pm every night, I was surprised at the number of eyebrows raised at the statement. In modern times it has become something of an embarrassment to admit to going to sleep early. But don’t compromise with your body and your productivity in an effort to be cool. Studies show that people who wake up early lead far more full and productive lives than ones who are night owls. The human body is naturally acclimatized with the cycle of the sun. When you stay awake till late in the night, it is a strain your body can ill afford. If you manage to wake up early, you will perfectly synced with the world around you. It is a wonderful way to start the day and an amazing way to be productive throughout.

8. Exercise

A sharp and witty mind is of little consolation if the body is ill and sluggish. You will be at the top of your productive game when a fit and healthy body accompanies that sharp clear mind of yours. Most of us lead sedentary lifestyles being cooped up in air conditioned offices or classrooms and libraries. An enormous number of gadgets at our disposal also ensure minimum human effort where daily duties are concerned. All you need to do is exercise twenty minutes a day to increase blood flow and keep the body in good shape. The more time you add to this activity, the better you will look and feel. Your skin will look great, you will have increased stamina, your chances of various diseases will decrease considerably and your lifespan will increase tenfold. If going to the gym bores you to death, try walking, jogging, hiking, jumping rope, yoga. Aerobics, salsa dancing, swimming, kick boxing or playing a favorite sport. If you feel you have time for none of these, then even doing strenuous household chores will take care of your daily exercise needs.

7. Breakfast

This has been said before. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. How you choose to start your day will determine how productive you are. Waking up early with plenty of time in hand to go about your morning ablutions versus kicking the alarm clock aside and snatching a few extra zzzzz…. Though the latter sounds more attractive, it will rob you of the time to sit and enjoy a power packed meal that will fuel your body throughout the day. Breakfast should be a nutritious meal full of proteins, vitamins and some carbs. Having energy in the first half of the day is so important because it determines the pace of your work. If you are feeling tired, hungry and crabby, as missing breakfast will make you feel, you will not make any worthwhile headway in your work. As the day passes, your stress will only mount, ensuring you finish it on an awful note. If you miss breakfast chronically, then it will have serious health implications in the long run. Sit down to a meal of oats, fruits, brown bread and beans or eggs in the morning and feel good throughout the day.

6. Prioritize

This simple tip, if followed religiously, will remove stress magically from your life. It will also ensure that your work is top quality. Target to do the most important things first and the easier tasks later. The serial procrastinator that I was, this seemed horrific at first. My scheme of operation was exactly the opposite. But finishing off my favourite things first gave me nothing to look forward to at the end except mountains of unlikeable work. It was especially hard to accomplish anything worthwhile with such a negative outlook. In the morning, when your mind is fresh and the day long and wide, finish off difficult and important tasks. They take longer. This way you will be able to devote more time and research to them. Keep the fun easy stuff for later. You will have a blast doing it, knowing that no backlog will haunt your dreams.

5. Organize

Organization is a crucial element of productivity. Keep your things clutter free and in specific places meant only for them. This goes for your stationery, clothes, shoes and other important things. Not only will this maximise space and comfort, you won’t have to spend valuable time looking for things you might have misplaced. Chart out your schedule clearly. Meetings, memos, tasks and duties should all have a clearly designated time. By leading a well-organized life not only will you be able to exploit your productivity to its complete potential, it will also reduce friction and tension in your tasks and interactions.

4. Routine

This tip goes hand in hand with the organization and prioritization tips. By routine, I don’t mean chalk out every second of every day of your life. But do have a clear drawn out itinerary of your day and what you will roughly be doing at what points of time. Keep enough time for recreation and leisure activities, but schedule the important tasks at the beginning of the day. The principle difference between prioritizing and routine is that the former can be changed on a daily basis. However the routine should be similar for all regular days. Your body will accustom itself to meal times, sleep habits, relaxation and busy periods of work. Your routine should be functional, but not necessarily rigid. Make what changes you want to within the bounds of a flexible framework. As you completely master a certain routine for your life, you will find yourself accomplishing tasks much faster than before and doing them far more efficiently. The combo of discipline, routine, priority and organization will make a magical productive being out of you, you’ll see.

3. Recreation

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Your day should be a balance of work and play. Periods of recreation will boost positive moods, give a much needed break from work and spurt enthusiasm. By recreation I don’t mean face booking. Social media is a magnetic world and will draw you in, make you lose sense of time. Try to spend at less time online on interactions as possible. Catch up on reading, follow a hobby, listen to music, play with your children and pets or simply sit alone and reflect in solitude. Engaging in pleasurable and positive activities will enhance your creativity, thereby increasing your productivity by default.

2. Love What You Do

Renowned filmmaker Shekhar Kapoor said that he dropped the word career from his vocabulary at the age of twenty four. Today he is a much happier man because of it. His accomplishments speak for themselves. Take a page from his book. Do what you love and love what you do. When you wake up in the morning, the thought of the day ahead should excite you. You should feel stimulated at the tasks that lie ahead. Your brain should welcome the challenge and your heart should revel at the thought of doing things it loves. If you have to drag yourself out of bed with a groan and talk yourself into facing a gruelling day, then know that you are doing something wrong. Life is too short to be miserable. Either change your attitude or change your life. Mary Poppins said that for everything that has to be done, there’s a fun way of doing it. Though in the movie it applied only to little children, I don’t think why adults should be exempt from it. When you are following your dreams and passion in life, then it becomes infinitely more easy to be productive than if you were forcing yourself to do something you don’t really like.

1. Eyes on the Goal

Ultimately, days are not isolated components of your life. The intention behind mastering the art of having productive days is to have a happy and successful life. Thus, the best way to keep having such days is to keep your eyes on the goal. You are reading this article because you want advice on how to live your life a certain way. Something propelled that decision. Whenever you are on the point of wavering, remind yourself of that reason. For me it was when I had a nasty epiphany. I realized that if I kept living my life exactly as I do now, then in three years’ time, nothing would change. Though I had a bevy of goals and lists planned, none of them would ever see the light of the day if I changed nothing and continued to live my days exactly as I do them now. Pretty scary thought huh? Don’t let the idea of a mediocre future intimidate you. Tackle the problem at the grassroots. Take each day as it comes, focus on doing the small little tasks well. The big things will automatically take care of themselves. When you tire of the monotony or want to break the rules for a spot of fun, think of the goal you have in mind and how your actions will affect the consequences. No harm in enjoying yourself every once in a while. But when the exception becomes the routine, that’s when you have to be cautious.


4 Ways to Have a Super Productive Day

Image Credit | Bringing Back Manliness

Have you ever felt like you are discontent with your job performance? Most of us have. And what do we do about it? The most obvious thing to do here is to push yourself harder. And harder. And then a little harder. Does that do any good, though?

It may seem so in the beginning, but the further we push ourselves, the more accustomed we get to all the stress, and the closer we are to the point of burning out. That’s clearly not what you should aim for.

So, what to do? Well, as suggested by efficiency gurus like the late Steve Jobs, what matters most is not how much time and effort you put into your job, but rather how much rational thought you put into it; quality over quantity.

Here are 4 ways to have a super productive day:

1. Prepare beforehand

Before starting your working day, it is best if you do all the preparations beforehand. This will spare you the time and effort of making decisions. Once you wake up, you need to be all set and ready to go, and not waste your precious time on what to wear or what to have for breakfast.

As you understand, clothes and food are just a few examples of decisions that you can make beforehand to save you some time. Be advised to plan as much as you can up to a week’s time ahead. Planning may seem to some as a waste of time, but rest assured that it will only take you 30 minutes to an hour tops to plan the entire week.

As a bonus, having your plans written down and following them will contribute to your feeling of control and confidence, and who doesn’t like that?

“A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success.” – Joyce Brothers

2. Stick to your to do list

The easiest way to practically apply your planning is to create a to-do list, we know. However, we get carried away and split it into several others, thus multiplying entities beyond necessity. Some may have several to do lists with activities categorized topically. Others create different to do lists for different days of the week, confusing the concept of a to-do list with a timetable.

What you should do is cut it all off with that Ockham’s razor, and leave only one master list of activities that need to be done. This will help you stay focused and avoid confusion. If something needs to be done, you put it on the list, no need to complicate it.

That said, the list should be flexible. You must have the opportunity to update it, should a new task arise or some new circumstances occur.

3. Prioritize

Given what’s said above, it is not recommended to just pile up all the things that need to be done in a random shapeless list. It is useful to sort your tasks by priority. The ABCDE principle can be applied. Here is how it works:

  • A is for the top level tasks which you need to accomplish to avoid some dire consequences.
  • B is for other important tasks which need to be done to avoid some of the less drastic consequences.
  • C is for the tasks which it would be nice to have done, but they can be put off a bit without loss.
  • D is for the tasks that can be delegated to others.
  • E is the final group of tasks that are eliminated. These are the things that you don’t do at all.

Once you’ve grouped all your tasks according to this principle, you look up your list at the beginning of your working day and start with the A tasks. You don’t proceed to any of the B tasks until you are done with all of the A tasks, and you don’t get started with a C task before all the B tasks are ready. If you follow these guidelines, you will see how your performance rate boosts.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey

4. Eat well

Since we were kids, our parents kept nagging us about the importance of a balanced breakfast. If your parents were good at it, you probably never noticed the positive effect that it has on your performance, and took it for granted.

In our adulthood, we often overlook it and prefer to sleep a few extra minutes, instead of having a decent breakfast. While sleep is important, your food is literally the fuel on which your body runs. A healthy breakfast does not need to be fancy. It can be as simple as a ham sandwich with tomatoes.

Just don’t expect your organism to run well on just a cup of coffee or even two cups. By having a good breakfast, you help your body and mind to jump straight into work at the very beginning of the day.

How do you help make your day productive? Please leave your thoughts below!


5 Techniques to Have a Productive Day Everyday

No matter who you are, what you do and where you live, you will have challenges, obstacles, glories, triumphs and failures along the course of life. Life is a roller coaster ride, nothing is smooth and certain and one important thing is to learn your own psychology or your way of looking at things.

The key thing many of us tend to forget is that life is not just about winning or losing but it is more important to live the moment, cherish it and enjoy each day to its fullest. Your job, your responsibilities, priorities, challenges, deadlines are just the details — what matters more is whether the soul is at peace and enjoying the journey as life moves along.

So how do you make each day productive? Make each day count and achieve little or great things that matter? How do you plan a productivity mindset and do your best to ensure that your day goes as planned?

Here are 5 ways how to have a productive day:

1. Well-begun is half-done

Wake up early, probably just after sunrise. I know many of you are night owls, who prefer working late until night and wake up late. But scientifically, this is not at all a good practice and drains your overall productivity to a great extent. Many studies reveal that morning birds are more creative, energetic and motivated than night owls because the human body and mind can resonate more energy if it aligns itself to the cycle of Sun – the supreme source of energy in our solar system.

Right after waking up, drink 2 full glasses of water. Avoid caffeine, 2 full glasses of fresh cold water in one shot and take a deep breath.

Next, help yourself with some exercise. If you can, go outdoors for a brisk walk or jog for some time. If you have time constraints, do it for 15 minutes but don’t avoid it altogether. A little exercise in the morning is great for your nervous system and it actually helps you recharge the muscle between your ears.

2. Spend more time in the shower

Unlike ladies, men have this tendency to finish the shower as quickly as possible. Shower is that time of the day when you are completely alone, no one to disturb you and your body receives a cool breeze of water from top to bottom. It cleans your body, you can feel the energy and remain calm at the same time.

While you have your shower, think of all the good things you have and think of the things and events you are grateful for. Think of all your achievements and feel good about it. Feeling good is the first step towards doing good.

3. Eat a proper breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal for the entire day; it is that time of the day when your body needs energy and nutrients after a long time. A balanced and healthy breakfast makes available all the energy, vitamins and minerals your body can use as an ignition for the rest of the day.

Many people have a habit of rushing through their breakfasts, munching snacks, coffee and letting it go as sophomorically as possible. Later in the afternoon, they wonder why their body slumps, why they feel sleepy after lunch and why the daily commute to office is so tiring. This is because you did not give your body the fuel it needs, how can the mind be at peace when your body is deprived? A healthy mind first needs a healthy body and ignoring your breakfast is not a productive habit.

4. Stay away from negatives — thoughts, people and actions

Now that your day has started, the next thing to do is control the inflow and outflow of thoughts. Thoughts shape our action and action shapes our future, so you have to be careful of what you think.

Have a meeting or a PowerPoint presentation you are tensed about? Don’t let fear creep in — the more you are tensed and feel bad about it, the more negatives you will attract and they just might spoil your productivity. Have a swollen nose? Do not complain, get over it and focus on something else.

Every action you take in the morning radiates a frequency in your world, so if you radiate negative thoughts and actions, you will find it difficult to be productive and positive. Even your spoken words should bring positive energy.

For example, instead of saying “Don’t close the door that way”, say “Close the door slowly”. The first sentence has a “Don’t” which radiates negative energy. The second one is more constructive and gives a positive direction.

Likewise, avoid people who sound complaining and condemning; stay away from people and gossip stations that discuss negative thoughts, events or actions.

5. Do what makes you happy, and be proud for it

Ask yourself: “What are the things I love to do at work? What is the most exciting thing that you like to do every day, without thinking of the result? Do it. Remember, we are what we repeatedly do.

Most people are not proud of their work and they keep wondering why they aren’t happy. If you don’t like what you’re doing for a living, why do it anyway? Go do something worthwhile, which makes you happy and proud.

Remember, productivity is a state of mind, your mind must lift itself to that zone, which is impossible if you’re not proud of who you are and not happy of what you do.

How do you have a productive day? Love to hear your tips below!

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Have a Productive Day — Smart Notebooks for Digital Writing & Drawing | Wacom

“The Bamboo Folio actually saves time. It also allows you to document your work more efficiently. I think a lot of software companies create tools, but does it really make my job easier and does it allow me to do things quicker,” says D’Wayne Edwards, founder of PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy.

This perspective from Edwards sums up how so many of us feel when we try to resolve our time management issues. In order to have a productive day, and enough time to make ideas, we have to start by finding the right set of tools and solutions that are intuitive to our needs and save time.

Many experts are trying to debunk the myth of productivity behind the standard eight-hour workday. But until we can all convince our bosses otherwise, try testing out a few of these ideas:

  1. Face a challenge head on. Procrastination can be the ultimate roadblock to productivity. For many, that means saving the least desired task on your to-do lists for the end of the day. But by the end of the day, it’s too easy to delay the task to the next day. And there it begins! Instead, start the day with your least desired task — this is when you’ll have the most energy and (bonus!) you’ll kick off your day feeling accomplished, ready to tackle what comes next.
  1. Be intentional with your time. It may seem counterintuitive but taking breaks can help you have a more productive day. When you feel your energy start to wane, give yourself a time-out. Take a 15-minute walk, run the stairs or spend some time drawing in your notebook. Over the course of a week, pay attention to your schedule and start to plan your meetings and tasks around breaks so that you’re working during periods of the day when you’re the most energized.
  1. Identify areas for collaboration. All of us have strengths and weaknesses. The key is in knowing yourself well enough so that you can ask for help to be more productive. Wasting time on tasks that you don’t excel in can slow everyone down. Rather, find others whom you can collaborate with and learn from to help you improve your productivity over time.


12 Morning Starters to Have a Productive Day at Work

Want to be happier, better organized, and get more done? Check, check, and check.

Not all of our workdays are equally productive. In fact, as much as 89% of people have admitted that they waste time at work every day. Are you in the 11% that stays on track throughout the day or do you need some extra motivation like, well, the most of us?

Productive day at work starts right in the morning. You could even say that the first two hours of your day are crucial to your daily work performance.

Want to kick-start your day like a high-achiever? Follow at least 3 of these tips and see your productivity levels soar.

1. Start your day early

Think about it. If you woke up 1 hour earlier, you’d have 5 more hours every week to get ready for the upcoming day.

If that’s not convincing enough (we know, waking up early is hard), then know that according to a study, early risers live a more fulfilled life and are more productive than night owls.

While waking up early gives us time to reflect on our day, and get fully ready, waking up late demands that we rush to work and spend the rest of the day in a hurry.

There’s one more thing. Do not hit the snooze button. According to Rafael Pelayo, MD, a sleep specialist at the Stanford University Sleep Medicine Center, snoozing alarm confuses your body and brain, resulting in that groggy, fuzzy-headed feeling called sleep inertia.

To make the most of your day, set the alarm for the time that you actually need to get up and leave the pillow for good.

Read on: 12 Best Browser Extensions for Higher Productivity

2. Arrive to work before everybody else

Have you ever been the first person to arrive at the office? You’ll be surrounded by a calm and pleasant atmosphere, the perfect set-up for productive work

A survey found that 63% of people feel the most productive in the morning, so take advantage of your well-rested brain, and tap into creative or otherwise rigorous work.

Try to keep your mornings as calm and stress-free as possible and take the time to plan for the upcoming day.

3. Reflect on the past day

Take 15 minutes each morning to reflect on your past achievements as well as failures. Think what you could do better the next time.

This thought exercise will help to set the mood for the rest of the day, and boosts confidence in all your actions. Simply think about your accomplishments and current projects, and what you need to accomplish today in light of it.

Answer these three questions: Where have you been? Where you are? Where are you going?

By reflecting on our goals, we remind ourselves of the things that really matter. After all, only 20% of what we do, result in 80& of our achievements (Pareto principle).

4. Review your to-do list

Instead of starting to work on the first task that comes to your mind, develop an organized mindset.

Before you tap into work, take the time to plan and prioritize your projects and tasks. Go beyond of creating a simple to-do list, and craft a realistic hierarchy of your projects and goals. Keep in mind the 20/80 principle!

Although it’s in our nature to postpone the most challenging and critical projects, you should do the opposite. To quote the time management guru Brian Tracy: “Eat that frog!”

What he wanted to say is that instead of following our intuition to leave the least pleasant tasks last, we should challenge ourselves to complete it first. After you’ve completed the most difficult task, the rest will seem a lot less demanding.

As our energy levels are at their peak in the morning, start your daily task list with three of the most critical tasks, and make these your highest priority.

Read on: 15 Cult Business Blogs Everyone Should Read in 2017

5. Take a pause and be present

It is incredibly easy to get caught up in busy office life and get derailed by your colleagues’ demands and coffee machine conversations.

The bad thing about getting distracted is that we lose control of our time, and let other people set the agenda. And there goes another productive day at work.

Try to turn off your senses and be in the present. Feel like you’re in control of the situation and take a pause before you start a busy day. Think what you really need to do and if possible, empty your schedule.

Here comes the Golden Rule of productivity: LEARN TO SAY NO – to meetings, lunches, time-wasting tasks, conversations, and all other kinds of office distractions.

6. Visualize a successful day

Imagine you’ve survived another day at the office. What does it look like? How do you feel? Did you accomplish what you started?

By envisioning the outcome of the day’s tasks and projects, you can work backward to determine the necessary steps that lead to your desired results.

Moreover, you’ll be highly motivated to stick to your plan and focus on activities that lead to highest results.

7. Set your roadmap

Creating a to-do list is not going to improve your productivity unless you have time to implement it.

A Google employee suggested to their teammates to book “Make time” into the daily schedule. What he meant, is that we all need a few undistracted hours to work on our most important projects and tasks.

You will not be able to find a two-hour time gap unless you schedule it to your calendar right in the morning. Take the time to assess if anything in your calendar needs changing or rearranging, and schedule some hours for serious work.

As you fill in your calendar, your colleagues can see that you’re busy, and you might even be able to avoid some irrelevant meetings.

Did you know that most employees attend 62 meetings each month and feel that more than half of that time is wasted? So be strategic about your time and take the best out of your undistracted work time.

8. Choose your working pace

Successful people rarely work for a 4-5 hour stretch without taking a pause. Instead, they set calculated time frames for work and rest.

Decide on the length of time you want to work continuously, and then take a 10-minute break. For example, widely popular Pomodoro technique suggests that we work for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break.

Working in intervals helps you to stay focused and alert throughout the day, increases your productivity levels and leads to higher achievements.

9. Organize your workspace

A simple morning productivity hack is to clean up your desk and organise your papers, files, as well as desktop.

Not being able to find what you need is a huge time waster. So even if it takes a few minutes to bring order to your desk and computer, it is well worth the effort.

Make sure to place pens and paper to close reach in case you have a sudden idea that needs to be written down for later development. To have a productive day, you need to set aside irrelevant ideas as fast as possible.

10. Cut the distractions

It is so easy to get distracted while working that sometimes we can’t even remember how we ended up reading promotional emails, or looking at a cute picture on Instagram.

Use online productivity tools and cool browser extensions to avoid procrastination and make way for a calm and focused work environment.

The next step is to turn off notifications or even go as far as to leave your phone in the pocket of your coat. If you’re not aware of your emails, you’re less likely to check the inbox. According to Office Time, email is the number one time waster in the office with 43.5% respondents mentioning it.

Try to avoid low-priority calls, unnecessary and irrelevant meetings, chatty coworkers, social media, too much coffee, and other distractions.

11. Check email, but do it wisely

In the morning, productive people ignore email for as long as possible. Reading about other people’s inquiries, demands, and problems is likely to distract you from your daily schedule and plans.

If you can’t help checking email the first thing in the morning, learn to do it in a more productive way. Learn to apply the five D-s in your inbox management and use the “The 321Zero System by Kevin Kruse:

Schedule three times a day to process your email (morning, noon, night).

Set the timer on your phone for 21 minutes.

Try to get to inbox zero in that time.

You probably see the point: spend as little time in your inbox as possible as it distracts you from actual work and permits others to set your agenda.

12. Put away negative thoughts

To focus on today’s work, you need to let go of yesterday’s failure. Studies show that negative thought affect not only our productivity but also long-term health.

Successful people don’t dwell on past events, unpleasant morning commute or negative thoughts. Learn to let go and focus entirely on future achievements.

You can’t change what’s already happened so stop it from bringing you down. Instead, make way for new plans and productive workday.


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