The feeling of being productive during the day is priceless. It makes you pleased with yourself, boosts your self-confidence, and keeps your motivation growing. But sometimes, lack of time, laziness, or bad time management prevent you from all this. Constant delays, excuses, and too few things getting done during the day upsets everyone. Planning your day reasonably by following these 5 key rules helps you make your day all the more productive.
1) Plan in advance
Don’t start your day with planning – it’s better to have your plan ready before morning. Before going to bed, spend a few minutes on creating a detailed plan for the next day. It has been proven that evening plans are created with better consideration and analysis. Unlike them, morning plans are more spontaneous and are not given enough attention.
When you schedule your day before the bedtime, it’s easier to analyze the day that has passed and the mistakes you might have made. In addition, you save your morning time and can spend it doing some more important tasks. The best time to plan your day is when you are relaxed and can give your planning enough attention.
2) Create detailed plans
Instead of writing “make a presentation”, divide this task into a few separate steps and write:
“1. Create a plan of the presentation.
2. Look through similar examples in the industry and get inspired.
3. Select suitable images.
4. Ask XYZ to work on some custom graphics for the presentation.
5. Write content based on the plan.
6. Send a draft to XYZ for review.
7. Finalize the presentation based on the review.”
This way, it’s much easier to know where you are going and see the results of your work. Instead of just writing your goals, write down the actions that are needed to be taken to finalize them. If you have a task that will most probably take you the whole day, find a way to divide it into short steps. Such detailed plans are more effective in terms of process management and result metrics.
3) Set deadlines
It has been proven that the tasks with deadlines are fulfilled more productively than those without. For every task you add to your day plan, think about the approximate time you need for its completion.
Let’s say you need to write content for your presentation and you think you might need up to 2 hours for that. Indicate in your schedule that you start at 11 am and finish by 1 pm.
Be realistic about your time frames – some tasks may take you more time than you expect. It is also recommended to use some digital reminders that will always keep you alert about your day plans. There are dozens of desktop and phone apps with a range of helpful features that can serve you as good reminders during the day. You are going to feel more responsibly if you will be reminded from time to time of everything that needs to be done.
4) Prioritize tasks
Sometimes it happens that you just don’t know where to start, and it makes you confused and unproductive. Analyze your day tasks according to their urgency and importance and get down to the most important ones first. The feeling of accomplishment will bring you some relief and make you more productive when working on the remaining tasks. What you should also take into account are your daily habits. If you know that you usually feel sleepy in the afternoon after having your lunch, you’d better complete all the tasks that require maximum concentration or creative thinking by then. Start with them in the morning when you are the most productive. Plan some routine or less-important tasks for the time when you are the least productive. Listen to your body and customize your day plans to fit its preferences.
5) Avoid multitasking
Whether you work in a busy corporate environment, in a small team, or just at home as a freelancer, constant distractions are becoming a norm. However, to be productive during your day, you need to make sure you don’t do more than one task at a time. Of course, you might receive a business phone call or an instant message, but you shouldn’t give up on your initial task and start working on something new, like creating a business proposal for a new client or replying to a new email. If a new task is not urgent, wait till you finish what you are working on. Don’t interrupt the process by checking your email, Facebook feed, or other things that can wait. If it’s hard for you to resist the temptation of browsing through social media, use some apps that can block your access to all the time-killing websites.
Boosting your productivity during the day is crucial, no matter whether you are involved in project management, design, writing, or anything else. Just imagine, you could spend every minute of your day with use, do more things faster, avoid those terrible delays, and have more time for yourself. Don’t wait until the perfect moment arrives – you are the one who is responsible for the results of your efforts. Effective planning is a key to achieving the best results. Hopefully, you’ll become more productive during the day by following these 5 keys I’ve described. Can you think of some more? It would be nice if you shared your ideas in the comments.