Plan to Have Your Best Day Ever! Secrets of Productivity
Starting your day out on the right foot is crucial to actively planning to have a productive day. You know how it goes, you start off the day by running late in the morning, then you get stuck in traffic, you get to work late, and it all goes downhill from there. But what if you could actively participate in the outcome of your day and not be a victim of circumstances and situations? Well you can with just a few easy steps and the beauty is that ANYONE can do it. You don’t need to be a tech savvy person or a master planner – it just takes some active participation to control your day, in the right way.
Be Proactive and not Reactive!
Start off your morning on the right foot. Mornings can truly suck sometimes, even if you have the best intentions to rise early, get some exercise, and get out of the house on time. The best way to combat that is to get yourself into a really good (and strict) morning routine.
Here’s the easy way to get started with a good morning routine:
- Wake up at the same time each day – and on weekends, within an hour of the weekday time.
- Follow a pattern each morning until it becomes mindless – wake up, exercise, brush teeth, shower, blow dry hair, etc. – become a robot in your mindless morning routine.
- Leave the house at the same time each morning – Determine what the best time is, depending on your commute.
- Do something positive on your way to work to boost your mood – Whether it is listening to an motivational eBook, listening to some fun music that you sing along to, or calling a friend who is awake and around.
- When you get to work, start off with your best face – Most people hate mornings, and if you are able to lift someone else’s spirits with a positive smile, or a kind word – you are helping someone else get off to a good start too! Pay it forward!
Now here comes the meat and potatoes of your day…. work!
Productivity and Planning
Actively planning your day can do wonders for your productivity levels. I personally know that when I finish a task, I cross it off my list, and try to keep moving along on my productive roll. But what happens if you haven’t thought about what you plan to tackle next? Do you dawdle, or check email, or work on minutiae that really doesn’t contribute to the overall good of your day? This ends up being a huge time waster for many people. The best way to avoid the “time waste zone” is to actively plan for your good day, and your good week. It takes some time on your Monday mornings (or a Friday afternoon, if you prefer) but it can set up your week to be the most productive one (and surprisingly quickest one) that you have experienced.
Some people like the traditional “to do lists” and I will never knock a good to-do list, I use them myself, often. But when it comes to work, and your work week (or month) at a glance – you need a stronger visual to keep yourself on track, and to keep all of your ducks in a row. I use a weekly printable planner sheet every week, and first I map out the mundane/routine things that I have to get done on certain days, and then I fill in the gaps in my schedule with the larger projects that I also need to be spending time on, or meetings that I have scheduled – so I have a visual of my week.
Many may ask “why not do these in your Outlook Calendar?” Well the reason is that I don’t assign times to many of my work tasks. The ones with scheduled times will get set in stone, but the things I fill in the open gaps in my schedule with, will help me contribute to my larger projects and overall goals. Also, it gives me a place to jot down the minor tasks that I need to write down quickly to remind myself to do – which for lots of people, that usually ends up being many post-it notes stuck to computer monitors with no real plan to accomplish them. With this method, I can easily find a gap in my weekly schedule and plan for these post-it note worthy tasks to happen on a specific day. This takes the feeling of being overwhelmed out of my day and helps me to be the one in control. It also can keep you from committing to something when you know you don’t have time for it in the current week. Another benefit is that it helps to set reasonable timelines when someone asks for a deadline/ due date from you. Being proactive with your work is always better than being reactive. I keep my printable weekly calendar on my desk, right on top of my large monthly desk calendar. It holds all of my work priorities and it helps to keep me focused on crossing items off of the calendar. And seriously who doesn’t love crossing things off of a list?
*Here’s a bonus tip from my weekly planner, I keep track of a healthy habit that I need to do daily: I use mine to remind myself to drink enough water each day.
When it comes to my personal life tasks, I like to keep the rest in a separate planner and this helps me to strive for a good work and life balance while still maintaining high levels of productivity.
How do you plan your day?
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